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Changing Things Up this Semester

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

Well, I must say, we are in the midst of an intense semester… Even though there is a pandemic going on, it is quite difficult at a military academy regardless of COVID-19. Since February, academics have picked up as well as the military duties & obligations. Some of these include more drill, more FRAWs, and more of what the military academy day used to look like…

In a normal year, each company must perform a Regimental Review which means marching on the Washington Parade Field in section. The firsties (seniors at the Academy), all have swords while the under-classmen carry rifles. In the past, I’ve heard there were Regimental Reviews every weekend (I’m not sure if that meant Friday or Saturday), but I know they practiced Friday mornings for drill. Our class does not quite know what that experience is like, but regardless we are adventuring new waters! Literally & figuratively.

As for me, I changed some things up. Last semester I played rugby, but this semester I wanted to try something new, so I joined Women’s Rowing/Crew. It’s a NCAA, Division 3 sport, which basically means it’s more of a time commitment than a club sport – but the people there definitely make it a great community. So, when I meant I spent more time adventuring new waters, I meant it in the literal sense because I’ve definitely had the opportunity to spend more time on Thames River (only to get splashed by the salty sea water when the water gets rough). The funny thing is, every time that I get splashed with waves, I have to keep reminding myself that I’m on the East Coast. Random side note: I’m from Wisconsin. This means that anytime I’ve interacted with a large body of water, it has been Lake Michigan – and Lake Michigan is a freshwater lake. Sometimes I get splashed with water (in the face of course), and I lick my lips only to realize it’s very salty!!! If you got splashed in the face in Wisconsin (from Lake Michigan of course), there is no salt because it’s a freshwater body. I don’t know, maybe it’s just a Midwest thing to have to keep reminding yourself in the East Coast and the water is saltier than not…

Anywho, April is our last month, so we just need to make it through our last four weeks of classes. They are definitely going to be quite difficult, but with perseverance and dedication (and God of course) – all things are possible. Oh! And for majors, I decided to switch my major to Cyber, but if you have any questions on the majors – I can definitely point you in the right direction if I can’t give you an adequate answer, we’re all here to help! But I’m going to wait a little, see how the major goes, and then write something of that sort in a blog. I definitely want to give a better perspective about what I learn about in the major – because I don’t know everything yet and there are a few things to learn. I’m discovering whole new adventures, and there is always something new to find!

Until next time, see you later my sea-going friends! Feel free to reach out to me at any time, [email protected].

MORE INFORMATON ABOUT ISABEL

Billet Night Reflection

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

Thursday, March 4th was a momentous day for many members of the Class of 2021. Billet Night, as it is commonly referred to, is the night where first class cadets discover where they will be stationed for the next 2-3 years. For the Class of 2021, the options included Deck Watch Officer or Engineering Officer in Training aboard cutters, Student Aviator at Naval Flight School, Marine Inspector at a sector or other marine safety unit, or Watchstander at the Cyber Security Operations Center.

The night began with a lovely dinner in the cadet wardroom. We then headed to the Leamy Hall Auditorium for the presentation of billets. The entire auditorium felt like a step into a different world because there was so much excitement and rejoicing. As everyone can attest, the past year has been difficult in many ways. This was an opportunity for the Class of 2021 to take a break from all of the stress and get excited for the next chapter of our lives.

Since Billet Night, we have been busy talking with our new units, apartment hunting, and working to finish our last semester of college strong. Because we will be scattered from our classmates very soon, everyone is doing their best to enjoy the last few weeks with our friends.

May 19th, here we come!!!

MORE ABOUT KATHERINE

A Look at the Semester

(Academics, Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2023) Permanent link
Monty Rickey

The spring weather has finally arrived! This semester has been chaotic, to say the least. This year has definetly been challenging with school, a long winter, of course the pandemic, and constantly changing schedules. I am in Golf Company but moved to a Hotel triple for a month or two. This turned out to be one of the highlights of the semester, because I got to know two people I had not previously known and living in a triple is always fun. I also ended up getting contact traced for COVID and ended up in Munro for two weeks. Luckily, my friend that tested positive, my Munro roommate, and I all ended up healthy. I was moving during online school, so it was not too hard to keep up with everything. Although Hotel was nice, a few days ago, I moved back to Golf and it great to be home.

Other than moving multiple times in the last few months, school has also been crazy. I love being an ORCA major and am in a lot of major specific classes, compared to 4/c year. I think my favorite class is Mathematical Statistics because I specifically love the probability and statistics aspect of math. Next semester, I want to take an independent study and dive deeper into probability theory, so I am excited about that. We also take programming classes, specifically in Python, and learn about R Studio in terms of statistics, which is awesome. What I love about the ORCA major is that it gives us the opportunity to learn about several types and aspects of math that I didn’t know about. It also opens my eyes to how much math is in the world around us and truly integrated into everything we do.

Now that it is spring, the women’s water polo season has started. Because of COVID, though, we are not playing games or tournaments, like we would during a normal season. I love playing water polo because I’ve never done it before, and the team is awesome. I swam in high school, but water polo is so different, and I love learning about it.

A few days ago, the 4/c took their Boards, which is a cumulative oral test of all Coast Guard indoctrination knowledge they have been studying since Swab Summer. It was awesome to see all of them do exceptionally well and transition into becoming 3/c this summer and next year. I am excited to see the 4/c as 3/c and so see my class as 2/c. After watching Billet Night, I am so hyped to see my class grow throughout the next two years!

MORE ABOUT MONTY

She Kills Monsters

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2023) Permanent link
Teegan Cordova

Last semester, a friend texted me, no context, “Do you want to be an evil cheerleader?” Of course, I said yes. It turns out she was talking about the spring play. This year, the Drama Club put on She Kills Monsters, a 2011 play by Qui Nguyen about a girl who loses her family in a car crash and starts playing Dungeons and Dragons to connect with memories of her sister. It’s a sweet story about love and acceptance, and our leads absolutely knocked it out of the park.

For theater at the Academy, there’s usually a fall play, entirely cadet-run, and a spring musical, put together by a fantastic team of people including Academy/Alumni Center staff and New London community members. Last February I was in the chorus for the musical, and I can honestly say it was the most fun I had that semester. Both productions count as a sports credit.

This year, because of COVID, there was no spring musical. The play happened the last weekend of February and was streamed online in addition to having a live, socially distanced audience in Leamy Hall. Even though we had to adapt to be COVID-safe, it was absolutely worth it all to hear that people like it.

I didn’t act before coming to the Academy. I was involved with theater behind-the-scenes as part of the band for my high school’s musicals, but previous experience isn’t needed to be a part of Drama Club. If you’ve ever wanted to try out acting, it’s an awesome opportunity! For this production, we also had a 4/c student director, and she was amazing both for theatrical insight and managing logistics. You don’t have to be on stage to get involved with theater; you can direct or be a part of the tech/makeup team. One of the things I like best about the Academy is that, as such a small school, it’s possible to walk onto a lot of teams and activities. Theater is no exception!

MORE INFORMATON ABOUT TEEGAN

The Suspense of Waiting for Billet Night

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2021) Permanent link
Felicia Lombardi

Billet Night is one of the most highly anticipated events of firstie year, as it is the night when seniors find out where they will be assigned for their Ensign tour. I look forward to watching Billet Night every year because it is exciting and inspiring to see your friends, teammates, and mentors begin planning for the next phase of their lives. Although now that it is time for my Billet Night, the experience of waiting is completely different and full of all sorts of emotions.

Billet Night always happens on the Thursday before spring break, about halfway through your last semester at the Academy. For most of the year Billet Night has felt like nothing more than a distant thought because we have been so busy with capstone, command, and classes among other firstie obligations. However, now that it lies weeks away, the thought that we are graduating in only a few short months has become very real. I feel excited and ready to start the next chapter of my life, but I also can’t help but feel uncertain about what is to come. Where will I be? Who will be there with me? Will it be everything I have imagined? Where will my friends be? How do I live on my own? There are a lot of unanswered questions that I can’t even begin to process until Billet Night happens.

After a year of uncertainty due to the pandemic, I am really looking forward to finding some grounding. Although as we wait, rather than perseverating on what is to come, I have been trying my best to make the most of the time I have left here. This includes watching movies with my friends, late night trips to the cadet bookstore to buy some Ben and Jerry’s, playing badminton on the weekends, and prioritizing people and experiences ahead of planning for the future. This sounds a little counterintuitive if you think about it too hard, but the truth is, there is no point in stressing about the unknown that lies ahead when there is so much to be grateful for in the present. Billet Night will come, and it will be great, but I think I will enjoy it more if I have lots of fun memories building up to it.

MORE ABOUT FELICIA

Mock Trial

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2023) Permanent link
Teegan Cordova

I joined the mock trial team this semester. The Coast Guard has many opportunities for grad school after the Academy, including law school, which is a possibility I’ve recently begun to consider. What is less well-known are the ways to prepare for grad school as a cadet or to explore what interests you might want to pursue in further education. Mock trial is a fantastic opportunity to help solidify your future goals.

Since this was my first year, I participated as a witness. This semester, the team is ten people: six lawyers, three witnesses, and one alternate. The lawyers are divided into two teams, the defense and prosecution. Each side prepares a case based on a packet and the help of coaches. Our coach, LT Fritz, is a new instructor at the Academy this year. He began his career as a lawyer with the Marines but went to flight school to become a helicopter pilot. He then commissioned into the Coast Guard as a pilot and eventually returned to the law. He has a wealth of knowledge in both aviation and litigation. I hope that, as a government major, I have the opportunity to take one of his classes in the future.

Ordinarily, the team starts practicing at the start of the fall semester. This year, because of complications related to COVID, we began in January, so we elected not to participate in competition because of logistical and time constraints. In a normal year, the Academy team travels to Yale University to compete, giving participating cadets the chance to get off-base and network with like-minded college students. A handful of our team had participated in mock trial or moot court competitions in high school, but experience is not a requirement to join. I walked onto the team with no clue what I was doing and still had a blast. If you’re interested, I would highly recommend seeking out the club at the activities fair at the Academy.

MORE INFORMATON ABOUT TEEGAN

My Other Home

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2023) Permanent link
Joshua Orbe

Going home for winter break, half a world away, I was able to momentarily forget all about my responsibilities as a cadet.

After recharging my batteries and bonding with my family, I came back to the U.S. with excitement for the future. I was looking forward to the snow, having new classes and a new roommate.

I took a different route back to the U.S. this time. I had a stopover in Incheon. I tried to maximize the five-hour period I was given in this new and beautiful country, taking in as much of Korea as I could from inside the terminal. I was walking non-stop, checking out all the shops and looking at all the people. I was amazed by how high-tech the facilities were. The people were also some of the friendliest I’ve met. I’ve always been amazed by Korean music, food, history, and culture and I hope to return one day when everything is a bit more stable. Five hours isn’t enough!

I came back a little later than my classmates because of some delays but my roommate was kind enough to set up my side of the room for me. He was my first ever roommate at the Academy and one of my best friends here. Funny enough, the room we moved into was the room where we first met. We even sleep on the same sides of the room we did as swabs!

As of writing this (early February), classes have been going fine. After taking these last few math and science classes, I am set to take a lot of political and writing classes. COVID restrictions are what they are. Athletics and working out hasn’t slowed down significantly. The Academy is doing its best with the current situation. When housing the people that had to be quarantined became an issue, the Academy leadership quickly came up with and implemented a solution. None of us could have prepared for as big a challenge as COVID. Vaccinations are slowly being distributed and I hope and pray that the end is in sight.

In other news, last week, we had 10 inches of snow. It’s been forever since the last time I saw that much snow. Myself and another one of my friends commandeered an upperclassman’s surfboard and rode down the hill. We were headed straight for a tree but we ejected (stylishly) at the last second. Good instincts if you ask me. But I don’t want to be a pilot. I’m more of a cutter guy myself. Until next time!

MORE ABOUT JOSH

My Winter Break and Looking Ahead

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

Hello again! It’s officially February here now, but I figured I’d write about what happened with me these last few months. So last year, with COVID and everything, we were sent home for Thanksgiving and it was decided that we were to do the last several weeks of school virtually. It worked out well! And actually, I stayed with my Sponsor Family for Thanksgiving, (as my family was busy so we couldn’t be together for Thanksgiving this year), but I did have a chance to head home for Christmas.

It was so wonderful to be back! I live in the great state of Wisconsin, so it was a little bit of a journey, but it was definitely worth it. Being away from your family for several months (5 months to be exact) makes you really appreciate what you’ve missed. For example, I absolutely love cats. I know not everyone is a fan, but back home I would cuddle-up with my cats when I did my homework. I didn’t realize how much I missed that! I also got to see all of my family again – and that includes my four younger siblings and parents. And while it was absolutely great to see them all again, it also made me realize how fast they’re growing (and how much my brothers have become teenage boys).

Anywho, we’re back in school now. This semester I’m taking I2C (Intro to Computing), Physics, Introduction to Navigation, and Calculus. Definitely none of my specialties. But that doesn’t matter as that is apparently what I’m supposed to be learning this semester. 😊 Classes are in full-swing, and I’m better-balancing out my schedule. Last semester, I was really just trying to figure out what needed to get done and when – this semester I’ve got a plan. Nothing fancy, but I’m better with understanding my time with all the military obligations & everything.

Lastly, it has been a little challenging lately since most of everything has been restricted because of COVID. And while not everything is what one might expect, it’s a blessing to go to a wonderful school with such amazing people! If you have any questions or just want to talk about Academy life, definitely reach out to me!!!

MORE INFORMATON ABOUT ISABEL