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An Uphill Battle

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2019) Permanent link   All Posts
Derek Silliman

The day before R-Day legitimately frightened me. Three weeks of summer had flown by and now I would spend the next seven weeks in the toilsome world of Swab Summer. I did not have the easiest time as a swab; in fact, I probably had one of the hardest. As the Academy begins to prepare for the arrival of thee Class of 2020, I hope I can help incoming swabs understand what they need to do to get through the summer. I faced a very tough uphill battle to get into the Coast Guard Academy as I was wait-listed in the Early Action round of applicants in December and did not receive my appointment until May. A big reason for having been wait-listed was because I had not visited the Academy since eighth grade so they had no real way to gauge my interest. By keeping in touch with my Admissions Officer and asking people with connections to the Coast Guard to vouch for me, I eventually received my appointment.

I feel from my Admissions experience that I am in a good position to give advice to new applicants. I think I can also draw now from my time here even though it has only been a few months. I have struggled with the military aspect of being a cadet, but having mostly acted with the best intentions has prompted my superiors to mentor me and help me through a situation rather than punish me. I hope the experiences I am having as a cadet can be used for other incoming cadets to learn from. As a prospective cadet, I was always looking at the blogs to read what people had to say, and I emailed two cadets when I was in high school. I remember emailing Ensign Samuel Krakower when he was a 4/c for advice, and then I emailed 1/c Caroline Miller for advice on getting off the wait-list. Both of them responded to me promptly and that response of being able to interact with other cadets was huge to me.