Dear Incoming Swabs of the Class of 2017,
I hope you are all super excited about becoming a cadet here at the USCGA. I know this time last year I had mixed emotions. I was excited about the opportunities that I would get to have, nervous about Swab Summer and upset that I would be leaving home. I'm sure most, if not all of you, are feeling the same things. Believe me, things will get worse before they get better. But I promise all of you can get through it. Just think of all the amazing things you can do at the Academy.
Now that I have a year under my belt here, I thought I would give you some tips for surviving Swab Summer.
- So here is basically what you do during the day: wake up at 0530, run around and do morning calisthenics for an hour, then breakfast, then trainings, lunch, trainings, dinner, then more trainings and then bed at 2200. Trainings include summer math, honor trainings, sailing, an obstacle course, and intercompany sports. And then of course there is cadre time, where they can do whatever they want with you.
- Yelling: My main tip here is to remember that the cadre aren't yelling at you to be mean, they are yelling at you to teach you. Don't take the yelling personally. Everyone is getting yelled at. When you get singled out, which you will, it isn't a big deal. Even the best swabs get yelled at.
- IT (Physical Stuff): Yup, it’s going to be challenging, but anyone can do it. You just need to know you can do it. Nothing that they make you do will be impossible. It has all been done before and the cadre are going to be doing it with you.
- Memorizing Stuff: I was possibly the worst person ever at memorizing indoc every week. I got yelled at everyday for not knowing it. It’s ok. But really try to learn it because later on in the school year you will need to know it to complete 4/c year.
- There is some fun. Since I was there during the Olympics, we did our own "Swab Summer Olympics". We had a lot of inside jokes in my company. And my company got really close – almost like a family. We had a 4th of July dinner and we watched the fireworks, which was really fun too. And of course, you will also be on Eagle for a week at the end of the summer. This is a great time to relax a little from the stress of Swab Summer. But remember learn all you can while you are on board Eagle.
- The Packing List: Don’t bring any more than you have to. However, a few small things you should bring that aren’t on the packing list are lighters (for burning off frays on uniforms), some food, band-aids and paper/envelopes/stamps. Some tips: buy the two-in-one shampoo/conditioner, ladies please bring lots of hair gel (I mean that you will go through one bottle a week), and pack everything in a backpack or some bag you can wear on your back.
- The most important thing I can tell you about the summer is to be mentally prepared and mentally sound throughout Swab Summer. That is how I got through the summer. I was ready to tackle the challenges I was faced with. I knew that I could do anything they tasked me with since so many people had done it before me. Just remember how many people have done the same thing that you will be doing. If they can do it, so can you. Also remember all the people whose spot you took. There are plenty of people who applied to be in the Class of 2017 who didn't make it. You are not only going through Swab Summer for yourself, but also for them. And finally remember all the amazing things you will get to do after Swab Summer in your future at the Academy and in the Coast Guard. Right now I'm heading down to Annapolis on a 44-foot sailboat going to participate in an ocean race, the Annapolis-Newport Race. I will be ocean racing until the end of June, then I will be on board Eagle for a month. Just think, you will be doing that in just another summer.
Class of 2017, GOOD LUCK! Don’t give up, remember how many people wanted your spot but didn’t get it because you were accepted instead. You have many awesome opportunities lying ahead in your Coast Guard career. If you have any questions, you can email me at Kayla.M.Ellis@uscga.edu. I'll gladly answer any that you have! Good Luck. And Go Bears!! I look forward to meeting you all in August!
P.S. Don't be afraid of the cadre. They aren't scary, I promise!!! They were my 3/c and they are awesome people.
More about Kayla.