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Up North & Tim Horton’s

(Just for Fun, Class of 2025) Permanent link
Mack Bucki

After a hard semester, it was time for a break. I changed into my only pair of civies and left USCGA for the Hartford Airport. I spent nine hours in between layovers- not how I wanted to begin my winter leave. But, as the plane dipped under the clouds and revealed the glowing streets of Detroit, all the stress that came with 4/c fall semester disappeared. For only the second time since SWAB Summer, I got to see my parents and head back home. There, I was greeted by a rowdy black furball- otherwise known as my poodle, Oskey. And got to climb under the covers of my bed that (finally) weren’t dark blue. I built some signs in the comfort of our pole barn, rode my bike down the pothole filled back roads, ordered a hot chocolate from Tim Horton’s (Dunkin’s cooler cousin), watched the Red Wings play on the ice, ran a half marathon in northeast Ohio, and reconnected with friends, family, and former teachers. One of my favorite adventures was heading up north to our cabins in the Upper Peninsula. Although we nearly drove down an ORV trail on the way there, the northern snow and seclusion was breathtaking. However, I was most thankful for the opportunity to spend the holidays with my family. They gave me all the confidence and motivation I needed to keep on pushing myself to succeed. And trudge through calculus. My departure from DTW was tough and it wasn’t just because I had to wake up at 3AM to catch the flight. After a hug and a kiss goodbye, I was once again on my own. A difficult pill to swallow, especially after spending over half a month with those I missed the most. Yet, my mood brightened once I got to Baltimore for a layover. I started a mental countdown to spring break and got my priorities straight- my next challenge was waiting for me in Connecticut. And I was ready to conquer it.

Even if it means leaving everything behind once again.

Because every great start must begin with a bitter end.


Resilience Over Perfection

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2025) Permanent link
Mia Martinelli

As we are getting into the final weeks of classes and exams, it is nice to reflect on my Thanksgiving break. That was the first time I have been able to go home since S-day! It is crazy to think that I have been here for 6 months. I went home to a full house of my parents, my four older sisters, and their super cute pets. We played board games, went to yoga classes, walked on the bridge, watched movies, and baked and decorated cookies. It was so relaxing and rejuvenating. We laughed till our faces hurt. My oldest sister bought everyone matching Christmas pajamas that I am looking forward to wearing again soon. With all this great stuff over break, it feels difficult to be back at the Academy. But I definitely feel a newfound appreciation for traveling, oddly. I used to find it stressful to travel alone but last week I was nothing but relaxed and happy… even on my way back. I think that is coming from a place of confidence and independence that I have gained from being here the last half of a year.

Overall, I am happy with how my grades are turning out as I prepare for exams. Yes, the added challenge of the Academy makes classes harder than high school (in my experience), but I also feel even prouder of my work here. Initially it was difficult for me to not be disappointed in the grades that I was getting compared to my high school grades, but I realized that I am truly doing the best that I can. I have found it is much better for my mental health to measure my effort over the result. I think that this encourages me to work on resilience instead of perfection. See you in the new year!


Adventures with Triathlon

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2025) Permanent link
Mack Bucki

The endorphin-fueled thrill of an endurance race is what keeps me coming back for more. When I first learned about the Coast Guard Academy, I was thrilled to see that they had a triathlon team. My three favorite sports (swimming, biking, and running) could all be lumped into one big event! Through triathlon club, I met so many awesome people, got to go against some good competition, and pushed through dozens of tough workouts. My favorite race of the season was the TOUGHMAN Olympic Triathlon in Stony Point, New York.

After enjoying the Friday morning of Parents Weekend, a small group of us took a cadet van and headed to the race site. By the time we got to our hotel, the long-drive fatigue has begun to set in. So, we decided to make things simple and eat dinner at the restaurant across the street. Our exhaustion ended up being a blessing in disguise- the food next door was good. In fact, it was some of the best shrimp scampi I’ve ever had! After dinner, we headed back to the hotel to catch some Zs.

The next day, my alarm woke me up at 4AM. We got to the race site early to get our packets and dropped bikes off at transition. All three events went smoothly. The open-water course was one of my favorites and I was able to start off in the lead pack. Although my bike wasn’t the best, a good kick at the end helped me close in on the top five. I dropped the hammer in the last three miles of the run and was able to podium!

However, my favorite part of TOUGHMAN wasn’t the medal I earned. The thing I loved most about TOUGHMAN was that I got to spend an awesome weekend with my friends, family, and coaches. After the race, we headed back to New London. On our way, we stopped at a nice, sit-down café in Mt. Kisco. Their long menu was enough to make a person drool, let alone a bunch of hungry triathletes. I got the turkey club with sweet potato fries and took part in the fourth, most important discipline- eating. The perfect finish to our short yet rewarding season.

Peace Out Fall Semester!


How to Get Into the U.S. Service Academies

(Choosing the Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2022) Permanent link
Erin Edwards

The semester is almost over and we have one more to go before 1/c Edwards joins the fleet. It has been jam-packed with a lot of activities, so far, but who better to share Admissions tips than a cadet who has been through it all? Here are a few application tips from 1/c Edwards!

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Return to School

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2025) Permanent link
Mia Martinelli

Right now I am about four weeks into school and I’m still trying to find that smooth rhythm that everyone talks about! I have taken my first two exams and I have a few more just around the corner. The academics here are extremely different from my high school experience. There is a lot more responsibility and independence put on each cadet. I have already found planning and organization to be so important when it comes to school, military obligations, clubs, sports and councils!

I feel really excited to continue to meet and get to know cadets, professors, company officers/chiefs, etc. I signed up for a Coast Guard mentorship program, and foxtrot company also has its own mentorship initiative. I am hopeful that I can connect with people that I can continue to learn from and build relationships with.

I am practically counting down the days until Parents Weekend! My parents and two of my siblings are getting here on Friday. I am not entirely sure of the schedule, but I know I will be excused from lunch in the wardroom to eat with them on the lower field on Friday. I believe the swim team families are planning to meet up as well. Besides that, it will be nice to catch up and hangout with them off base.

Right after Parents Weekend, we start the first official swim team practice! I just can’t wait to get back in the water. I haven’t been competitively swimming normally for about 2 years now, because of a car accident and injury recovery, as well as restrictions due to the pandemic. It is so nice to have a new team and coach. We have been doing pre-season strength training 3 times a week, which I really enjoy.

This weekend was the first homecoming weekend. It is cool to see how this one place can bring together so many amazing people. My oldest sister (class of 2010) was here for her delayed homecoming and induction into the Hall of Fame for her achievements in Basketball. I couldn’t be prouder of her.

On Friday, the corps got a long, which basically means overnight liberty. Although there wasn’t really notice ahead of time, so like a lot of the 4/c, I didn’t really coordinate with anyone to take me anywhere, which means it has been a weekend of watching athletic teams, homework, and hanging out with friends. I don’t mind though, sometimes it is nice to just do nothing after a long week.


Northern Comfort

(Just for Fun, Class of 2025) Permanent link
Mack Bucki

Thanksgiving is one of the most celebrated holidays in the Midwest. As the holiday break begins, elementary schoolers bring home their hand-traced turkeys as mothers decorate their cornucopias. The weather is mild for a northern winter but signals the beginning of snow coat season. For sports fans, it serves as the prelude to the biggest rivalry game in college football: Michigan vs Ohio State. This day is a time for gathering, whether it be around a dinner table or a 65’’ flatscreen.

My fondest autumn memories come from the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in Detroit. As a child, I was amazed at the enormous balloons that were marched through the same roads mom took on her daily commute. To see over the huge crowds, dad sacrificed his shoulders for me and my twin sister. Then, when it was all over, we would hurry back to the warmth of our car and make the thirty-minute drive back home.

Leading up to the big night, mom prepared for the monsoon of aunts, uncles, and cousins coming for the annual feast. We bought enough pounds of turkey, cans of cranberry sauce, and sacks to potatoes to feed a pack of lions. My nana always took Thanksgiving as an opportunity to show off her baking skills. She would bake enough for everyone to have a whole pie to themselves! The delicious food was only a highlight of the true meaning behind the event- to spend time with everyone, even if it was just for one day of the year.

The big finale was watching the football game that Saturday. Annually, our Michigan Wolverines took on their biggest foes- the Ohio State Buckeyes. We suited up in maize and blue, invited our fellow super-fans over for a cookout, and sent up a prayer in our favor. Unfortunately, these wishes were usually left unanswered, and our college team’s performance would end up sending waves of disappointment throughout the mitten. Yet, if Thanksgiving taught me one thing, it’s that food and faith is all you need to bring people together. And cursing out the refs on tv is something that can only be enjoyed together as a family.

Happy Thanksgiving! And Go Blue!


Fall Biking Adventures

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2025) Permanent link
Mack Bucki

Back home, I would ride my bike almost everywhere. My evenings were spent peddling down dusty backgrounds on my beloved green Giant. A bike that was infinitely times more reliable than my 2008 Ford Fusion beater. Although there were not many places to go, some of my favorite memories come from those relaxing bike rides. Here at the Academy, I have carried over my favorite hobby to manage the stress that comes with being a 4/c cadet. Here are some of my favorite spots around the Academy for a relaxing fall biking adventure!

#1 – Fire Street

Dubbed “Fire Rd.” by the triathlon team, this bike route feels like a roller coaster! It is a hilly eight-mile trek to get there, but that all pays off once you reach the cascading downhills of the street itself. By your return the Academy, your sore quads will remind you of this fire-y workout!

#2 – Holmberg Orchards

Directly across the Thames is a small town called Gales Ferry. There, I found Holmberg Orchards- a small farmers’ market and u-pick center with a variety of fresh produce. They sell Macintosh apples the size of softballs, the juiciest peaches, and fluffy apple cider donuts (but only on weekends!). This family-owned agribusiness is worth a visit, whether it be by two wheels, or four.

#3 – Misquamicut Beach

The beautiful scenery on the way to Misquamicut Beach makes the long ride from USCGA worth it. My sponsor family were the first ones to introduce me to the Rhode Island coastline and I just knew I had to go back! Although it is a little touristy, the roads are not crowded at all. The shaved ice cart at the beach has dozens of different flavors to choose from; Maui Wowie (papaya and dragon fruit) is my top pick! And, if you get a long, you can enjoy a movie at their beach-side drive-in theater. Dig out your helmet and cross the state border the bipedal way. Your quads may be sore, but the journey will be worth it!

So, get out there and explore the great outdoors! As the leaves turn crisp and the wind turns chilly, a New England winter is right around the corner. Head down the bike room and dust off your cruiser for an autumn ride. Happy Fall!


Focusing On My Final Memories

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2022) Permanent link
Elizabeth Carter

Hello readers! I write this on more of a bittersweet note. I have successfully completed my final cross country season, after eight years of running the sport. When I look back at those four seasons at the Academy, and consider everything that has happened, I smile fondly. I can remember trying to be recruited from high school, and my times did not quite make the cut. I still tried out for the team, and four years later I am team captain. I can confidently say that being team captain will always hold a special place in my heart, over any sort of command or leadership within the barracks. Fall in New England will always mean 6ks at Harkness Park, cider mill runs to Clyde’s, and long runs through orange, red, and yellow leaves. My mother came up to watch one of my final races, and it was heartwarming to hear her stories and traditions from running on the team almost 30 years ago. This sport has always meant more to me than anything, and I accredit it with getting me through some of the hardest times at the Academy. For whoever is reading this, and may be interested in the team, please consider it. This sport has given me some of my best friends here, and we are a family.

Although cross country season is over, there is still work to do with Track and Field! I am beyond excited to hit the ground running for the indoor season and wrap up my running career at the Academy before commissioning. It is absolutely insane to think this is the final stretch. Even looking back on some of my older blogs bring back many memories of times long past. My days at the Academy are numbered, as I am often reminded by the countdown I keep on my whiteboard. It has become a sort of well -known thing around here, seeing as I live in a very congested passageway. Apparently, some of the Company Officers have taken a liking to my countdown as well, and continuously talk about their excitement for graduation (184 days!).

I know these final months will fly by, and I am trying my hardest to keep focused, get work done, and focus on my memories here while they still last. I don’t anticipate writing another blog before Thanksgiving and Christmas, so in the meantime, Happy Holidays, and good luck to all those applying early action! Please reach out if you have any questions!!