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On Taking Advice from Strange Cadets on the Internet

(Choosing the Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link   All Posts
Delaney Swift

Cadet blogs were my first experiences with the CGA, really. I can remember, before I had even decided to come to the Academy, my mom and I would read the cadet blogs. We had discovered the blogs, sitting innocuously on the left side of the CGA webpage, innocently enough. There was a picture of a smiling cadet and an intriguing tagline. It drew us in. Those cadets became the face of the Academy. When the pressure to decide on a college got pretty intense, I tried very hard to stick my head in the sand, and any conversation between my mom and I went about like this:

Mom: “So, where are you going to college?”

Me: “I don’t know. I think I’m joining the circus. Leave me to my existential dread.”

Mom: “You should read this cadet blog…and maybe go for a run.”


In a way, I think my life was pretty influenced by those blogs – and the advice of the bloggers. Swab Summer would’ve been vastly different had I not known what little I did about the Academy. This place pretty much runs on cadet advice, firstie to fourth class and all in between. More than anything though, the blogs gave my family and I the peace of mind that we needed; these were living, breathing cadets who lived and breathed their way through Swab Summer and turned out just fine.

Though my summer was rough, and switching from “swab mode” to “student mode” is confusing for most all fourth class, the advice of people who’ve been in our shoes gets us through. From tips and tricks on how to wear the uniform, to how to avoid getting in major trouble, upper class cadets run the show and run it well. They look out for us, and look out for each other, too. I know parents always told us not to listen to strangers on the internet (and that was actually excellent advice), but I’m glad that I did in the case of cadet blogs. It’s strange to think that I was taking cadets’ advice long before I ever met them – before I could’ve ever imagined that I would be living a few doors down from them – before I considered them siblings.

I wholeheartedly believe that the Corps of Cadets is a family. Sure, siblings squabble, but I have seen them come together and it’s a powerful force. Cadets can do anything when they put their heart into it, whether that be finding harmless loopholes in the wardroom rules or getting a struggling fourth class through a tough academic semester. Remarkably, their kindness isn’t reserved just for cadets – it extends to CGA families, to potential cadets, and to anyone they meet. We’re the Coast Guard, a family who makes it their mission to help where they’re needed most. Blogging might be the one small way in which I can lend a hand, like the advice prior blogs helped me. Even if I am just a cadet on the internet.

P.S. You can trust me. I’ve had a background check!