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High School AIM Experience

(Choosing the Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
MegMarie Stanchi

Before I attended AIM, I had only visited the Coast Guard Academy in person once. Now, to some, that may be more than what they experienced, but my point is that the Academy was still such a foreign place to me. I think most people can agree that their first visit to the Academy was very confusing. You don’t know what to think or what to ask because it is all so different. Well, that is why I was nervous going in to AIM; I really wasn’t sure what I was walking in to. I had done my research on AIM and Swab Summer, so I knew what might happen, or what may be done, but I was really scared to see how I would respond to it all. Even though I knew it was only supposed to be a taste of Swab Summer, I wanted to see how I would react because that was going tell me if I could handle attending this school for four years.

So, I just did it. I powered through the week and took all that I could from it. AIM is a program that not everyone gets to attend before Swab Summer, so you must take it as an opportunity to learn and ask questions if you are selected. The AIM program might have changed a little bit, but for me, the first three to four days simulated Swab Summer, in a watered-down version. We saw a lot of the Academy, went to trainings, did some incentive training, cleaned our room, folded our clothes, recited indoc, and squared our meals. It wasn’t until the end that we got to talk to our cadre, and hear from them what being a cadet at the Coast Guard Academy was like. When they talked to us, I soaked it all in. My favorite part about AIM was being able to hear what real cadets struggled with at the Academy, what they learned, what activities they were involved in, and really, how they “survived” the Academy. Hearing them speak made it seem less scary and foreign. I realized that these cadets were people from different backgrounds and different regions of the U.S., and they had made it through. They finished Swab Summer, they completed two academic years, and they stood up in front of me and talked about situations they had been in and how they got through them. As corny as it sounds, I realized they were just people. People transitioning in that weird stage from teenager to young adult.

After hearing what the academics at the Academy was like, after seeing a bit of what Swab Summer demanded, and listening to personal experiences from cadets, something was quite clear to me. I had to apply to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and give this place a try.

MORE ABOUT MEGMARIE

We've Got Your Back

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Darden Purrington

Dear Class of 2022,

We’ve got your back.

As Day One approaches, I’m sure many of you are nervous. So was I…so am I.

I know I speak for my class, the great Class of 2020, when I say we are ready.

We are imperfect and human. We will make mistakes, just like our Swabs. We are dedicated to, and proud of, this institution and the Coast Guard that stands behind it. We have trained and waited two long years for this. Cadre Summer, the epitome of cadet training. We are learning, just like 2022, how to be officers in the World’s Best Coast Guard ‒ we are simply two years further down the road.

If there is one thing I want you to understand it is that 2020 is full of people. That may seem silly to many of you now, but come mid-July, you’ll have long forgotten. Every cadre will seem like a god or demon or some mythical creature who subsists on energy drinks and sleepless nights. We won’t seem like people. Some of us may seem like we don’t care about you, or worse, don’t like you. What you won’t see are the conversations with our roommates after you’ve gone to sleep about how we can get you through just another month, or another week, or another day of training. Because you are our swabs.

My class will run you, and drill you, and quiz you until you think there’s nothing left to give ‒ but give more. We will push you; some of you will cry, wake up exhausted, sit bolt upright at the drop of a needle in the middle of the night, and some of you will want to quit ‒ don’t. You have more in you and you are better than that. Stick with it. Give more.

You are our swabs and if one day you wake up and can’t do it for yourself anymore, do it for us. Do it for your shipmates, because they need you more than they will admit, perhaps more than even they know.

You wouldn’t be coming here if you didn’t belong here. We believe in you, all you have to do is prove us right.

Class of 2022, we’ve got your back.

Semper Gumby

(Athletics, Choosing the Academy, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Taylor Rowles

As an applicant for Coast Guard Academy, I dissected, read, and reread the cadet blogs to gain insight into the lifestyle of a cadet. The past cadet bloggers truly made a difference in my interest in the Academy and helped me find my way to studying along the Thames. Now that I am a cadet, I would love to give back to those who are lost in the ongoing college decision process through blogging about my experiences thus far at the Academy.

Over the past year at the Academy I have learned to expect the unexpected because no one day is like the next. We are always adjusting to change much like an officer’s day-to-day lifestyle out in the fleet. Whether it is a pop-up uniform inspection or a drug boat causing us to diverge from coarse, I have learned that you must be “Semper Gumby” as a future officer in the Coast Guard. I would love the opportunity to voice our unique experience to those who one day wishes to serve next to us. As an avid participant in over ten clubs and women’s varsity track and field I will be able to give a wide range of information regarding what happens behind the gates of the USCGA.

MORE ABOUT TAYLOR

Find a Group

(Athletics, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Alexis Laskowski

Hey everyone! This year has started off quick. We are now getting to midterms…CRAZINESS. This school year has already been full of activities, school work, and sports. I just wanted to share how important finding a group that you connect with is. For me, that is the men’s rowing team.

When I came to the Academy, I didn’t know what sport I wanted to play. Previously, I played softball for about 10 years of my life, but I did not want to do that anymore. Over Swab Summer I got a concussion from paying intercompany softball, ironically. Going into the school year, my doctor did not want me to play any sports with balls. Luckily enough, the rowing team needed a coxswain and I needed a sport.

Now I have been on the team for a little over a year and I couldn’t be any happier. From planning races, to school work, all the way to just traveling together, I have had a blast with the guys! The team is like a new family to me. If I need anything, I can go to any one of the guys on the team, and they will be there. Last year, if I needed help with school work, anything militarily, or just life advice, there was someone on the team I could ask. Now, I am trying to do the same thing, helping the 4/c on the team. I am excited for what the rest of the season will be like, and my next three years on the team will be like.

One of my number one pieces of advice about coming to the Academy is to find a group of people you can relate to. Find people that you can go to and use their support.

MORE ABOUT ALEXIS

Doing Something Different

(Choosing the Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Jacqueline Jones

Unlike a lot of my classmates, the decision to come to the Academy was tough for me. I had applied to about 15 colleges and I narrowed it down to two. One was a small private school in Baltimore, Maryland, only about an hour away from home. The other was the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, which is about six hours away. To my friends, the decision seemed easy; they expected me to go to the school near home. However, I wanted to do something different and try something new. I wanted to experience life and help others while doing it, and the Coast Guard Academy has not let me down yet.

I decided to become a cadet with the help of mentors, my Admissions Officer, and the cadet blogs. As a senior in high school with a decision to make, I became an avid reader of the cadet blogs. It was interesting to read how cadets felt about the Academy, their struggles, their likes and dislikes, and their many adventures as a cadet.

I am beginning my sophomore year at the Academy, and I can tell you that freshman year was hard and Swab Summer was even harder, but I do not regret my decision to come to the Academy and I cannot wait to tell you guys about the people I have met and the experiences I have had. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at Jacqueline.T.Jones@uscga.edu. Thank you for reading!

MORE ABOUT JACQUELINE

The First Full Month

(Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Francesca Farlow

September started off with a long weekend for Labor Day (yay!). I took the train to Washington D.C. to spend some time with my grandparents. We toured the Capitol building and all the big monuments and memorials as well as Arlington National Cemetery. It was a great way to spend the first long weekend of my 3/c year. Upon returning to school on Monday, I felt as though I never left and began preparing for the short, but busy, week ahead. We had a uniform inspection, an unexpected power outage due to a storm, and our first regimental drill of the season.

The next two weekends, I played a couple of rugby matches, one against the University of New Haven and one against the University of Vermont. On the 18th after morning the colors, there was a small service honoring the 70th birthday of the Air Force that I attended. Before I knew it Parents’ Weekend had arrived. I had a non-traditional Parents’ Weekend this year. It overlapped with my dad’s 30th reunion at West Point so I could join my family in New York for that instead of them coming to visit me here.

The temperature is finally dropping and fall is officially here! Go Bears!

MORE ABOUT FRANCESCA

Rolling on the River

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Francesca Farlow

The academic year is rolling along here on the Thames in New London and I could not be more excited to be a third class cadet. It was great to return to the Academy from leave and see my friends and teammates, some of whom I had not seen in over three months. Last time my class walked the halls together we wore green shields on our uniforms and bore no stripe on our shoulder boards. Now we have returned wearing red shields and having earned a single diagonal stripe. This year will bring so many new adventures, new lessons, new friends, and perhaps most importantly the privilege to look at my food again. Third class year is a transition out of followership and into role-modeling. For my class, we will be setting an example for fourth class, holding ourselves accountable, and finishing out our core classes.

At the end of fourth class year, cadets are shuffled and moved to new companies where they will remain for the duration of the next three years. I was an Alfa fourth class and was placed in Charlie for the next three. I am interested to learn about Charlie’s role in the corps and what I can do to be a part of it as a third class. I am also eager to help fourth class get through this year because although it is tough, it is worth it, but that can be difficult to see while you’re experiencing it.

I am also excited to start taking major-specific classes and really begin to understand the Operations Research major. This semester I am taking two math classes, a computer language class, American Government, Rescue Swimming, Organizational Behavior and Leadership, and Spanish. I am really looking forward to the computer language and math classes. Outside of class I am part of the women’s rugby team this season as well as Cadets Against Sexual Assault, Spectrum Council and Women’s Leadership Council.

Go 3/c year and Go Bears!

MORE ABOUT FRANCESCA

More Opportunities Than Time

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Delaney Swift

Hey y’all! I’m Delaney Swift, a third class cadet here at the good old CGA. I was born and raised in Portales, New Mexico – a little rural land-locked farm and ranch town. Coming to Connecticut has been a bit of a shock to the system for me. I traded soil, sun, big skies, and the high plains for beautiful trees and a river in my back yard. That definitely has its perks! Though my heart will always be in New Mexico, it doesn’t have a whole lot of coast to guard.

I have two younger brothers, Jack and Noah, who (despite always being up to no good) are pretty much my best friends. I’m a very family-centric person, which I thought would be a challenge for me in coming to the Academy, but it turns out that my family just got bigger – it now includes a whole bunch of cadets! As a fourth class, my main hobbies were keeping my eyes in the boat, bussing around campus, and squaring my corners, but really, the highlights of my day are all the extracurricular activities offered here. As a third class, life has gotten so much better; I now spend my time working in the major I love, seeing my friends at Glee, theater, and ballroom dance, and looking out for 4/c! Growing up in a small town meant that things to do were always hard to come by, but there’s never a dull moment at the Academy – there’s always shenanigans of some sort afoot, just like home! You can never tell what the future will bring at this school – you’ll literally have more opportunities than you have time for. One thing I can tell, though, is that my final two years here are going to be the adventure of a lifetime. If you ever have any questions, or just want to talk to a cadet, shoot me an email at Delaney.L.Swift@uscga.edu.

MORE ABOUT DELANEY