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Realizing How Much Can Be Experienced through a Screen

(Mid-Week) Permanent link
Elizabeth Meyer

When I first found out that AIM was going to be conducted online this year I had a lot of questions. The biggest one being, how is this all actually going to work? The idea of doing an all-inclusive camp about life at the Academy online seemed unrealistic at first. Now as I have participated in a few days, I have realized how much can truly be experienced through a screen.

So far through this program, I have learned so many new things about not only the Academy but also myself. With interactive guides such as the FIT booklet we were provided and daily workouts, it feels to me as if we were actually at the Academy. I never expected that I could learn so much just by signing on to a Teams call. This program has opened my eyes to so many new things I didn’t even know were possible.

One of my favorite things about this virtual program is having discussions with our platoons. I find it fascinating to learn about people all over the country and what brought them specifically to AIM. It is very refreshing to see that even with all that's going on in the world that we all still have the same goals for the future which is to serve our country.

My favorite experience so far in this program would definitely be learning about all the activities available at the Academy. I found it somewhat surprising seeing that an Academy dedicated to serving also has somewhere for each person to have fun. Not only does the Academy have athletic activities, it also has musical, religious, and other activities.


An Incredible Experience So Far

(Mid-Week) Permanent link
Madison Nualart

My virtual AIM experience has been incredible so far. I have learned so much every day and I am continuing to do so. I expected for this journey to be very informative but this has exceeded my expectations. Due to the program being moved to a virtual platform, I lowered my expectations for AIM. However, the program has actually been extremely hands-on and interactive. I have been able to make long lasting relationships with like-minded individuals. I have learned everything I need to know about the campus life, clubs and sports, application process, and more. AIM could not have been more informative about what the Coast Guard offers.

My favorite part of the AIM program so far has been the time we spend in our own divisions. This time is so enjoyable because we are able to have one on one time with our cadre and peers. Everyone’s personalities are really shown during this time. It is also really nice to see how different everyone’s interests and aspirations are. My cadre was super nice and was very excited to answer all of the questions we had for her.


Enjoying the Personalized Division Time

(Mid-Week) Permanent link
Micah Tracy

So far, my virtual AIM journey has been really good. I expected it to be less interactive than it is, but I think the other AIMsters and I have become more comfortable in our divisions. I have learned a lot of helpful things about the Academy. I still wish I could have done it in person, because they talked about a time at AIM where we would have done a hands-on engineering type thing where you had to figure something out, and they replaced that with just talking about things that they do. That wasn’t really enjoyable to me, and I would have much rather done the hands-on activity, but I know that isn’t possible. I do think a video demonstrating how things work or something rather than just talking about it would have been more enjoyable and helpful to me.

I would say the segment I have enjoyed the most is the time with my division. I really like the personalized time more than the large group meetings, or simply watching a video. I think it is more beneficial to me and probably to other people too, because it feels more personal and interactive. While I feel like I haven’t asked many questions, I know that if I do have any questions, my division commander would answer whatever I ask and give me the best answer he can. The admissions brief was really helpful and informational.

All of the cadre have been unbelievably helpful and kind. I really believe they are here to help me know everything I need to know, and just to lead me along in this journey. They are very real with us about what the Academy is really like, and they aren’t afraid to tell it like it is. I enjoy hearing their stories about their experiences at the Academy, it really makes it sound enjoyable and interesting. If the cadre in my platoon don’t know the answer to a question someone asks, they tell us that they will ask someone and let us know the answer, which I really appreciate.


I Think...My Brain...Just Burst

(Mid-Week) Permanent link
Eli Griffin

After my acceptance notification for AIM, I spent a great deal of time imagining what the experience would entail. Could I endure the program? Would I be yelled at? How many push-ups would I be doing a day? Would I fit in? Some of the questions fell by the wayside after the program was moved online, and some new questions emerged. Would meeting online be as effective? Would I get a true sense of the Academy? As it turns out, all of my questions and more would be answered midway through AIM.

The meetings covered a lot of ground. We discussed the various degree programs, life at the Academy, military training, discipline, day-to-day life, the application process, and so much more. Now, when I say so much more, I mean SO much more! The cadre were teaching, asking us for feedback, and answering our questions. This format opened the door for discussions to grow and branch off into an array of tangents.

Discussions about the various degree programs and military training helped me understand how the two integrated at the Academy. The physical requirements were laid out and updates to performance standards were gone over. Interacting with the cadre allowed some room for me to adjust my perspective on how I would fit in at the Academy and what skills I would need to strengthen. Daily homework and video-guided physical fitness offered a creative and effective means for my experience to feel more hands-on. I learned more about the PFE, Prep School, and the 4/C day-to-day life. To be honest, the cadre even raised their voices at times, directing us to remain focused on the task at hand.

One final thought before closing out Day Three: I want to stress how this experience is only as good as the participant makes it. I was definitely more nervous on Day One about asking questions. That changed by Day Two and I ended the sessions with a much better understanding about the Academy, it’s programs, military training, and USCGA structure. I met my Admissions Officer, learned that cadets switch rooms and roommates a lot, was given a little bit of advice for making it through Swab Summer, and that receiving a Class 1, 2 or 3 is NOT a good thing. As names and faces of other AIMsters appeared on the screen more and more frequently, I feel like connections are starting to form. The homework has us engaging as well, and I expect to end the program with many new friends.

AIM is packed with new information. It seems like the more we learn, the more questions we have. Cadre, Admissions, and Academy Staff are there to help us by offering us a variety of tools to make the most of this experience. AIMsters are getting acquainted and warming up to the notion that making the most of this means connecting with each other. Reflecting on the past three days of AIM brings to mind Henry Ford’s famous words, “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is a progress, and working together is success.” AIM is an effort put forth by all, and judging by our unity so far, success is assured.


The Interactions Exceeded My Expectations

(Mid-Week) Permanent link
Anya Patel

My AIM experience so far has been great! Once virtual AIM was announced, I imagined it would consist of listening to lectures and completing assignments, but the amount of interaction between the cadre and AIMsters has exceeded my expectations! I heard entertaining stories from the platoon leaders, spoke to other attendees about our different experiences researching colleges, and became more familiar with the character of the Academy itself from admissions officers, instructors, coaches, and platoon leaders.

So far, my favorite part of this program is understanding life as a cadet and the different opportunities they have during the school year, summer, and in the Coast Guard. AIM has made me more aware of what is expected of students in a typical day at the Academy as well as the numerous options when it comes to sports, clubs, majors, and extracurricular activities. I learned about the fantastic support system the Academy has for balancing all of the students’ demands such as the peer tutoring method. This section has helped me realize what comes with the commitment of joining the Coast Guard by upholding their values of respect, honor, and devotion to duty.

Ultimately, I feel that I have had engaging conversations with the cadre and AIMsters throughout the week. Our platoon leaders were able to take groups of kids from around the country and turn the initial awkwardness into fun with ice breakers such as detailing and laughing about our personal shampoo preferences. Strawberry scented shampoo all the way ha-ha! This has assisted me in getting to know the other AIMsters better and sets this program apart from others through meaningful, but enjoyable interactions and team growth. I am super excited to see what else AIM has to offer!


An Immaculate Virtual Experience So Far

(Mid-Week) Permanent link
Olivia Lutkevich

My virtual AIM journey has been immaculate so far. I have learned so much about the Academy as a whole, particularly from my platoon leaders. They have been excellent in assisting and guiding me through my virtual AIM journey. They have shown me the ins and outs of Academy life and how much different it is from a civilian college. I did not expect to learn so much about the Academy because it is a virtual program. But the cadre have been extremely helpful and have put together an excellent program.

I have been enjoying the discussions with my platoon and my division because the cadre have several great and entertaining stories about the Academy that have helped me learn more about it. We get a glimpse of life on campus that only students could offer us. They also talked to us about cadet life. They went in-depth into things that would have been difficult to research such as rooming. They also spent some time on the USCGA core values and how to uphold those values, which I found interesting.

My favorite segment, so far was meeting with the coaches of different sports and being able to ask them questions regarding that sport. I am interested in participating in college varsity sports so this was a great opportunity, for me, to understand what that is like at the Coast Guard Academy. I have also been able to talk to varsity athletes that are also students . They have been very helpful in explaining how they have been able to manage their schoolwork and their sport. They have detailed some of the struggles they have gone through but have ultimately been more successful because of those struggles.

The other AIMsters always seem very engaged when we are having group discussions. Many of them ask questions and typically I have the same questions, so this has been helpful. I can tell that all of them want to be there and are probably in the same boat as I am: trying to pick the right college for them. We have all learned a lot, as a team, and have grown from the entire AIM experience in general. I haven’t gotten the opportunity to get to know them on a personal level yet, but whenever we do interact, it is always enjoyable. I am looking forward to my last day as an AIMster and will be sad when it is over, but overall, it has been an informative experience.


Solidifying My Decision

(Mid-Week) Permanent link
Ellie Forbis

I would describe my virtual AIM journey so far as exciting. I’m mainly just glad to have this opportunity to learn more about the Coast Guard Academy and get a better idea of what it would be like to attend as a cadet. I expected the virtual AIM program to help me decide whether the Coast Guard Academy would be the right fit for me and these expectations have been met. AIM has increased my desire to attend the Coast Guard Academy as it provided me with a greater understanding of the opportunities that the Academy offers and what life as a cadet would look like.

My favorite segment so far has been learning about cadet life and the summer training programs. This segment is a vital tool in determining if the Academy is the right fit. It provides insight into what a typical school day looks like for cadets, what cadets participate in over summers, and the regulations cadets must follow. This segment was very exciting for me because it really solidified my decision to apply to the Coast Guard Academy when the application opens.

Virtual interaction with cadre and other AIMsters has been a bit of a challenge because I feel that it’s a bit harder to get to know them than if we could interact in person. But I feel that this virtual interaction reveals how everyone is willing to help one another and answer questions. From the beginning AIMsters have been utilizing the chat on Microsoft Teams to solve technology issues and get to know their fellow prospective students. Although the virtual interactions are not ideal, I feel that everyone is trying their best to work around this barrier.