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From AIMster to AIM Cadre

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Bruna Pavan

When I attended AIM in 2013, I found the six-day experience to be eye-opening and challenging. I was not very familiar with the function of service academies at the time so I was not sure what to expect, but surely I was not let down. Naturally, after leaving the Academy and heading home, I was left with more questions than answers in regard to what type of college experience would be a fit for me. Nonetheless, I departed with a sense of pride in myself and a newfound respect for the members of the United States Coast Guard.

Returning to the AIM program a second time around as cadre was another enlightening experience, and not because I wasn’t the one lost this time. After two years at this institution, I realized that this would be the first interaction many of the high school students would have with Coast Guard members. I had upheld high expectations for myself and my fellow cadre to ensure the prospective cadets who have been placed in my care have a basic and fair understanding of both the academic and physical rigors cadets face here. Also, as my own AIM cadre instilled in me, the necessary values and character traits demanded of cadets and Coast Guard officers: honor, respect, and devotion to duty. One of my favorite parts of the program was being able to share the wealth of traditions, opportunities, and experiences that we have here at the CGA; this, along with teaching the AIMsters about notable Coast Guard heroes, renewed my sense of pride in service as both a cadet and an American. I enjoyed being able to test my leadership abilities and challenge the AIMsters because the most rewarding part of my role as cadre was to see them progress from individuals to a well-functioning group, overcoming struggles and using teamwork, all in only six days.

In addition to leading AIMsters, I learned so much about leading and working alongside my peers. The group of AIM cadre from Whiskey 1 platoon (all of us are in Alfa Company during the school year) are absolutely fabulous people whom I have grown so much closer with after struggling and triumphing together as a unit for three weeks. Learning about their experiences during their time here at the Academy was humbling, and made me even more grateful to be able to be surrounded by such great people every day.

As I’ve told my own AIMsters, if you do not get accepted into CGA your first (or second, or third) time applying, do not be discouraged. If you truly believe this is where you belong, do not ever give up and keep working toward it. I promise you will be so glad you did.