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cadet blogs

Nothing Can Stop You

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Daniels Photo Greetings again to all who may be reading this.


Winter leave has wrapped up and everyone (except those unfortunate to be waiting for flights due to the weather) has returned to the Academy. I must admit that as much as I enjoy Academy life, being home and able to see my family and friends for a couple of weeks was very nice. The routine is beginning to sink in again, even in the two days that I’ve been back. Our Boards, a ten-question verbal exam on everything from cutter dimensions to traditional phrases, begin in about a month. This is our class’s opportunity to earn carry-on, which includes not bracing up everywhere we go and would make college life a little bit easier on all of us.


About three months ago, I read a story about a boy who was diagnosed with the same blood condition that I was whose dream was to become a helicopter pilot in the Coast Guard. After going through several channels, I finally managed to get in contact with him! I am unbelievably excited and I am trying to arrange a day or two for him to spend at the Academy and see what cadet life is like. This is almost exactly like my situation, so I would like to show that if you want something badly enough, then there is nothing that can stop you.


I’m looking forward to playing some intercompany sports this spring, as well as perform with the Conn College band for a couple more concerts, and whatever else may happen this semester.


Until next month!



More about Drew.



(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Capuzzi Photo While most of you reading this post are confused by the title, anyone intimately familiar with the Academy would understand it straightway. It is the breakdown of the Military Precedence Average, or MPA. The MPA is the number that determines class rank at the Academy, which ultimately leads to where you will spend the first two years of your career as a Coast Guard officer. 70% of the MPA comes from the academic portion of the Academy, aka your GPA. 25% is based upon your military performance as documented in your Cadet Evaluation Reports. The final 5% stems from physical fitness scores at the beginning of each term.


The best way for me to describe the fall 2013 semester was a war between the 70% and the 25%. On the academic side, I am a Naval Architecture/Marine Engineering (NAME) major. Up until this semester, my classroom time had been spent learning the key principles of engineering and taking classes such as Statics, Dynamics, Mechanics of Materials, Materials Science, Fluid Mechanics, and Thermodynamics. Well, nearly all of those fundamental engineering classes disappeared this semester, which, if you didn’t know any better, sounds fantastic. But what replaced them was even scarier: design classes. The NAME firsties were all divided into design groups at the beginning of the year and assigned capstone design projects, the manifestation of all we had learned (or where supposed to have learned).


BMy group was assigned to design a containership to carry containerized cargo from Shanghai to New York via the soon to be expanded Panama Canal. It’s a really awesome project, but it’s very heavily involved. The first part of the semester consisted of researching containerships, designing a hull, and ensuring stability and survivability. The second part was spent filling that hull with living quarters, engineering spaces, cargo holds, and tanks, ensuring everything could fit and the ship would float. At the same time in a tandem design class, we were selecting, fitting, and integrating a propulsion system into the vessel. Both of these classes involved countless hours of calculations and important choices, and each class had a weekly paper due to summarize steps of the design process. On top of that, we had the rest of our classes. Needless to say, many long hours were spent in McAllister Hall.


On the military side of the house, somebody decided it would be a good idea to make me a company commander, responsible for running one of the eight companies that make up the Corps of Cadets. I was responsible for the transportation and public affairs of the corps, the material condition of the company wing area, the military performance of personnel in the company, leading the company for events like drill and inspection, and keeping the chain of command informed about the company. It was no small task. Fortunately, I was surrounded by great people, both up and down the chain of command, and they provided me all the support I needed to get the job done.


It was a tough semester, and there were definitely some low points. I earned some low grades on papers. I was chewed out for not running the company properly. But for every bad moment, there were at least ten great moments. Our containership design impressed the president of a major shipbuilding company. The company achieved the best scores in a uniform inspection. And throughout the semester, I learned a lot. Whether it was about containerships or leadership, it just goes to prove that the 70-25-5 formula is the ideal recipe for producing the future leaders of the United States Coast Guard.



More about Nick.


Almost There…

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Mayer Photo …to the end first semester, to my 19th birthday, to Christmas Break. I have one final left; it’s tomorrow and I already studied for it and am very confident I will do very well.


So, looking back at my first semester I can honestly say I often tried too hard and also didn’t try hard enough. I often over-thought things and would stress myself out when trying too hard, and later in the semester just stopped trying quite often which had the same effect, but with a bit less stress. My advice: don’t stress over things but do your best. Don’t be scared, this first year is the year to make mistakes and learn from them. Everyone is very nice and wants to help. Even your cadre, they seem mean and I am still intimidated by many upper-class, but no one should be. Respect them of course, but don’t fear them, they are only a little older than you, and some are the same age and occasionally younger. Initially I wasn’t very social, so I encourage everyone to be, to get to know your classmates within your company and in other companies. Alone time is good, too. Make sure you have some ways you can easily let go and de-stress, I can promise you there will be times you need to be able to relax and won’t have much time. The first year is all gen ed classes, so you may hate them all. I hope you know that ahead of time and can do your best to learn from them, even if you hate that class. If it isn’t for your GPA, or for even learning’s sake, enjoy classes somehow for your sake and everyone else’s so that you aren’t upset and moody all day because of what everyone has to do. Instead find one or two classes you do like and you can at the very least look forward to those and help others, too.


Oh, and you should learn to play an instrument. Band is great. Windjammers is fun, can be irritating, tiring and boring at times, but the trips made it worth it for me. Plus I learned a new instrument. You don’t need to know how to play, just please, if you enjoy music, join. But, if you don’t know, come to a practice to see if you might like it. If you know you’d hate it and would be grumpy the whole time you were participating, don’t join because the point of a sport is to have fun, and yes Windjammers is a sport. There is also Concert Band and Jazz Band when Windjammers ends and that is even better in my opinion because everyone, EVERYONE, wants to be there and it’s completely voluntary.


Almost There... (Continued)