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cadet blogs

Getting Back in the Groove

(Academics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Min Photo Coming back to the cold is never an easy thing, but the light at the end of the tunnel grows ever clearer as I move into the second semester of my 3/c year. One of the many things we have to look forward to is our summer orientation. The cadre experience; where we are tasked with the role of leading. In 2010, I took the oath as I entered into the Coast Guard Scholars Program, which I feel developed and further instilled morals and values into me. When I first got accepted into the program I had never heard of it and was disappointed that I did not get an appointment straight into the Academy, but over the past two and a half years, I have realized how vital the program was to my success.


Now, that the time approaches for choosing our summer positions, I am requesting to be a member of the cadre assigned to train the scholars. The CGAS program helped me grow up more than I would have anywhere else and I am hopeful I will have the opportunity to fill the large shoes of my cadre this coming summer.


More about Alex.


Upon Return from an Awesome Break

(Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo The end of last semester came up so fast. It’s been a while since my last post, but finals and diving took priority. I had a great first semester of my third class year. Starting the second semester makes me realize how fast time is going by. The corps just got back and everyone’s morale is high. It’s great to hear about all of my friends’ winter leave experiences and what they did. I had an amazing time over leave and did not get bored one day.


My break started with a seven-hour road trip to visit one of my best friends from the Academy in Georgia. We went out on the boat, hung out in downtown Savannah, and made Christmas cookies. I am so glad I was able to visit and had an awesome time. We then drove together to Orlando, Florida to meet up with two of our other friends from the Academy to go to Busch Gardens in Tampa. When I got back home I had about a week to visit with my old high school friends and family. That week seemed to fly by, but I got to go to the beach and catch up with friends. I also had a wonderful Christmas with my family. It’s weird to think that these might be the last couple of Christmases when my family will all be together. The last week of my leave was spent with the swimming and diving team in Sarasota, Florida for a training trip. I had so much fun and I’m so glad I went. We worked out a lot and dove a lot, but we also got to soak up some sun on the beach, which was really relaxing.


Break came and went so fast, but I enjoyed every minute and I’m ready to get back into the swing of things. We all switch roommates and rooms every semester and I’m so excited for this semester. I’m rooming with one of my best friends and I know we are going to have a lot of fun living together. With schedules out and books issued it’s getting closer and closer to the first day of spring semester. As much as I am excited, I am very nervous for this upcoming semester. I finished last semester strong, but this semester will probably be my hardest semester at the Academy because I am taking mostly technical classes, which will be challenging but doable.


Diving is going great. I had back issues earlier this season, which took me out of competing for a couple of months. It was frustrating being able to participate in the sport I love, but my back is all healed and I’m back on the boards. We had two meets this week and both went relatively well. I am just so happy to be competing again with the team and being able to help earn points for the meet.


Hope everyone had a great winter break and is starting off strong in their second semester! For you seniors, have fun this semester and make amazing memories. Don’t get senioritis too badly!


More about Sara.


My LASIK Experience

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Keith Photo Ahoy Shipmates!


As many of you know from previous blogs, my dream is to become a Coast Guard Aviator. I want to go to Flight Training directly after graduating rather than reporting to a ship first for a couple years, which meant that I needed to get eye surgery since I wasn’t blessed with perfect vision. Below is a log of sorts that I’ve kept over the months of my journey with eye surgery. However, the first thing that I will tell all of you is this: Do NOT try to get eye surgery before applying to the Academy. Most of you (high school aged) are too young to get this type of surgery, and it will not go over well with medical when applying to the Academy.


June 2012: While home on summer leave I went and visited the IU School of Optometry to see if my eyes were able to be corrected by either LASIK or PRK. I was worried that I wouldn’t make the cut, but it turned out that my eyes were thick enough to have either surgery done, and that my prescription was correctable. Breathed a sigh of relief.


December 17: My second pre-op exam, this time with the people who would be performing the eye surgery (The Laser Center or TLC). I really lucked out because the IU School of Optometry has a special deal with TLC in that they will cut the cost of the surgery in half as long as I agree to have some post-op care done at IU so that their optometry students can learn about the process and gain experience. If this deal hadn’t existed (and if I wasn’t able to take out a small loan from Navy Federal), I wouldn’t have been able to afford the surgery. TLC wanted to see if my eyesight had stabilized and stayed the same from June. In order to get the procedure, you have to show that your eyes have leveled out and aren’t still changing. During this appointment it was also decided that LASIK would be the better surgery, which I was happy about because it has a faster recovery time than PRK, which is more painful during post-op recovery.


December 21st: The day that the Maya thought the world was going to end. While they were wrong in a post-apocolyptic sense, this was the end of a world for me; a world where I would have to wear glasses or contacts. I showed up at TLC around 1030 that day, and they checked my vision one more time before they gave me some Valium to relax me. I took off my eyeglasses for the last time and handed them to the nurse. She then put a bunch of numbing and antibacterial eye drops in my eyes while having me sit in an easy chair. I sat there for around 30 minutes to let the effects of the Valium settle in, and was radiating both nervousness and excitement. I was nervous because I was about to have my eyes cut open, but excited because this would be the end of glasses since kindergarten and the beginning to the road to getting into flight school. Eventually, I was asked to stand up and walk into the operating room. They laid me down on an operating chair, handed me a stuffed puppy, and told me to close one eye and open the other. The surgeon asked me my name and what surgery I was getting to confirm that I knew what was about to happen. He then proceeded to clamp my eyelids open and put the suction ring on my right eye, where my vision grayed out, which was the scariest part. It’s supposed to happen though. A few seconds later, the flap had been cut by a laser and another laser started to correct my vision. I could smell my eye burning, which was funny. Then the flap for the eye was sealed and the left eye was operated on. The procedure took less than 5 minutes. Afterwards, the doctors checked that both flaps had sealed correctly and told me to close my eyes on the car ride home and take a nap immediately upon returning home. I wore sunglasses the rest of the day because my eyes were super sensitive to light.


December 22: My first post-op appointment, this time still with TLC because the IU clinic wasn’t open for a weather reason. My eyes felt a lot better than the day before too. The doctors checked my vision, and I had 20/20 in my right eye! My left eye was 20/60, but I had been told before that it would take longer for my left eye to be fully corrected. I left feeling pretty ecstatic about these improvements.


December 26: Second post-op exam. I was told that my eyes were improving, and that I could stop taking some of the steroid eye drops that I had been given. Right eye was now seeing 20/15!!! Left eye had improved to 20/40 uncorrected, 20/20 corrected. Left the IU clinic feeling extremely happy.


Now I have my 30 day post-op appointment coming up soon, and I’m excited to see how much more my left has improved. I’ll go back to the IU clinic over my leave periods so that they can observe my eyes again as well. This surgery has easily been one of the best investments I’ve ever made, and I feel like finally have a shot at my dreams of flight.


Want to ask me more about eye surgery while one is a cadet, or flight school? Feel free to email at


More about Jordan.


A Coastie Abroad

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2013) Permanent link
Nolan Photo Every once in a great while now I find myself writing a blog entry; it doesn’t happen as frequently as it once did, and perhaps this is for the best. The purpose of these blogs are supposed to be to inspire applicants to take a good hard look at the Academy itself and what they are signing up for. At this point in my cadet career, I am more than four years distant from where those applicants are. A lot has changed in four years, and while I try and keep a hand involved with Admissions especially via, I feel as though it is somehow right that I am letting the younger cadets write more, rather than inundating the site with my writings. I feel at this point in my cadet career, as I approach my last semester, that I may also have become a tad jaded and so it is only fitting that my blog this time concerns little to do with the Academy itself, but rather with the fun things that you have a chance to do while on leave.


This year, like last, I traveled over 28 hours home to visit my family stationed in Okinawa, Japan. The flight was long as usual but I was more than happy to get home, kick back, relax and enjoy some family time. I spent my first few days touring the island, making my family do all the touristy stuff that nobody does when they live there: we went scuba diving, visited the aquarium on the northern end of the Island, went beach combing, swimming and just hung out. This year was a mirror of last year, with one small exception: this year my family decided to take a vacation during my leave… to Australia. Six days into my time at home my family packed up four suitcases and headed down to the airport, boarded a plane with 13 other Americans going on the tour and flew to Sydney, Australia via Taipei, Taiwan. I spent five amazing days in Sydney, including Christmas Day and Boxing Day. I walked around the Opera House, toured the Rocks and Quay, hiked in the blue mountains and explored as many nooks and crannies of downtown Sydney that I could. During this time I even got a chance to pet a koala! It was an adventure and a half.


Following those days in Sydney, I had the opportunity to spend some time up north in Brisbane, Australia. I traveled to the Steve Irwin Australia Zoo and saw some of the Australian rain forest. It was a nice end to my time in the Southern Hemisphere and on the 30th of December, I flew back to Okinawa Japan to end my time at home and my leave.


The Academy is fine, but what really makes this four years great is the things you do on leave. With the little time you have away, it’s important to always remember to make that time special and memorable, and there’s no better way to do that than to explore the world with your family.


More about Stephen.


Back to My Roots

(Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Wu Photo We were so fortunate to have a longer winter leave this year. The extra days allowed me to go back to Taiwan with my mom and enjoy a week and a half there before spending some time at home and then eventually coming back to the Academy. I was so relieved to be done with finals and excited to see all my relatives since the last time I had an opportunity to visit them was back in 2005!


It took a 13-hour direct flight to get from New York to Taiwan and once we landed, my mom and I got our luggage and headed over to my aunt’s house to surprise her! Neither my mom’s side nor my dad’s side of the family knew that I was coming back this winter break. To them nothing seemed out of the ordinary since my parents travel back to Taiwan annually. It was so nice to see the smiles on my relatives’ faces and the shock that I put them in by not telling them my winter plans earlier. All of my aunts, uncles, my two grandmothers, and grandfather still look the same, however my cousins have grown so much since the last time I was in Taiwan. It was amazing to think back and remember the time my cousins and I would fight over who was taller. Now that two of my boy cousins have gone through their growth spurt, I am left tilting my head back in order to look at them while we caught up.


Aside from getting to see all my relatives again, I loved spending time with my mom. Being at the Academy and away from home really makes me miss my family and the trip to Taiwan gave me time to spend with my mom, walking down memory lane and listening to all her childhood stories. I got to learn so much more about her and really appreciate having parents like my mom and dad. This trip also showed me where my parents got some of their traits; it was so interesting to see my grandparents, aunts, and uncle act in similar manners as my parents!


I realized that being at the Academy can be a little rough at times and amongst the uniforms and military lifestyle, you can really start to lose yourself. Ever since I have been here, my Mandarin has gotten worse, which is natural since I do not get to be around my parents, and speak to them on a daily basis. The trip to Taiwan could not have come at a better time since I got to really learn more about not only my mom and my relatives but about myself. I became fluent in Mandarin again when I went back and I got to spend time with my family, learning from my elders about Taiwan and about being Taiwanese American.


More about Ellie.