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The Night Before AIM Graduation

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Brooke Thomas

AIM has been one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, experiences for a multitude of reasons. At the beginning, I was very skittish around the cadre because they were constantly on us about every little thing we did or didn't do. When we were in the wardroom eating, I was reluctant to ask permission to have a certain food passed to me, or ask for anything, because I wasn’t sure how to phrase the question; I didn’t know, in general, what the proper approach was to asking the cadre a question. In fact, I remember couple of my shipmates and I were getting salad but not dressing because we were all unsure of how to ask for the dressing. Now, I feel as though the cadre have backed off a little bit from correcting us, but we are still "locked on" when we are in formation or outside. Also, I have seen the progress our platoon has made in making time for going to use the head, filling up our water bottles, or taking showers. I think our fastest time for all of us taking a shower is 12 minutes. That is pretty impressive, in my opinion, because all of us have to get all of our clothes ready and then wait in line for a shower head to open up. We have also been getting better at greeting the other cadre members as we constantly hear their names being shouted by their platoons.

My favorite part, thus far, has been meeting and becoming friends with all of my shipmates. Everyone has such an interesting story and I love to listen to where they are from and why they came to AIM. Although I like all of the people in the AIM week 1 program, Yankee 1 company (my platoon) is where all the best AIMsters are (not biased at all)! At first, it was pretty hard to know all of my shipmates because the cadre only called them by their last name and we never really got to speak to one another. Eventually as we got more privileges, we were able to talk to one another and therefore learn each other's first names. I know that after graduation we will get each other's social media accounts because that is how close we have all gotten, including with the cadre!

This has been one of the most satisfying programs I have been in because we were all challenged and pushed to our limits, yet we overcame those problems. I am proud, not only for myself but also my fellow shipmates because we all went through the same things. We just got done with making skits about our cadre and it really helped to relieve the tension between us and the cadre as well as being extremely hilarious. I can't believe that graduation is tomorrow even though earlier I said that it feels like we have been here for much longer than just a week. I can say I will miss each and every one of my shipmates and will definitely remember some of the funny interactions that I have encountered over the course of this week! However, I will also say I won't miss squaring my meals in the wardroom, squaring our corners, and keeping our eyes in the boat. For those thinking of coming to the Coast Guard Academy, AIM is a program that you should look at to really see if you could survive Swab Summer and the academic/military lifestyle present at the Academy. Go Bears!