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cadet blogs

Surprisingly Excited to Get Back to the Old Grind

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Carani Photo All things must come to an end, and winter leave is no exception. Although it is always hard to say goodbye to good friends, delicious food, and great family, as I look back on all that I did over my winter leave, I can return to the Academy with a smile on my face. I was blessed to be able to enjoy the longest winter break that the U.S. Coast Guard Academy has ever had, thanks to the way that the school year scheduling worked out, and because of the way that Christmas Day and New Year’s Day fell (so I’m sorry, but any prospective cadets reading this, don’t expect a 3 ½ week break…). Breaks at home always fly by, and when I return to the Academy, it always feels like I never left. However, reflecting upon everything that I did at home over the break, I can definitely say that I took advantage of my time away. I was able to do a lot of cooking, baking, working out, and I even went ice skating for the first time ever! I also attended several of my younger brother’s high school basketball games, which was definitely one of the highlights of being home. In addition to all of that, I was also able to spend some quality time with my other older brother, my parents, friends from high school, all of my cousins, aunts, and uncles (and there’s a lot of them!), and most importantly my girlfriend and her family! Living a mere hour away from Chicago, I went downtown on three separate occasions and enjoyed the beautiful lights and snow, and got some delicious food! Definitely another one of the highlights!


All in all, I am happy that I can reflect upon such an action-packed winter break, and come back recharged and ready for the next semester! I am so thankful for such a supportive family that helped to make my break so memorable and special!


And as I look to the next semester, I am surprisingly excited for all that it holds. I was fortunate enough to be selected to represent the Coast Guard Academy and attend the Presidential Inauguration over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, so I am very much looking forward to that! In addition, the spring rowing season is always a lot of fun, and we take a spring break training trip to Florida, which will be a blast! And even though I had to pay $1,542.91 for books, I am really looking forward to using them and getting started with all of my classes this upcoming week! It’s going to be a great semester!


More about Luke.


Coming Back After Break

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Hirst Photo While I couldn’t wait for Christmas leave, in the back of my mind I was dreading coming back. Christmas break was wonderful—it was more than three weeks of complete freedom. I was able to spend time with friends and not worry about anything. Many people told me I wouldn’t be able to relate to my friends back home but that was not true at all. Coming back, however, was very difficult. Stepping into Chase Hall was an extremely weird feeling. It was the first time squaring, greeting, and maintaining brace for almost a month. It’s tough being back, but I know the next few months of fourth class year will go by quickly just like the first semester. In the end, this place is definitely worth everything you have to put up with. While some days may not be the best, there is absolutely nowhere else I’d rather be.


Good luck to all those applying as you make the biggest decision yet! Feel free to email any questions! 


More about Townshend.


So…Who’s Excited to be Back?!

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo ME!!! Kinda. Okay, not really, but you know what—in the Coast Guard, as in real life, you deal with it and move on. It’s tough love, but sometimes you need it. Anyway, the Academy is dishing out some tough love to make up for a nice long break away.


Christmas break was a great chance to slow down, read a few books, catch up with friends and family, and enjoy life. I really needed it too. Despite popular belief (aka mine), you cannot operate at 110% output for 100% of the time, and expect to have 100% operational ability. So I was rather stressed and burnt out by the end of last semester. But I used Christmas break to slow down—sleep a bit, finish some good books, and eat lots of Christmas cookies. I realize now that I need to temper my expectations; therefore I will try to be more relaxed this semester. Anyway, enough about New Year’s resolutions… I spent most of my time eating peppermint bark, talking to my sister and parents, and watching “Downton Abbey” in our cozy playroom. Then, right after Christmas, we went to Corpus Christi, Texas, to visit the USS Lexington and the Texas State Aquarium. Both were fun—I think that the dolphins at the aquarium trained the trainers, instead of the other way around. Then I went to Orlando for the FOCUS SEEK 2013 conference. There, I reignited my Catholic faith and found an intellectual basis for what I believe. I must say, it’s hard to believe around here sometimes. Anyway, lots of fun…


Now I’m back, for better or worse. And I’m missing the season premiere of “Downton Abbey!” NOOOOOO! I love that show—I highly recommend it. Anyway, tomorrow it will not be my birthday anymore, and we will be back in the swing of things here.


Email me at if you need someone to talk to about the Academy in the New Year!


More about Peter.


2012: A Year to Remember

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Ellis Photo WELCOME BACK! I just got back to the Academy today after a too-short winter break. The past three and a half weeks went by so quickly. Honestly, now that I’m back, it’s really hard to remember that I just spent three weeks at home. I had a lot of fun, I spent time with my family, made Christmas cookies, went to the All Academies Ball, and celebrated the end of an amazing 2012 and the start of 2013.


As I reflect back on 2012, I think about all the amazing things I’ve done. I was accepted to the Academy, I graduated high school, completed Swab Summer, climbed to the top of the mast on USCGC Eagle, and finished my first semester at USCGA. 2012 will be a year to remember for me. But now I’m looking forward to getting back to business in my second semester here at the Academy. I’m looking forward to starting school and beginning to earn back some privileges and finally get on our way to becoming 3rd class! But for that – the class of 2016 has a battle ahead of them.


We have to continue doing our 4/c things, doing well in school, and now, studying for boards. Boards are an indoctrination exam that all 4/c must take beginning in March. We must study about 40 pages of information, of which anything could be asked of us. Once we pass this, we are on our way to becoming 3/c!


I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with family and friends. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to email me at!


More about Kayla.