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Bears, Beats, Blogs

(Choosing the Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2021, Engineering) Permanent link
Sabrina Robertson

In my journey of applying to the Academy, I remember scouring the Academy website for any information I could get my hands on. Being from Florida, it wasn’t that easy for me to go to the Academy to figure out what it was like. I found the cadet blogs and was thrilled to find that I could learn a little more about what cadet life was like. I read them religiously and it truly helped me with my decision to apply here. So, when the opportunity came along for me to have a blog of my own I was ecstatic!

My schedule this semester is crazy busy. I started to put things into my calendar and was wide eyed realizing how little sleep I will be getting the next few months! Being a Civil Engineer, my classes have started getting harder as I dive into the major specific courses. I am also in soccer season, which adds another level of activity. It is all in good fun though! It’s always worth it for things you enjoy.

I not going to lie, the Academy can seem impossible sometimes. However, having the experience at FSU for a year, I’ll tell you that the challenges of college are everywhere! There’s no way to avoid the late nights, tired eyes, LOTS of coffee drinking, and sometimes crying (lol yes it’s normal!). BUT there is way to make all of those things better!! Finding great support systems like friends in your company and on your team, making sure you laugh and smile at everything, and just keeping a positive attitude. Because the Academy is so small there are many people that you can reach out to for help or if you just need a laugh. The thing I love about the Academy is that everyone wants you to succeed, and you are all striving toward a common goal. So, you will always find help and you will always have someone to go through everything with!!

Even though I know this year is going to be hard, I am SO excited. I hope I can share some of my year through these blogs so you guys (whoever’s reading these things) can follow along!

MORE ABOUT SABRINA

The Fall Semester Frenzy

(Academics, Class of 2019, Engineering) Permanent link
Stephanie Burckhard

Well, it’s almost the end of the semester! There has been a lot of fun activities and events keeping up the spirit of the corps before the infamous “Dark Ages” set upon the Academy. We’ve had morale events ranging from costume contests to company dinners. And, we’ve also had our first snowfall! Sadly it did not result in a snow day. At this point in the year, the 4/c have found a “rhythm” to the school year and they have definitely improved their spirit missions (pranks) on the upper-class. It’s great watching 2022 grow and helping them get ready for the big indoctrination exam next semester: Boards. Compared to last year, academics are more difficult, but I enjoy the challenge they bring. At this point of the year, most of the 3/c have settled into a major yet there are still those few who are deciding if it’s the right major for them. Although at one point, I was torn between ORCA and Civil Engineering, I’m now confident that I will stay on the track of Civil Engineering. It’s crazy to think there’s only a few more classes left in the school year before finals!

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions you have. I can be reached through email at Stephanie.L.Burckhard@uscga.edu.

MORE ABOUT STEPHANIE

My Major: Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering

(Academics, Class of 2020, Engineering) Permanent link
Amy Chamberlin

Hello! I wanted to take some time to talk about why I chose my major, Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (NAME), and the experiences I have had with Nav Arch thus far. I will start off by saying that, unlike a lot of my shipmates, I came into the Academy knowing what I wanted to major in and never looked back.

Growing up in Rhode Island and learning how to sail when I was 12, I knew I wanted to spend my life helping others while being on the water. With that, I found that Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering was a possible major, and that the Coast Guard Academy was one of the few colleges that offers it. Immediately, I looked at the Academy’s website and knew that the CGA was right for me. Ever since I received my appointment, I have been waiting to take major-specific courses. Now that I am in my 2/c year, I am finally enrolled in classes like Principles of Naval Architecture, which are relevant to what I want to do in the future. One unique experience that Nav Archs get at the Academy is to be a part of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME). The New England chapter holds meetings at the Academy and cadets are able to attend. There is always a nice dinner followed by a talk by professional naval architects. It is refreshing to hear how what we are learning in the classroom applies to real life.

If you are a prospective cadet, I would recommend participating in Cadet for a Day. I attended the program when I was a senior in high school and I shadowed a 3/c (who is now an ensign!). She was a Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering major and was on the dinghy team. The experience sealed the deal for me to not only come to the Academy, but to major in NAME. I feel like my high school prepared me really well to be successful at the Academy. I think it is really important to take higher level math and science courses ‒ for example, I took AP Calculus AB, AP Physics I and II, and AP Environmental Science!

Being an engineer at the Academy is not the easiest life but late nights, lots of coffee, and studying with friends are all things to look forward to. Between homework and studying, I spend at least 20 hours a week doing work outside the classroom. I would say that is typical for most engineers. If I were to give advice to a prospective cadet it would be to study hard in high school, but also to have fun. The cadet experience is nonstop but I have learned to make the most of every moment. Ask a lot of questions, get to know your teachers well, and don’t just survive, but thrive!

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at Amy.M.Chamberlin@uscga.edu.

MORE ABOUT AMY

How Much This Place Has Changed Me

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020, Engineering) Permanent link
Clara Beckert

Recently, the 4th class at the Academy, myself included, experienced an annual tradition called 101st night, where we become ‘swabs’ again for a few hours and it’s mainly compromised of a lot of yelling and a few push-ups. However, it was a sharp contrast to Swab Summer, when I felt like I drifted through the days terrified of everyone. This time I knew my cadre, and it was almost fun to get yelled at by them. As the school year continues, I realize how much this place has changed me. This time last year, I thought I had my entire life plan figured out, but after a tumultuous few months, I’ve changed my major, began a new sport, and found some new friends that I consider family at this point. I guess it’s all just part of the Academy experience though, discovering what you’re actually good at.

This fall, I started as a coxswain for the crew team, which if you’ve met me makes a lot of sense considering my size and love of being in charge. I’ve found it presents a unique set of challenges, as I never realized how difficult it truly was to be in charge of a boat with up to eight girls, and controlling everything that happens during a race. It’s a pretty good opportunity to develop some leadership skills that will come in handy in my future career.

I switched my major to Electrical Engineering fairly recently, figuring well, if I am going to be having a difficult next few years, may as well go for the major that I know will challenge and interest me in turn. So, in conclusion, the year is going pretty smoothly, just studying for boards and dreaming of carry-on at this point. And as always, if you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email at Clara.I.Beckert@uscga.edu.

MORE ABOUT CLARA

Thinking About How Far We Have Come

(Choosing the Academy, Just for Fun, Class of 2020, Engineering) Permanent link
Amy Chamberlin

Hello future cadets! My name is Amy Chamberlin and I am from Wakefield, Rhode Island. I love to sail, hike, go on adventures, and hang out with my family and friends. I love dogs and have a Bichon Frise, named Alice. Attending a small college with engineering were two major focuses of mine. I knew that the Academy was right for me because I wanted to be challenged, close to home, and in a close-knit environment.

During the short time here at the Academy, I have learned much more about myself than I would have at any other school. Swab Summer was mentally and physically challenging for me, but when it was all over, I looked around at all of my shipmates, thinking about how far we all have come. The academic year has a very different “feel” to it, but in its own ways, it is still very demanding.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at Amy.M.Chamberlin@uscga.edu. Have a great day!

MORE ABOUT AMY

I'm Designing an Icebreaker

(Academics, Class of 2018, Engineering) Permanent link
Hannah Eshleman

This semester has been a whirlwind. We were assigned our Capstone groups for the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering major almost as soon as we returned to the Academy after summer training. I am part of a group of four who are working on creating a medium icebreaker with a focus on scientific research. For the first couple weeks, we concentrated on creating our design philosophy, and now we are moving on to actually developing our icebreaker using Rhino, a computer program that allows us to build a ship hull. Initially, I experienced some major struggles using the software, but thankfully after many hours in the ship design lab, I am slowly becoming more proficient at the program, and it is amazing to see ideas come to life.

Our Capstone group has also undertaken a yearlong interview/photo/social media initiative with the Public Affairs Office following our project. Last week, we were interviewed in the Henriques Room in Hamilton Hall. We were given the opportunity to speak with the Public Affairs personnel about our project and plans. Getting interview experience and public speaking practice, I believe, will help me immensely next year when I become an ensign, and getting to hear my groupmates talk about their outlook on the project was eye-opening as well.

Well, I realize this post has been almost entirely about academics but, presently, that is what my life is most centered around. Don’t get me wrong, military trainings, Glee Club, Fairwinds, friends, and athletics are still an essential part of my daily routine, but like me, completing our Capstone project is what most first class cadets are focused on. Have a great week, and feel free to email me any questions about anything! Hannah.M.Eshleman@uscga.edu

MORE ABOUT HANNAH

First Phase: Eagle

(Class of 2018, Engineering, Eagle) Permanent link
Hannah Eshleman

The first phase of my 1/c summer has come and gone in the blink of an eye. I am sitting in the airport preparing to head out to Sector San Francisco after spending the first five weeks on USCGC Eagle. Eagle was a phenomenal experience. It is my third time being on board and honestly it keeps getting better every time I return. I chose to go for the engineering qualifications, as opposed to deck watch, and got qualified as an oiler and then an Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOW). This meant that I went on rounds of all the spaces throughout the ship to check on the various systems, did rounds in the engine room, and learned how to do all the collaterals for each. I also learned how to parallel generators, flush a reverse osmosis system, cross-connect different systems, and so much more. The crew on board are experts in their specialties and were so willing to teach cadets and help us learn more about actual applicable engineering skills.

Getting to stand watches for the crew made me feel like a valuable member on board, and while I am excited to see what this next phase brings I will miss being underway and being in an engine room. I am hoping to get to see some of the cutters out of San Francisco and nearby locations. Northern California is full of Coasties, which means reuniting with classmates and alumni that recently graduated. I am also looking forward to spending time with my grandparents who live nearby. Overall, firstie summer has been eye-opening and makes me realize how thrilled I am to hopefully become a student engineer next year as an ensign.

MORE ABOUT HANNAH

Change is Possible

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018, Engineering) Permanent link
Hannah Eshleman

At the beginning of every new semester at the United States Coast Guard Academy, I always seem to expect that the previous semester and the new are going to be relatively similar. But no matter what year or season it is, I get a week into the new school semester and realize how quickly things change at the CGA. Last semester I had all engineering classes besides my Nautical Science III course. This semester I only have three engineering classes, and then I am also taking Atmospheres (a marine environmental science course), Personal Finance, Criminal Justice, and Personal Defense II. Overall, my workload, at least for now, seems to have slightly lightened. This gives me the opportunity to fill some of my time with what I choose.

So far, my days seem to go with school until 1500, workout until 1700, then dinner, Glee Club, meetings with the Guidon (the 2/c in charge of the 4/c cadets within Golf Company), and then more homework and bed. I applied for the privilege of being an MAA, or Master at Arms, for Golf and got it. This means that I work with the Guidon, one of my good friends, and the 4/c (freshman) to help develop them, while also working with the rest of the company staff to keep the company running smoothly and initiate new training ideas. What I am enjoying most about this semester is getting to understand how the Academy truly runs, and that the reason things get done around here a lot of the time is because cadets initiate and are it behind the scenes. It makes me realize that if you put the time and effort in, change is possible, and I can carry this lesson with me into my first unit after graduation.

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