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The Last Stretch

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2022) Permanent link
Jack Brunswick

Time at the Academy flies by, but also feels so slow. I don’t know why the days feel like forever but the weeks go fast. The last few months has been crazy with Billet Night , spring break, castle dance, and more. Here, I’ll summarize all the things you can look forward to when you’re a 1/c cadet (senior) at the Coast Guard Academy.

Billet Night

Billet Night is when all the senior cadets find out where they are going for their first job after graduation. In December we receive a list, and we upload our top picks online. Then in March, we all get together for a formal dinner, then we all gather in the auditorium for a presentation. They call up a handful of cadets at a time, and announce their billets while they are on stage. I didn’t go until the end, so I was nervous for most of the night. There was a lot of cheering, crying (happy tears), and celebrating for everyone. I have friends going to Hawaii, Florida, Guam, California, and more. I got Sector/Cyber Texas, which was my number one choice. Billet Night is super exciting because you get to celebrate all your classmates and your own accomplishments over the past three and a half years. We all struggled and triumphed together, and Billet Night is the culminating event that brings that all together. Even more excitingly, you get to start house hunting or apartment hunting, which has been a little stressful, but mostly fun. I definitely recommend getting a roommate because it is more fun that way. Also, you’ll save a lot of money and/or be able to afford a nicer place. No billet is a bad billet. Even if you end up somewhere you don’t want, it’s still an amazing opportunity. I wanted to be grateful no matter what billet I got. There are so many college kids who don’t have the opportunity to get a good job after school or get paid as much as a Coast Guard officer does. Some kids can’t afford college, and some kids around the world get the opportunity at a high school level education. Billet Night put in perspective how blessed I am and that I should be grateful of all my opportunities, friends, and classmates.

Spring Break

Spring break is self-explanatory. You get a week off from school in March, the week after Billet Night. I spent my week with some friends snowboarding in Vermont and New Hampshire. I have the Epic Pass, which for military is only $150 (usually $1000+ for civilians). I will do a separate post about the perks of going to the academy and being in the military.

Castle Dance

Originally, Castle Dance was created by 1/c cadets (seniors) to have their own event separate from the Academy. However, rumor has it that one year the cadets got too rowdy and Castle Dance was canceled. Eventually, Castle Dance was brought back under the condition that Academy faculty and leadership could oversee the planning of the event. This year, we were able to have our Castle Dance at the Rosecliff Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island. It looks like the mansion in Great Gatsby. We all got dressed up in suits and dresses, had a DJ, drinks, and food. I’m not going to lie, this is probably one of the most fanciest events I’ve been at. The class leadership did a great job planning it, and it is something to look forward to as a senior.

Dining In

Dining In is another formal dinner where 1/c cadets dine with admirals, officers, and other VIPs. This dinner is a welcome into the Officer Corps. As a cadet, you usually have a formal dinner like this once or twice a year.

Graduation

Graduation is May 18th this year. Then, we get 30 days of leave to spend time with family, travel, and get settled into our new place. Then, we all report into our new jobs and get to work!

MORE ABOUT JACK

Secret Perks of Being a Cadet

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2022) Permanent link
Jack Brunswick

Being in the military brings lots of perks. If you are thinking about joining a military service academy or ROTC, here are a few unexpected perks that might be thrown your way.

  1. Chipotle does a law enforcement discount, and technically, the Coast Guard is the only branch of the military with law enforcement authority. If you take 30 seconds to explain this to Chipotle, you can get 50% off your order.
  2. Luxury credit cards come with lots of perks, including free access to airport lounges with free drinks and food, complimentary flight upgrades, and more. However, these credit cards also come with a $100- $500 annual fee. For AMEX, the fees for these cards are waived for military members, meaning you can earn awesome points, hang out in airport lounges, and earn exclusive discounts without paying a fee.
  3. Access to websites like GOVX and other military discount stores. They provide cheap prices for a variety of products. Many brand name companies offer 20%-30% discounts on their products for military members, including Oakley and RayBan. You also earn access to the Coast Guard Exchange website, which does not charge tax on its products.
  4. Military discounts for cruises, vacation packages, and more. Self-explanatory.
  5. Lots of airlines allow military to check bags for free. Also, you’ll be upgraded to TSA precheck, making getting through security much faster and easier.

There are tons of other financial military perks for being in the military, but many of the best perks have nothing to do with money. For me, having a network of amazing friends and coworkers is the best part of attending a service academy. The skills, wisdom, and experiences you gain from being at a service academy or in the military are great too. Do your full research on all the benefits military members receive, as these are only the tip of the iceberg.

MORE ABOUT JACK