If you could stop a fourth class in the passageway and ask them how much pressure they are feeling right now, the answer would be the same across the board, “a lot,” to be blunt.
At the moment, there is a tremendous amount of pressure on the fourth class to perform. In addition to our day to day class workload, military obligations, and athletic obligations, we are studying for Boards. For those who are not familiar with Boards, it is an indoctrination test that all fourth class have to pass before third class year. The test is coming up on February 23, and we have a lot of information to memorize in preparation.
Boards covers a wide variety of Coast Guard knowledge, from Academy and Coast Guard history, to nautical flags and terminology, cutters and aircraft, and much, much more. We are expected to memorize every last detail in a 50+ page packet! In the end, it all comes down to ten questions, some with multiple parts. We must get eight correct to pass. Like I said, we are studying hard, and we even have weekly quizzes on particular sections of the material to make sure we’re studying.
Despite the pressure, we remain motivated to succeed, because the sooner we all pass Boards, the sooner we will receive privileges! It is a huge morale booster to know that in a month to a month and a half, we won’t have to be constantly braced up because once we all pass Boards, carry on will be granted! I’m excited. I’m not just excited to be done with Boards, though. I’m excited for the end of the school year, and the summer in the fleet to follow!
If you have any questions, or want to know more about Boards and the demands of fourth class year, please feel free to email me! Hunter.D.Stowes@uscga.edu
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