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What I Learned from Parent’s Weekend

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2023, Mathematics) Permanent link
Monty Rickey

Hi everyone! The month of October has been crazy busy, filled with Columbus Day Weekend, Midterms, Parents’ Weekend, and of course, Halloween. It’s crazy to think that I am already half way through the semester, especially because it seems like forever ago that I reported in on July 1st. After the first few weeks of school, you start to get into a rhythm and daily schedule that you stick to. However, seeing my parents on Parents’ Weekend removed me from the day-to-day grind of the Academy. Parents’ Weekend not only was a great opportunity to show my parents the Academy and bring them to my classes, but also gave me a chance to reflect on my time here and what I want to do in the future. I came into the Academy unsure of what I wanted to do when I graduated, but open to trying new things and living new experiences. Some cadets know what they want to do when they graduate and focus specifically on what they need to do to meet that goal. While others, like me, have some long-term goals, but really have no idea what they want to do when they graduate. I’m hoping the next four years will give me the chance to try out new things and see what I’m interested in.

Over Parents’ Weekend, I not only got to spend time with my parents, but I also was able to talk over different opportunities at the Academy with my parents- especially what I want to major in and how that affects my future. Currently, I’m an ORCA major (Operations Research and Computer Analysis), which is a fancy way of saying math, which I love, but I’m also interested in Cyber Systems. For me, I know I eventually want to go to graduate school, that’s the long-term goal. Cyber is a fairly new major and I wanted to keep my options open before fully committing to my major. With my parents, we talked about each major in terms of the jobs and how it affects grad school. At the Academy, it’s easy to focus on the day-to-day events, because your schedule is always busy, but it is also nice to have that break and think about future goals for yourself. I hadn’t really thought much about my major, until I started discussing it with my parents, and realized that I wanted to keep both options, ORCA and Cyber, open. That was the most important thing, other than spending time with my family, that I got out of Parents’ Weekend—taking time to think about future goals.


A Look into Second Semester

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2021, Mathematics) Permanent link
Katherine Doty

After completing my first official week of school for my second semester of 3/c year, I can honestly say that I am excited for what the coming months will bring. As many of my classmates can attest, we have begun to dive deeper into our majors. This semester I am taking Linear Optimization, Information Systems and Discrete Mathematics as my “major-specific” classes. Although we’ve only had a few classes so far, I am already really enjoying all three classes.

In addition to academics, we have begun to think about our summer assignments. As opposed to last summer, this summer my class will remain near the Academy for the most part. We will take an important navigation exam, sail around New England as part of the Coastal Sail Training Program, participate in 100th Week and, of course, prepare for the incoming swabs and our roles as cadre. The Class of 2021 will have many opportunities for growth in the upcoming months.

As always, feel free to send any questions my way!


Winter Leave and Returning to the CGA

(Just for Fun, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2020, Mathematics) Permanent link
Francesca Farlow

Winter leave, Mid-year Administrative Processing (MAP) week, and the first day of the new semester are officially over and the academic year is back in swing. Over winter leave, I went home and saw my younger sister and parents, caught up with friends from high school, and spent a lot time at the American Airlines Center in Dallas watching the Dallas Stars play, which is probably one of the things I miss most about home. The day after Christmas my family traveled to Florida (about two hours south of Tampa) to visit my grandparents, aunt, uncles, and cousins from both my mom and dad’s sides. We celebrated Christmas again, my grandpa’s 85th birthday, competed in a 5-mile run, and rung in 2019. I also spent days on the beach soaking in the sun knowing soon I would be back here in Connecticut where you can’t leave Chase Hall with anything less than long sleeves, hats, gloves, and boots. When we returned to Dallas, we bought my mom a new car, celebrated her birthday, and took down all of our house decorations from Christmas. Leaving home is always hard, but I knew I’d be home with half of second semester under my belt in just two short months.

During MAP week I had to change rooms and roommates, take the Physical Fitness Exam, ensure my schedule was correct for the semester, purchase books, and prepare my room for inspection. When the week was finally over my friends and I attended the CGA hockey game at Connecticut College and enjoyed some food off base. The first couple days of school have been long, but eventually you get back in the swing of it all. Luckily, this weekend is already Martin Luther King Day which means we will not have class on Monday. I am meeting my aunt and uncle in New York City to see a musical and spend time together. This will be the third time my aunt and uncle have made this trip on MLK Weekend, it is our annual tradition and is a great way to relieve some of the back-to-school stress.

This semester I am enrolled in five core classes: Principles of Electronic Communication Systems, Mathematical Statistics, Probability Models, Criminal Justice, and Differential Equations. In addition, I am taking a Conversational Spanish class that meets once a week to continue to improve my fluency. I am looking forward to this semester and my final summer at the Academy.


Operations Research and Computer Analysis: Thinking Logically and Analytically

(Academics, Class of 2020, Mathematics) Permanent link
Anthony Turner

When I first came to the Academy, I was a Marine and Environmental Sciences (MES) major. In the early spring of 4/c year, I switched to be an Operations Research and Computer Analysis (ORCA) major. Since then, I have loved my major and am blown away with the cool stuff we do. ORCA is more than just math and coding, it helps you think from new perspectives. Personally, I love thinking logically and analytically. The ORCA major does just that.

Since I made my switch to ORCA, I have never considered switching to another major. One reason I stayed was because of the faculty. The teachers in the Math Department are amazing. They are always there to help you with anything and make incredible mentors. In my opinion, they are the best teachers on campus. They realize that the material we cover can be hard sometimes, but they are always willing to sit down and help you understand it.

When I switched into the major, I did not know much about it. We had presentations from all the majors about all the work that they did. This was all I knew about ORCA. The presentation cleared up all the misconceptions I had about this program. It showed how applicable the major was in and outside and the Coast Guard. Another selling point for me was that for our capstone projects, the Coast Guard sends the Academy current problems to solve and we get to solve them. Even as cadets, we can have a direct impact on the fleet. This is the type of challenge that I like!

I did a fair amount of research before I changed majors. I talked to my previous academic advisor and the ORCA faculty as well. In addition to that, I used the Academy website to learn about every major. The most impactful in my decision was talking to the upperclassmen. When I played rugby, most of my teammates were ORCA majors and they encouraged me to switch. They described it as the “slept-on” major because it is the perfect balance of free time and challenging work. As a 2/c, I can attest to that. I spend about four hours a week studying for my classes. A pro tip would be to do this studying during the free periods you have.

The easiest part of the major are the math classes, such as Multivariable Calculus and the optimization classes. They still have a certain level of difficulty, but they are the easiest classes you may take. The hardest classes are the ones that involve coding. I never coded until I took Computer Model Languages and it was like learning a new language. To those who code frequently, it’ll be a walk in the park. If you have never written a line in your life, rest assured because the faculty will be there to help you out.

In terms of how I prepared for ORCA in high school, I did not. I focused on science classes, because I thought I was going to be a MES major. Some computer classes were offered, but I chose not to take them, simply because I didn’t think I would need them. In terms of the calculus classes, I was not very prepared. I was placed in pre-calculus and worked my way to get on pace with my classmates.

To those that want to be ORCA, just get ready to work. Have no fear though, you will never feel overworked, and always ask your teachers for help. Those are the only tools you’ll need to succeed!

Until next time. I’ll see y’all later!


ORCA, Not the Whale

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2019, Mathematics) Permanent link
Jill Friedman

Time flies when you’re having fun…or really busy. I always forget how that saying goes. The school year has quickly ramped up and I can’t believe we’re at midterms and selecting classes for next semester. I’m an Operations Research and Computer Analysis (ORCA) major, which is applied math. I just started my in major classes, Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra, and so far I love the major. The focus of the major is using math and logic to solve problems. I was that kid in high school that was asking the teacher when we would ever need to know this in ‘real life.’ Thankfully, I don’t have that question anymore because the teachers relate what we’re learning in class to what we’ll do in the fleet as officers or civilians once we transition out of the Coast Guard. I look forward to getting even more in depth with ORCA next semester when I take Differential Equations, Linear Optimization, and Discrete Mathematics.

Outside of the classroom, rugby season is in full swing. As I write this, the women’s team is four games into the season, 4-0, have four consecutive shut outs, and are 14th in the nation. We may only be a club sport but beyond our sport we’re tight knit and take care of each other on and off the pitch. I mention rugby because while cadets are required to play sports two of the three seasons each year and can fulfill this obligation through playing intercompany sports. Many play varsity or club sports because they supply an oasis from the monotony and grind of Chase Hall. Teammates provide an additional outlet and support system inside Chases Hall. When considering the Academy, I recommend looking into a sport, club or varsity, whether you’ve played the sport before or not, it offers a support system, break from the day, and a another family.

If you have any questions feel free to email me at [email protected].