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Roadtrip to a Normal College

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link   All Posts
 Ellie Wu Tuesday was my last final and I was so relieved to be done with my first semester at the Coast Guard Academy. Besides all the studying that I had to do, the finals week itself was pretty relaxing because within Chase Hall, everything got a little less hectic since they want to provide as much of a stress-free environment as possible to enable all the cadets to study and perform their best on their finals. I had four finals in total, starting with my hardest, Calculus I. I took that final Friday morning, and then there was Fundamentals of Navigation on Saturday afternoon, Macroeconomics on Monday morning, and Chemistry Tuesday afternoon. During finals week, the library became my home and it really allowed me to study and focus on all the material that was covered in a certain subject over the course of the semester. In Chase Hall, there is the chance of people coming by, asking questions and just stopping in and that can cause quite a distraction, but at the library I was able to pace myself and study. The finals weren't as bad as I thought they would be, although I was losing some of my steam/motivation to study toward the end. The day before my Chemistry final and during the exam, I could feel the tension and itch everyone had because their trip home was just a multiple choice question away.

Once my Chemistry final was over, I packed up my necessities and it was back to my "concrete jungle" (Empire state of mind). I got to show two of my friends from the Academy the city with all its Christmas decorations up and the holiday market at Union Square to shop at. It felt amazing to be back at home without a worry in the world. It was as if the cold winter breeze swept all the weight of the Academy off my shoulders.

On Friday, I was able to visit a State University of New York where most of my friends from high school currently attend. At Stony Brook, I noticed how different my college experience is compared to theirs. My friends laughed at me when I told them I slept at 11 p.m. on a regular basis and woke up at 5:45. My friends, on the other hand, slept at 2 a.m. every night, the earliest, and would struggle to wake up and attend their 9 a.m. Calculus class. The lifestyle was just so foreign to me. I found their college experience more relaxing and laidback and I enjoyed it while I was there, but I realized I would not like the nonchalant vibe if I was studying there. Visiting my friends and getting a taste of the “college life” really got me to understand the saying: “Work hard, play hard”. After working hard and locking down both militarily and academically, I was able to truly appreciate my winter leave and enjoy the time. Although winter leave was too short, it has me pushing forward and working forward to the next and last semester as a 4/c!

More about Ellie.