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cadet blogs

October: Month of Madness

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Simon Photo Midterms! Crew! Parents’ Weekend! Oh my! My apologies for the lame Wizard of Oz reference, shipmates. Nonetheless, this allusion accurately sums up October for me here at the Academy.


First, let me just say that there is something about autumn in New England that is just so incredible. The trees and foliage are the most amazing shades of red and orange. I had the opportunity to visit a local cider mill and corn maze earlier this month—quintessential New England!


With October coming to a close, it’s strange to think that we are closer to the end of the semester than the beginning. Midterms were earlier this month, and let’s just say that it was a week of stress, studying, and test after test. Despite all of the pressure that led up to midterms and the subsequent pressure that is associated with that week, I am pleased to say that all of my studying paid off, as I did well on my midterm exams.


Parents’ Weekend was the first weekend of October, and it was great to see my parents, grandparents, and my best friend, Naomi. I had a crew regatta on Parents’ Weekend in Shelton, Connecticut. While my family missed watching the regimental review on Saturday morning, they were ecstatic to watch the men and women of the oar take on some tough competition on the Housatonic River. I was the coxswain for two races that weekend—once in the Women’s V4+ and the Women’s V8+. We raced well, and it was great for all of our families and friends to see just how much work we had put in since starting the season when we came back from leave in August. Being from the desert, my family had never seen a crew regatta, and they had a great time! I was so fortunate that they could be here to watch us race.


We also had our final regatta of the season, Head of the Charles, in Boston, Massachusetts at the end of October. This regatta is one of the largest races in the world. More than 9,000 athletes and 1,900 boats from all over the world come to Boston to compete on the Charles River. It was a huge honor to be able to represent USCGA. We raced three boats (the women raced a 4 and an 8, and the men raced a 4). The men’s team came in 8th place out of 46 boats in their race! Definitely an amazing feat!


With November on the horizon, I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving and spending time with my family. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me at!


More about Lili.


The Light is Getting Brighter!

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Bilodeau Photo This semester is very tough. If I am not doing homework then I am at volleyball or taking care of military obligations. I have at least one quiz or a test nearly every day. The middle of the semester seemed to drag on, but it is picking back up. Before midterms I was questioning my purpose at the Academy. Since then, I am a lot more optimistic and I am able to see more into the future. I talked with my academic advisor, who is a lieutenant that graduated from the Academy, and she really helped me gain a perspective and appreciate this opportunity. I try to remember to think about the real world everyday and appreciate the little things.


I saw my parents three weekends in a row in October. They came down for Parents’ Weekend, then we had a volleyball tournament at Bowdoin College in Maine, and the following weekend I was granted the privilege to attend my cousins wedding. It was wonderful seeing my family and spending time with my sister who I hadn’t seen in ten months.


The light at the end of the tunnel is becoming brighter. I can see the end of the semester on the horizon. November always seems to fly by, then after Thanksgiving there is only a week and a half until finals. This week is Aviation Week, which is very exciting because I have a strong desire to go to flight school. Tonight there is an “Ops Spotlight” where I get to learn about the life of an aviator. Thinking about the limitless possibilities for the future is one of the things that make the Academy worthwhile.


More about Christina.


Easily the Best Weekend Ever!

(Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo Last weekend was the 48th Head of the Charles (, the world’s largest two-day crew regatta. The men’s team had a four (a smaller boat consisting of four rowers and a cox’n) competing.


First, a little about the race. The Head of the Charles, in Boston, Massachusetts, is easily the championship regatta of the fall season. It is 5K in length, and the course twists its way through six bridges and several major turns. Many people call it the “ultimate coxswain’s race,” and having raced last weekend, I can easily understand why. The bridges make the race more complex: your boat is going full pressure under a span barely wide enough to fit two boats yet other cox’ns try to fit three boats there, and two of the bridges have particularly hairy turns. The Weeks Footbridge turn requires you to set up early and turn about fifty degrees in the space of ten strokes. But even more intimidating is the Eliot turn. Leading up to the Eliot Bridge, in the final mile of the course, is a long, 180-degree turn followed by a hard starboard turn under the Eliot. Many crews have rowed well on this course, but some crews (like the U.S. National team this year) suffer spectacular crashes with either abutments or other boats. I spent the entire week before preparing for the race by reviewing the map, memorizing turns, and fretting about every little thing that could possibly go wrong.


We left on Friday morning and arrived at the course early that afternoon. Because men’s crew doesn’t have any decent four-person shells, our coach, Junior National coach Steve Hargis, borrowed a boat from a club in Pittsburgh. (He’s an amazing man—literally a legend! Everyone in the rowing world seems to know him.) After finding our boat and rigging it, we did a walk-through of the race. The team laughs because I was really nervous—I was hollering at other boats and calling the warm-up like a race because I was so nervous. The team dinner that night was hysterical. Coach Hargis had so many great stories about his days rowing—and coaching—at CGA. (He’s a 1980 alumnus.) Even better was the ten hours of sleep on a soft bed!


Easily the Best Weekend Ever! (Continued) PDF Icon 


More about Peter.