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cadet blogs

Giving Thanks for Friends

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo As Thanksgiving Leave approaches, it is the perfect time to reflect on what we are thankful for. The other day, I was asked to say the thing I was most thankful for this year. There were many things I could have answered. I could have said that I am thankful for the opportunities I’ve had this past year including sailing to the Caribbean and working in the Coast Guard fleet for six weeks, or for having job security and no college debt in the future, or for being able to earn good grades this semester, or for the endless support from my family, or for everything I’ve learned this past year. The list goes on because there is so much to be thankful for each and every day. Right now, though, I am most thankful for the new friends I’ve made at the Academy.


It amazes me how close I have become with people I’ve known for just over a year. I feel like I’ve known my three best Academy friends for my entire life. I could trust them with anything. Maybe it comes with living in the same building and happens at every college, but I think it’s a little different here. At the Academy, cadets all face the same challenges that people our age normally don’t have to face. It’s the things like not having cars and having specific liberty hours that give us a different kind of bond. Instead of being designated drivers for each other, we walk around aimlessly together, visit each other’s rooms, and ride the liberty bus together. Like other college students, we’ve helped each other through our worst times, but unlike normal college students, by worst, I don’t mean drunk and out of control. I mean stressed out, struggling to stay awake at a 7 a.m. training after a long night of homework and only 30 minutes of sleep.


The challenges the Academy provides us strengthen our friendships the way no other school can. My friends here are the only ones who completely understand what I’m going through, and sometimes, they are the only ones I can go to because of that. No matter how many stories I tell my family and friends from home, I know they will never comprehend my new lifestyle the way my friends here can. This new network of support not only gets me through every challenge here, but it makes it so much more fun. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all the laughs, memories, and support that my friends have given me this past year and for being able to grow and learn through this Academy life together.


More about Sarah.