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Halfway There

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Aija Brown

Thus far, my AIM experience has been amazing. While it was very difficult, stressful, and exhausting, it did eventually get easier as the week progressed. I came here expecting it to be difficult, and thought I had prepared accordingly. Physically, I did; however, mentally, I was not ready for the high level of stress that the AIMsters were exposed to. I loved how the program and the cadre did a good job of exposing us to both the life of a swab over Swab Summer and all the unique things that the Coast Guard Academy has to offer. While the experience was exciting and challenging, I certainly enjoyed the tours and activities we did throughout the week more than anything. These put my mind at ease about a lot of the questions and concerns I had about coming to USCGA and becoming an officer. They also helped to boost morale among the AIMsters.

All of the challenges and trainings that we went to throughout the week are ultimately, what helped to develop us as a team and platoon. From the second we stepped into Chase Hall, we were told that we would not be able to make it through the week alone, which we quickly found out was true. Our cadre did a thorough job of making sure that we all knew that in the Coast Guard, it goes, “Ship, Shipmate, Self,” and they based all of our tasks off of this concept. This forced us to work together in order to be successful, and it proved to be true as the week progressed. It also helped to know that while I were suffering and struggling, I had all of my other shipmates that were also suffering with me. This gave us all a sense of pride and trust, that our teammates would be there with us to get through it and made it easier to conquer the challenges that were thrown our way. Due to this sense of knowing we were not alone, when it came time to be able to talk to one another, making friends became easy. I could go up to any person outside of my platoon that I had never seen or spoken to before and spark up a real and fluent conversation about our experience throughout the week. It was a very unique and rewarding to support and build relationships with people I had never met before, and I am looking forward to hopefully crossing paths with my fellow AIMsters in the future as cadets at USCGA.

I have always aspired to attend USCGA and feel as if I finally found what I was looking for by coming to AIM. I am now more eager than ever to attend the Academy, and cannot wait to begin the application process and will hopefully receive an appointment. While it is difficult, and I know I will be pushed mentally and physically all four years here, I am certain it is the college experience I want and know it will help me develop into the best person and officer I can be. It was difficult but my fellow AIMsters and I made it through the week together, gaining new perspectives about the Coast Guard and USCGA. AIM proved to be an informative, fun, and rewarding experience. I am excited for graduation tomorrow, simply to be able to go home, relax, and most of all, look at my food again, however I will miss the people that got me through the week. Hopefully this will not be the last I see of them!