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What Is A Fourth Class Cadet?

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link   All Posts
 Matthew Martin Swab Summer finally ended and I'm now writing as a fourth class cadet! Swab Summer was of course a shock and the hardest seven weeks of my life, but also the funnest seven weeks. You are pushed physically, emotionally, and spiritually harder than you could imagine, yet it is just the beginning. As you progress through the Academy it only gets harder. You are given more jobs and more responsibility, and less room for error and it seems like less time to get it all done. Everyone can't wait until Swab Summer is over, yet once it is over, everyone would take it back in a heartbeat for a guaranteed eight hours of sleep a night, no responsibility, and plenty of time to stay in shape! You learn a lot about yourself and why you really chose to be here and those reasons change for the better as you continue through Swab Summer. It is most definitely a needed part of the Academy experience and am glad I got to be a part of the yelling, running, studying, and most memorably laughing that bonded our class together and to the "long blue line" of all the past coasties that have finished Swab Summer as well.

Now that it's over and that we have moved into the school year, everything is different. Okay, maybe not everything, but for the most part. We still have to square around the passageways of Chase Hall and greet everyone by name. We still have our indoctrination (or indoc) to memorize and we still have some yelling to do when we have to do our clocks, which is when we announce the morning and afternoon formations to the corps so everyone is on the same page (and awake). We have to take all the trash out of all the rooms in Chase Hall and we have to keep our uniforms neat and up to standard. There're also military duties that we have to stand to make sure the corps keeps running. Yes, we have a lot to do, not to mention 22 credits in school as well as athletics. But the big difference between the school year and Swab Summer is the fact that there's no one breathing down your neck making sure you do everything you are told; it's all on you to get things done. As fourth class, our role is to be followers, to continue the teamwork we built in Swab Summer to accomplish tasks that help the corps function. Next year, we will be able to sit back and let the next fourth class take our trash because we paid the price for the privilege the previous year. Yes, fourth class year is tough, but it’s just the next stepping stone to be an Ensign in the USCG.

More about Matt.