After two and a half weeks or so of leave, early January marks the time when cadets return to the Academy. Unlike normal colleges, where classes start as soon as students return, cadets have a week of “Administration Processing” (dubbed CAP week at the start of the fall semester and MAP week at the start of the spring semester). Although it is tough to come back to the Academy (especially when New London has single digit temperatures in the winter…burr), the week serves as a nice period for cadets to transition back into the military lifestyle. CAP and MAP weeks both have various trainings, on topics from cyber awareness and professional conduct, to meetings with the Superintendent and the Commandant of Cadets. During the week, the Change of the Command ceremony is also held, where cadets who will assume leadership positions in the upcoming semester relieve the cadets who held leadership positions the previous semester. The dreaded PFE, which is performed twice annually, is also administered during the week.
Additionally, the week usually has a key speech, which during MAP week is an annual address given by the Commandant of the Coast Guard. This year Admiral Papp, the 24th Commandant of the Coast Guard, gave his final address to the corps, as he will be retiring from the Coast Guard in the summer. This served as a bittersweet moment, as it was sad to say good bye to the only Commandant I have known while in the Coast Guard, but was also entertaining to listen to him discuss his lessons learned during his Coast Guard career. His speech articulated the part I most enjoy about MAP week: having a chance to look at the big picture and to be reminded what it means to be a Coast Guardsmen and why I choose this Academy, which sometimes gets lost during the strenuous academics of the semester. Every once in a while it is nice to be reminded why we are all here, and I believe that MAP week serves this purpose as a good welcome back to the Academy.
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