Skip Navigation Links

Cadet Blogs

Parents Weekend

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

Get an inside glimpse of parents weekend, not only form a cadet perspective, but from a parent’s perspective. 1/c Edwards and her parents take you around campus for this fall tradition at the Academy.

play button WATCH VIDEO


A Whirlwind Semester Worth My While

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2024) Permanent link
Isabel Jimenez

Hey y’all, how’s it going??? There’s been a handful of crazy events since I’ve stopped to catch my breath. It felt like just the other day I sat down to start the school year, and now we’ve just passed midterms. Ahhh!

Anywho, it’s been a crazy few months. I went on leave for a few weeks before I came back for the school year, and that was amazing!! I got to catch up with my family, friends, and take a break from the rush of Academy life. I went camping with my family and somehow we ended up with a bunny – definitely ask me about it because it’s quite a story. I also FaceTimed a few friends back the Academy while I was at home – and that was exciting simply because you begin to realize the good friends that you’ve made in the short time at the Academy.

I got back to school and was definitely kind of nervous to start the school year, but it ended up alright. I believe that I’ve mentioned this before, but I am now currently a Government major. I absolutely love it, so much better than a STEM major for me. While some may say that it’s easier, it’s definitely harder in certain aspects. I really love philosophy & theology, so I’ve enjoyed learning about ethics within the government major because it’s a topic I find interesting.

This semester has definitely been a handful though, I am Vice President of blog club along with being the Community Service Officer for St. Francis De Sales society. It’s been a blast, but a lot of work behind the scenes. Coordinating events, organizing memos (memorandums), and running around takes a lot out of you. But it’s definitely worth my while; even after I get exhausted from a long day. I’m excited to see what the future holds for me, but until then, I’ll be here to share a story or two about my Academy experience.

I am always down to answer any questions, so feel free to reach out @ [email protected]. Until next time, I’m off to sail the adventurous seas!!!


A Productive, Fun and Rewarding Summer

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

This summer for me was productive, fun, and rewarding. I first spent six weeks with the Maritime Security Response Team (MSRT) in Virginia. There, I spent many days at the range shooting pistol, rifles, and snipers. I often played as an opposing force in the shoot house, where myself and the other cadets would be bad guys with guns and the MSRT teams would come in and clear the rooms to either arrest or subdue us. Even though we knew they were coming and that both teams used paintball ammunition, it was stressful and intense. I spent a week with the precision marksman team, where we built ghillie suits, hides, and temporary command posts in the woods using camouflage and our environment. All in all, I learned a lot about Coast Guard special forces and the experience made me more interested in joining the special forces community.

The second half of my summer was in Key West on a fast response cutter (FRC). I spent a week or so on the Isaac Mayo, Kathleen Moore, Glen Harris, and Charles David Junior (all FRCs). I got to see four different units of people complete the same mission on the same platform, which was useful to decide how I want my first unit’s culture to be like. I saw four different ways of problem solving, what a good officer looks like, what a bad officer looks like, and four different team dynamics. It taught me that although the Coast Guard has lots of policy and rules, the way we do things is not set in stone. There is lots of room as an Ensign to improve or hurt the team culture at a unit. Mission wise, we spent a lot of time rescuing migrants and sending them back to Cuba. I got to practice on my Spanish skills and speaking to migrants inspired me to get better at Spanish speaking and listening. After being underway, the last week in Key West I spent at the Sector, where I got to see what they do in the command sector, in the response division, and in the prevention division. My goal for the summer was to see and experience as much as possible, which I accomplished. I met lots of amazing officers and enlisted, made new mentors, met up with old teammates, and made lots of new friends. The Coast Guard is a small service- my first day in Key West I ran into old shipmates from my 3/c summer experience. Going into my senior year, I am still unsure about where I want to go, but regardless, every single billet class of 22 gets is an amazing opportunity that few people are given.


Second Class Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2023) Permanent link
Jenna Bradberry

Hello all!

This summer was by far one of my favorites that I have had! As a 2/c, I had three weeks of leave right after the spring semester ended. I went home to Indiana to visit family and friends and just relax after a long semester. When I came back, I was thrown right into the summer session comprised of 11 more weeks, doing something different each week! This is what made the summer so fun and unique. These weeks consisted of the Mid-Cadet Transition Course, Rules of the Road and Test, Cyber, Prep (for swab summer), T-Boats, CATP (Aviation Program), Range, Coastal Sail, and 3 weeks of CADRE SUMMER. Cadre summer was some of the most rewarding, tiring, and fun weeks I have ever had in my life. It truly is such an amazing experience to be able to take full responsibility for the training of swabs and watch them grow under your care as you train them. As a phase 2 cadre, I had the opportunity to lead the swabs to the finish line and end of swab summer, which was amazing to say the least. Next to cadre, I had a lot of fun during range week as I had the chance to qualify on the pistol. I also loved, loved, LOVED, the aviation program. For one week I got to spend time at Air Station Cape Cod and experience everything about flight. I got to fly (literally fly) a CASA and hang out the back as they did a drop flight as well. This was such a cool experience! I wanted to fly before, but this really made me want to fly even more that’s for sure! If you would like to know more or any specifics about my summer or cadet life in general, feel free to contact me! The summers are by far the best here at USCGA!


Summer Snapshot

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Eagle, Class of 2024) Permanent link
Isabel Jimenez

And so here we are, the end of summer. 😊 I can say that it’s been a wild ride. As for the end of 4/c semester, I did end up passing all my classes. Which to some, that’s not a big deal. But for ME, I was quite surprised and very much enthralled at how the grades turned out. Needless to say, I did learn a few things…

One, try not to overdo your commitments. I learned that the hard way. I love to help, but sometimes I do spread myself too thin. While it kind of worked out in high school, it led to a much more stressful semester. Second, it’s okay not to have everything figured out. While that’s the mindset you might come in with, just realize that many aspects in your life change. Friends, family, and just your environment. That’s when you learn to let go of what you cannot control.

As for my summer, this is how it rolled. The first half of the summer I was on Eagle. As soon as I finished my finals, I got on to “America’s Tall Ship” and sailed across the ocean. The first two weeks we learned many skills including how to handle lines, stay on watch, and complete qualifications. While not all of it was ideal, I have certainly learned much. Our first stop was in Azores, Portugal. I loved going into the churches because of the beautiful artwork – and the town had amazing gelato. Hands-down; it was so good. I may never taste that exact same gelato again, but I will forever remember it. (Insert two more weeks of sea-going time here.) Our second stop was in Reykjavik, Iceland. While I didn’t quite get to explore as much as I hoped, I got to take some pictures of the volcano on the tour bus on our way to the planes. We took an international flight home, and that was it for that adventure.

As for the second half of the summer, I took summer school. While a lot of people try to advert from summer school, it all depends on the person. I struggle in school, so I am not going to lie – I did also struggle in summer school. But I can say, you do get a lot more focused attention during the summer, and a lot more personalized help in the classes. I took Engineering Mechanics – Statics & Calc II, and I did pass both classes. Although…during the process I did change my major to Government for a good handful of reasons. And while I would love to share all the reasons, I’m going to save that for another story…

So here we are. I got to go home after the whole ordeal and spent a few weeks with family – I loved it. I’ll be heading back to USCGA as a 3/c; with more responsibility & a handful of excitement. We’ll see how the school year turns out, but I’m sure it will turn out as God Wills it. Until I reach out again, off to the next salty sailors’ tale!!!

Feel free to reach out with any questions @ [email protected]. I’m always happy to share an adventure. 😊


Hurricanes and Ambulances

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2024) Permanent link
Cheyenne Waters

Now this is not your typical worst first day of school that involves mean kids, strict teachers, and funny mishaps. This is quite extreme when it comes to college experiences.

So, the week started off with a hurricane. The hurricane barreled into New London on Sunday which, of course, cut our weekend short and locked the cadets up in Chase Hall. Believe it or not, the hurricane was one of the best parts of the week. Even though I was stuck in Chase, I found ways to keep myself busy by preparing for school and creating study tools and sessions for the 4/c.

Tuesday was the first day of classes. I woke up early on Tuesday excited to start school and especially excited for my oceans lab where I would be studying meteorology. I get an email advertising for a blood drive later that day. I sign up on a whim thinking I had a free period, it was a nice thing to do, and, if I am being honest, it was also a good bullet. So, my first class went great, and my spirits were high as I headed to Leamy to give blood. I had never donated blood, but I had my blood drawn loads of times, and I was not fazed by needles or blood. Therefore, I walked into Leamy thinking it would be no big deal. I was very wrong. I got there at 11:00 and waited for about an hour. I figured I would miss lunch, but I had a good breakfast, and I was drinking my water while waiting. Plus, all the times I had my blood drawn I was just fine after a cookie and some juice.

I finally get to the table, feeling slightly nervous but ready to finish and get to class. They stick me, which was not that bad, then the blood starts flowing. The machines beeps were the first sign something was wrong. The blood sucker machine kept saying my blood was moving really slow. So, they give me something to roll in my hand and it flowed a little faster. However, it still ends up taking forever to make a pint. Almost four time longer than usual!

At this point, I really want to get to lab. The whole process had taken way longer than I thought it would. So, I quickly stuff some food in my bag and start off to class. I don’t make it very far before my head spins and my vision blurs. I walk back to the Red Cross people, and they have me lie down. Now I did not actually pass out. I just got very close. I hazily emailed my teacher to tell her where I was. I tried to sit up, but I felt so dizzy that they made me lay back down. Finally, the head Red Cross lady said she was going to call Nine-One-One. Now, I start to panic in earnest. I felt terrible, but I thought an ambulance was a bit dramatic. I really just wanted to go to the clinic. I also wanted to sit up because my panic was making my breath tight. Someone from the clinic arrives, but they call the ambulance anyway.

The EMTs get there. They strap me to the transport bed thing, and we take off. The ride was actually pretty fun, and I guess the highlight of the day. After that, they stick me in the ER, and I wait a while. I eat and drink something and feel better, but when they take me back, they say I am still dehydrated, and they hook me up to an IV. The IV, of course, starts hurting when the bag gets about a three quarters empty. So, they take it out and send me on my way.

I get back to the Academy, tell my story about a dozen times (which was actually pretty fun since it was a traumatic but very interesting story). The next morning was pretty bad too. I missed another class because I was in the clinic. Then, I switched up my classes and missed yet another class. I got a lot of makeup work, but I made it through Wednesday with no more ER trips. After a bit of rest and relaxation and a couple of good nights sleeps, I felt back to one hundred percent.

So, I guess I should summarize the great lessons from my unfortunate first days of school. The first is basically bad things will happen. I mean it happens. Sometimes you just have to roll with it. The second is that sometimes you do need to take a pause. Sometimes it is just too much, and you need to take time to sleep, breath, relax, etc. The third is something you will hear at the academy a lot which is communicate and ask for help. Everyone here is very helpful and understanding if you give them the chance by communicating and asking for help. The last one is trying to find a silver lining. I will admit I was pretty down those two days. I had a lot of stress (but unfortunately not blood) pumping through me. However, I am trying to get back to my normal, happy self and look on the bright side. I can’t say you will be happy all the time at the academy. It’s just not true. BUT you will enjoy your time better here if you do your best to look at the positive no matter how hard things get.


Bye-bye Boss! The End of an Era

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2023) Permanent link
Joshua Orbe

The last few weeks of the school year were full of emotion. It was a time of anxiety, relief, celebration and triumph for those graduating. It was time to say goodbye, pass the torch, and accept and commit to new responsibilities.

It is hard to believe that I am nearing the halfway point of my time as a cadet! I vividly remember all the nerves and excitement I felt on the days leading up to swab summer. Two years went by so fast, and now, I am a second class cadet. I heard that this summer, things are about to get interesting. But before that, the corps got to go away on a well-deserved break. One of my first and closest friends from the Academy brought me home to Maryland. I also paid my sponsor brother, who has been with me on this journey since day one, a visit to New Jersey. Lastly, my beloved mentor, a graduating Filipino international cadet, invited me to join him in Denver for one last adventure together here in the States.

I had meant to visit my roommate’s home for more than a year, but a global pandemic complicated those plans out of nowhere. When I arrived after a long but fun road trip, I couldn’t have asked for a better welcome. My roommate’s family took me in as one of their own and made me feel at home. I had a great time, and I could see how they had raised such a great son. From the trips, family traditions, great food, and even their adorable doggo, their family will forever hold a special place in my heart. I only hope to return the favor one day and be their tour guide around the Philippines.

I was sad when I had to leave, but I still have two more years here, and my roommate and I agreed to room together again! After Maryland, I took the train to my sponsor brother’s house in New Jersey. They are like my second family. We did not stay long and hit the road not soon after. We were going to attend an after-graduation party for our Filipino upperclassmen. After hundreds of songs and taking the wrong exits more than a few times, we made it to our sponsor mom’s house just in time to see our “boss” go up on stage with President Biden.

A few hours later, the party was in full swing. Our sponsor family made us a banquet of all my favorite meals from home. Many people came, Boss’s roommate from Puerto Rico and his family, my sponsor father’s family, and officers from the Philippine Coast Guard, some of them my future bosses.

I went back to New Jersey, and I went on the next part of my journey: Denver! It was my first time being West. What immediately struck me was the picturesque landscapes, soaring peaks, and vast grasslands. I stayed with my mentor/sponsor brother, whom we call Boss and his mom. The first thing we did was watch a John Williams tribute in Red Rocks Amphitheater. Those were some of the most breathtaking views I had seen. Our party then went hiking/picture taking at the hotel where they shot “The Shining.” The next evening was for the boys. Game 2 of the Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers playoff series was on in town. Boss and I had fun. I could finally check watching an NBA game off my bucket list. The next stop on our list was Mount Rushmore. Getting there involved a long drive. My job was to keep Boss entertained and awake. We played music the entire time when we had service. The drive up to South Dakota was beautiful but staring at endless seas of grass proved to be a challenge. At least we saw the occasional tumbleweed.

From there, we paid a visit to one of our sister schools, the U.S. Air Force Academy. What immediately struck me was the size of the campus. The campus sits in a valley with mountain peaks surrounding it. It is a massive campus with around 18,000 acres of space. The buildings were modern and futuristic looking even.

We finished our trip at an amusement park. It was a fun day from start to finish. I almost got held up at the gate. Thankfully, I was able to buy a ticket by the time it was my turn in line. It was hot that day, but Boss and I thought it would be good to wear our matching Space Force hoodies. It was worth it in the end; we were able to take some great pictures. We also saw a fistfight happen a few feet from us. Thankfully, people broke it up before any got seriously hurt.

Looking back on the three weeks of summer, I could say that I spent my time wisely. I spent it with my best friends, my second family here. I look forward to more fun times and a happy reunion with my seniors who graduated before me.


MSTP at Sector New York

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2023) Permanent link
Teegan Cordova

The Coast Guard is a lot like fifteen agencies in a trench coat. Conducting operations from drug interdiction to environmental protection, the service demonstrates versatility on the daily. Afloat operations comprise most cadet experiences in the fleet; during 3/c (sophomore) summer, cadets go underway on the tall ship Eagle for five to six weeks and to a small boat station or cutter for another five to six weeks, and 1/c (seniors) often spend a full twelve weeks on a cutter. While invaluable, those afloat experiences represent only a portion of available opportunities in the Coast Guard. If any of the myriad other officer subspecialties interest you, a handful of programs at the Academy introduce cadets to alternative career paths.

One such opportunity, the Marine Safety Training Program (MSTP), acquaints rising 2/c (cadets going into their junior year) with prevention ashore over the course of a week. Prevention ashore involves vessel and container inspections, investigations, port security, and marine safety engineering. In June, I attended MSTP at Sector New York on Staten Island with three other cadets. We focused on marine inspections, shadowing junior officers and enlisted personnel looking at cargo ships, oil tankers, small passenger vessels, tugboats, and more. A 2020 Academy graduate graciously taught us through the week. Her professionality interacting with the captains and crew of vessels and her familiarity with the Code of Federal Regulations astounded me. The junior officers at sector also shared considerable camaraderie and cooperated to get qualified. The workplace climate seemed amazing. My impression is that prevention ashore is an unparalleled opportunity for anyone looking for a fulfilling and challenging career in the Coast Guard with the opportunity for a good work-life balance. Unlike many afloat billets, officers at sector go home every evening (and the career also benefits those prone to seasickness). Beyond professional development, the experience also impressed me with the diverse work of the service and the importance of prevention in saving lives; the Coast Guard is famous for search and rescue, but all its work serves and protects mariners and the American people. If you attend the Academy, I recommend you avail yourself of as many opportunities to explore distinct career paths as possible.