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cadet blogs

It Only Gets Better

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Roesch Photo I’m lucky enough to live only 3.5 hours away in New Jersey. A train ride is so worth it when we get a long weekend and you need some down time at home. All of fall semester before going on a long, I would lose focus that last block of classes and think only of the short train ride away that separated me from a weekend at home. Seeing my family, sleeping in my own bed, and having home cooked meals was just enough to leave me doodling in calculus and writing packing lists in my head while bussing to class (I suggest neither of the two, FYI!). The train rides home seem to take forever, but I am always so happy to be on my way to Jersey. My parents would pick me up and I would be nothing but smiles. As Sunday morning came, which it always did too fast, it would be time to board the train and head back to New London. This was never an easy task – it was always filled with tears and long hugs, never wanting to say goodbye. “I don’t want to go back!” always seemed to be my famous last words. Boy, have I sure changed from last semester. Just this past weekend (MLK weekend) I spent the first long of the spring semester at home.


I had the same emotions on the train ride down – who isn’t excited to go home? But instead of being tearful and upset getting ready to go back, I only found myself excited to get back “home.” The Academy has become my new home. Whoa, did I just write those words – yeah, I guess I really did. Never would I have dreamed that I would claim Chase Hall to be my new home, but it grows on you (for some, sooner than others). Of course it’s nice to leave, but as of late I find myself being okay with staying here. As I become better at managing time and the hectic schedule 4/c have, my friends and I are able to laugh and have some good times. I also look forward to track practices and meets and being with my team. I even look forward to classes (what?!) because, as I learned over break, I enjoy having lots of things to do. Too much free time can be poisonous! I guess what I’m trying to say is this place grows on you. At first, it seems like you will be stuck in the cadet twilight zone forever, never to graduate and become an Ensign. But semesters pass by faster than you think and before you know it you’re sliding on a new pair of shoulder boards. So here’s a little piece of advice for all the future swabs/fourth class out there: give this place its fair shot. It may seem rough at first, but it is SO worth it in the long run. It only gets better!


More about Allie.


The Gifts We Don’t See

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Lukasik Photo Lately I’ve taken to the practice of conducting this blog in the same way I conduct myself in class (probably as much to our web information director’s dismay as to my instructors’). Generally speaking, I don’t speak much or often unless I have something that I feel is particularly important to say. Perhaps I’m too shy for my own good; perhaps if I were less hesitant, I would “stand out” more. But what I have found is that when I commit myself to holding my tongue (or in this case, my pen, or word-processor) under general circumstances, when I do speak out, people listen much better. I think they understand that if I’m permitting myself to speak out, it’s because I’ve put significant enough time and reflection into a thought that it’s one worthwhile to consider.


And so, for the first time in a few months, I have something to say: we are blessed beyond words.


The magnitude and extent of the opportunities and gifts bestowed upon us here at the Academy is easy to lose track of sometimes, especially in these long winter months of the “Dark Ages,” when we’ve just returned from leave and have to get back to the grind. I must admit, this term I was incredibly apprehensive coming back. With a Directed Study and a Fulbright application in my academic schedule; a number of still-healing stress injuries impeding my athletic performance, with Triathlon Collegiate Nationals fast approaching; new and daunting leadership challenges in several clubs and as a department Master at Arms; and the various other new challenges the new year brings, the semester looked to be a frightful thing. Recalling, both the incredible experiences and triumphs but also the monumental fatigue my classmates and I faced collectively and individually last semester, it’s no wonder that I initially approached this new year with a bit of uncertainty. Is it really worth all this work? I’ve sometimes wondered. When I sometimes lose grip on what “it” is that I’m striving for, I wonder even more…


But yes – in short – “it” is absolutely worth it.


It’s sad that sometimes we forget just how good we have it until we’re exposed to the hardships that we, personally, do not have to face; we forget how fortunate we are, until we see face to face the misfortunes we’re shielded from.

The Gifts We Don’t See (Continued) PDF Icon  


More about Jessie.


A Winter Wonderland

(Just for Fun, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Martin Photo December is the greatest month, yet it must be earned. December is so great because its Christmastime, we get to go home for leave, and it's the end of the semester! Yet in order to get to December, you have to make it through the fall semester and in order to get home for leave, you have to make it through finals (both of which aren’t easy). This past semester was hopefully my toughest semester here with all my 3/c classes along with an extra 18 hours of class a week for EMT certification. I had five finals and they were not a walk in the park. By the time the last one rolled around, my brain just turned off and said good luck! It was a tough semester all around, yet it flew by; I just hope the next semester goes just as fast!


We got a record amount of Christmas leave this year and I was not going to complain! Yet the cheapest way for me to get back to Arizona was to take a train to Boston after my last final, then spend the night in the airport for a 6 a.m. flight. It wasn’t the most comfortable night, but once I got onto the plane the next morning, there was certainly no problem falling asleep on that flight. I got to spend some time with family and friends and do some Christmas decorating for the first part of leave and then I drove with a friend to Salt Lake City to surprise my girlfriend. In order to get the most time in Salt Lake City, we left at midnight in the middle of a huge snow storm in Utah (not our brightest idea). Yet, after 8 hours of driving, we were making great time! I drove all night and as soon as we switched drivers, we found the ice. Within ten minutes of my friend driving, we were spinning in the middle of I-15. After four complete spins, we landed perfectly on the side of the road seconds before a semi flew by honking its horn. After seeing my life flash before my eyes, we made it to Salt Lake City for a great surprise and a great weekend. We went snowboarding up there as well and it was my first time. After tasting more snow than shredding and after being on my back end more than my feet, I think I’m going to try skiing next time…


As soon as we drove 12 hours back home to Arizona, my family and I took off to Los Angeles to spend Christmas with more family. It was also my parents’ anniversary the day after Christmas so my siblings and I threw them a big surprise party, which was a successful surprise and a lot of fun! Then we thought we couldn’t just have one party in California, so as soon as we got back to Arizona, we had another surprise party on New Year’s Eve.


I would like to say my leave was all fun and games, but I had to spoil the fun sometime. I had my wisdom teeth out three days before returning to the Academy which was so much fun… After telling people about my future appointment, I got to hear every horror story about getting wisdom teeth surgery so I was just thrilled and excited to let the fun begin. It turned out to be not too bad, only one dry socket and an infection. So needless to say, coming back to the Academy was worse than normal with a mouthful of gauze and a stomach full of meds.


It was a very relaxing (except for the spins on I-15) and fun (except for the wisdom teeth) leave that will keep me motivated throughout the next semester. Whenever cadets get to go home, it’s nice to see old friends, but it’s amazing what else you see. Nothing has changed! Most friends are doing the same things they were doing in high school and for the most part, cadets have grown and changed so much from what they were in high school that it is hard to relate. We get to see how well this place has prepared us for life compared to other options, and going home makes me realize how thankful I ought to be to get this opportunity and to get all that I can from it.


I think my leave was so good because I couldn’t find out my semester’s grades until I got back to the Academy! Yet, we have to return to reality some time. The tub of ice cream and chick flicks got me through seeing my grades with a little less emotional damage.


More about Matt.


New Year, New Opportunities

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Wu Photo January 2013 marks yet another new year and being back at the Academy is both overwhelming yet very exciting. We are nearly done with our first week of classes and hopefully getting back into the flow of the academic year, however upon return, I realized that the summer is not far and for the class of 2015 that means cadre summer is within months! It is so strange to think that just a year and a half ago, we were swabs going through the initiation process of the Academy and becoming 4/c amongst the corps of cadets and now as the spring semester begins so do all the applications for our summer assignments and other opportunities that open up during 2/c year. I am so excited to put in my requests and see what role I will be playing this upcoming summer. I am looking forward to welcoming the class of 2017 and to also go through this unique leadership experience. I hope this semester flies by like the fall semester since for the class of 2015, we are looking at being able to wear civilian clothes again, leading the class of 2017, and possibly going on exchange to different service academies for a semester. There is a lot to look forward to, but there is still a whole academic semester standing in the way. I hope I can get my preference for the summer and also be accepted to the exchange program, but as for right now all I can do is wait, study hard in my classes, and help the class of 2016 learn everything they need to know for their Boards Indoctrination.


Wish everyone the best of luck with another academic semester, and for prospective cadets waiting to hear back from the Academy, I hope I get to see your faces on July 1st!


More about Ellie.