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Best Experience of My Life

(Reflections) Permanent link
Morin Samples

As a military child, I have seen countless military movies about basic training and the life of someone who serves our country. I always thought it was just an easy couple of pushups or just some running and chanting. As a shipmate in the Bravo company, we did endure the stereotypical basic training, however, it was not as easy as it seemed. In the past years, I have struggled with confidence. In school, I would never really say an answer because I was too afraid to share my answer. This week changed everything for me. I feel so much more confident, and I believe in myself! This experience was amazing! My parents were so proud of me but didn’t realize how similar my camp was to Swab Summer.

I have learned so much about myself and the Academy. This week my shipmates and I explored the different majors. My roommates and I thought that civil engineering and naval architecture were the best majors offered. At the end of the week, we were all extremely close and got to know each other well.

As soon as AIM was over I started to work on my application for the Academy. Well, I had to wait for my parents to pick me up because they were driving from North Carolina. I sat in Leamy Hall watching my former cadre be normal people and order coffee. It was the strangest experience.

AIM was one of the best experiences of my life. It made me realize that there is no other place for me. I met some of the best people and challenged myself more than I ever had. My team and I got to work together on projects and learn new things about the Academy. I would recommend AIM to anyone who is interested in the United States Coast Guard Academy.


This Week Changed Everything for Me

(Mid-Week) Permanent link
Morin Samples

As a military child I have seen countless military movies about basic training and the life of someone who serves our country. I always thought it was just an easy couple of pushups or just some running and chanting. As a shipmate in the Bravo company we did endure the stereotypical basic training, however, it was not as easy as it seemed. In the past years I have struggled with confidence. In school I would never really say an answer because I was too afraid to share my answer. This week changed everything for me.

I have learned so much about myself and the Academy. This week my shipmates and I explored the different majors. My roommates and I thought that civil engineering and naval architecture were the best majors offered.

I have visited the Coast Guard Academy countless times but nothing matched the experience that I have had so far. This week so far has been tough but also rewarding. We have been so busy, moving from one building to another. I just learned my roommates first names!

I love my group or my platoon. We are so close even though we don’t know much about each other. If one of us is falling behind, we would go back and run with them.

My cadre are intense. It’s difficult to understand with all the yelling that they are good people. I think I saw one of them smile this week. I don’t think I was supposed to see that.

I really enjoyed the PFE, which is the physical fitness exam. Since I run cross country, I liked that everyone was cheering for each other during the 1.5 mile-run. It made me feel a little closer to home.

This week has been great so far. I cannot wait to see what the rest of the week looks like!!!


I Was Expecting Hard, But This is Another Level

(Mid-Week) Permanent link
Emily LeBrun

I am no longer “I.” Since the beginning of the week I have been known as “AIMster LeBrun” and must refer to myself as such. This past week has taught AIMster LeBrun so much about herself and others. AIMster LeBrun learned about respect and teamwork and worked specifically on those skills.

The Academy itself is beautiful. I always saw pictures and videos that show the Academy, but they never did it justice. The Academy is so much more than just college dorms and lunchrooms. This campus is rich in history and tradition. Everything at this place has a purpose and a meaning behind it, and that is very special to AIMster LeBrun.

AIMster LeBrun…I was told that this Academy program was the most intense and most like Swab Summer. I wouldn’t doubt that for a second. This is hard. I was expecting hard, but this is another level.

This week started on Sunday and we were thrown right into it. The first few days were very rough, especially for me, but I stayed and persisted throughout the week. I am so happy I continued to push through and make it to the end. Tomorrow is graduation and I get to see my parents and retrieve my phone. And if anyone is wondering, you do not miss your phone. You are way too busy to even think about your phone during this week of intense training.

This week I met Swabs and discussed their experiences with them. I learned so much in a span of five days. I picked up on marching cadences and learned how to and when to square. I became even better at keeping a straight face and I believe I will be making a much more informed decisions about my college career after this week.


The Best Thing I Could Have Done to Change My Life

(Reflections) Permanent link
Mackenzie Boose

The first step out of the Academy after a week of experiencing so many new things was filled with relief and excitement. Relief that I was able to do my best over the week and challenge myself physically and mentally. Excitement because for the first time in my life I was 100% sure of something; and that is the United States Coast Guard Academy is my dream and I need to be there. The first thing I did when I got home was contact my Master Chief and let him know that this is an opportunity I am very passionate about.

Over the course of just six days I have grown tremendously. Even on the second day I could see the change in my demeanor and my thinking. This week broke me down and put me into a military mindset; then lifted me up and gave me confidence I never knew I had. Confidence in my skills and competence. It is crazy to think that I can come out of a six day summer camp with a deeper understanding of life at the Academy and the hard work it takes to be one's best through various challenges. Additionally, I have developed a great sense of teamwork and realized challenges are easier when working as a team than when trying to do it all by oneself. For example, when rushing to organize and clean our rooms for inspection we all went around to each other's rooms and helped each other out so we could finish as a team.

I would 100% recommend this experience to high school students. Even if one doesn't plan to ever join the military or go to the Coast Guard Academy, one would benefit from this experience tremendously and improve as a person. By being a better person, you look at certain inconveniences in life differently. For example, when I got home, I had work the next day; I had never been so excited to wake up early and sit on a lifeguard stand for 8 hours. As I was sitting all day, I was so grateful to be able to do my job and I was very appreciative of my work environment. The little things like that are what make me realize that AIM was the best thing I could have done to change my life; and I know my life will be great because AIM made my heart yearn to be a cadet at the USCGA. Hopefully, I can see the beautiful campus again but as a SWAB.


One of the Best Experiences of My Life

(Reflections) Permanent link
Mary Coady

So, I have survived the AIM program. It was the experience of a lifetime! I loved every minute of it, but now it is over. My parents and four younger brothers picked me up from graduation with smiling faces, and we drove up to Maine for a family event.

However happy I was to be reunited with my family, I found it hard to relax without my bravo family. When we arrived at our location we sat down to a family dinner, but I found it too hard to relax and eat without my shipmates; out of my entire experience that was the first and only time I cried. I called my former roomie and talked with her for a few minutes, then I went back and sat down with my family. In these days after graduation, many of my shipmates have said that they have had similar experiences, but we have all slowly gone back to normal life, but now with 25 new friends to talk with.

Since coming home many people have asked me about my AIM experience, and every time, I preface my description by saying that “It was one of the best experiences of my life!” Because it was. I talk about the stress of meal time, the sounding off, an extremely competitive kickball game, a helicopter landing, the multiple smoke sessions, the running, the triumph over Alpha in a very intense planking competition, and the subsequent funeral for Alpha’s pride. I tell of the many struggles, triumphs, and adventures that made me a part of something bigger than myself, part of a team. I hope to get the opportunity to experience the same things next year at the Academy.

In case it is not obvious through my writing, I had an amazing experience! I would definitely recommend going to AIM, but that said, I will not say it is an experience for everyone. It pushes your boundaries, but it has made me realize that I can challenge myself more, it has made me more confident in my abilities. So I definitely recommend AIM as a way to challenge yourself and test yourself to the limit, and to also make lifelong friends. If that sounds appealing to you then please try it! I had an amazing experience and I hope anyone reading this in the future who goes to AIM, shares that same experience.


Contemplating Whether to Go to AIM?

(Reflections) Permanent link
Isabelita Sekulovic

It hasn’t even been 48 hours and I already miss the Coast Guard Academy. While the farewell was tough I was ready to get home and do my laundry. I remember when doing laundry my uncle asked how my trip was and the first thing I did was smile. My response, “It was the hardest thing I’ve done in my life.” One thing my cadre wrote in my thoughts of the day was that I will find the program very rewarding if I put my best foot forward and he was 100% right.

After my laundry was done I grabbed my dog, book, towel, sunscreen, and headed to the beach. I ended up meeting with friends and shared my experience; I will never forget the look on their faces. They explained how that’s crazy and they’d never do it. In all honesty it made me sad, not because of their responses, but because I realized I wasn’t surrounded with like-minded people anymore. The laughs and hardships I shared with my fellow shipmates will keep me motivated to become the best candidate I can be for the Academy.

Additionally, going to AIM I thought I had it all figured out, well, that was wrong. I thought I went into AIM open minded, but I didn’t. It wasn’t until day 3 that I completely did so, and once I did my college plans did a 180. I discovered that I want to call the Coast Guard Academy home. AIMster Sekulovic wants to be a part of something greater than herself.

Furthermore, for any student reading this and contemplating whether to go to AIM… GO! It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Not one AIMster that I met claimed they were unsatisfied with the program, every student walked away with an incredible experience. If someone has the chance to go to AIM they most definitely should.


I Need To Experience It

(Why AIM) Permanent link
Morin Samples

I have wanted to come to the Coast Guard Academy since the seventh grade. To give a little background, I was at an interest meeting with my brother for all the military academies. At the time he wanted to go to the Air Force Academy. I was losing interest until a woman walked onto the stage and started to talk about her career. She was a Coast Guardswoman saving turtles on the coast of North Carolina. Ever since then I have devoted myself to attending the Academy. However, I was only in seventh grade and college seemed so far away. In the past four years I have been going on USCGA’s website looking at the majors, the programs offered, and a better reason to attend the Academy other than saving turtles. This year I saw the AIM summer program. I was instantly excited and knew that I had to apply. I needed something to confirm that the Academy life was for me. I can read all about the Coast Guard Academy and listen to people who attended the school, but I need to experience it.

Currently, at my house, it is just me and my mom. My dad is in Florida due to the Army and my brother is at USCGA. So, as I was applying to AIM no one really understood what I was doing. My brother didn’t go to AIM and surprisingly knew nothing about it. I mentioned AIM to my parents during the application process but that was all they knew. It wasn't until I was visiting my brother in New London when my family finally knew what I was applying for. I was waiting for the acceptance letter and my parents did not understand why I was so nervous that day. Once I received the letter, the questions came. Now my parents are over the moon about AIM. My brother can't wait for me to experience it. My dad is really excited for me. He is happy for me because I worked hard on the application and I earned acceptance to AIM.

In the days leading up to my departure to New London, I am getting more nervous. I have been working all summer on my fitness and now I start to think, “What if I haven’t done enough.” I often reassure myself that I have. I don’t have any other concerns than that. On the other hand, I am really looking forward to making new friends. I can’t wait to meet people who have the same interests as me! It’s difficult to try to find someone in Pinehurst, North Carolina who wants to go to the Coast Guard Academy. I am also really looking forward to the Academy life. I really cannot wait to get to AIM!!