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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!!


The Nerves are Turning into Excitement

(Why AIM) Permanent link
Emily LeBrun

Hello everyone! Emily here! Next week I go to the Academy for the third week of the Academy Introduction Mission. I am beyond excited, but I am also nervous. I wanted to come to AIM to make sure the Academy was the right place for me. I have always wanted to go to the Academy, but this is to confirm that this is where I am meant to be. This coming week I am looking forward to meeting like-minded people and experience life at the Academy. I cannot wait to meet my cadre and I am also very excited to stay in Chase Hall and feel like a real USCGA cadet.

I don’t have many concerns about the coming week. I usually wake up fairly early, I am a very active person, and I love working as a team and helping others. I am sure this week will live up to my expectations and most definitely surpass them.

Like I said I have wanted to go to the Academy for years now. My family has always been supportive about my decisions and have encouraged me to live my dreams. They have been nothing but helpful throughout this process and I know they are very proud of me.

This week my nerves are definitely turning into excitement and I cannot wait to see what AIM holds in store for me and my fellow AIMsters. I will touch base when I am at the Academy. Talk soon!