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cadet blogs

Big Decisions

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Wright Photo Hi everyone.

 

I know that the Class of 2019 application is open, so there are probably a lot you wondering whether or not you want to attend the Academy. My first piece of advice in making that decision is to visit. There are ton of different ways to do this: Cadet for a Day, Open Houses, Genesis Council, etc…

 

When I came for an Open House I was interested in the Academy. As we drove away I literally asked my parents to leave me here (they refused). This may sound crazy but it could happen to you. The visit gave me a taste of the amazing camaraderie, activities, and academics that go on here. My second piece of advice is visiting. Visiting can really make or break the deal. My third piece of advice is to visit. I’m sure someone has told you this before but it really is worth it. This place isn’t for everyone and you want to come for the right reasons. My fourth piece of advice is to write down all of the reasons you want to come and then write down all of the things you are unsure of or worried about. Then talk the lists over with someone you trust and respect. If you are still unsure about certain aspects of life here feel free to email me or any other blogger. We will try to answer your questions as best we can.

 

I will leave you with a few of the reasons I love this place. The biggest one is the opportunity to serve a higher calling than myself. The people are amazing; you will come out of Swab Summer with thirty new brothers and sisters. I love the challenge of this place and opportunities it brings. The academics are tough but you learn a lot more than you realize. There are tons of great clubs and activities. I’m getting paid to go to college. I don’t have to worry about finances or insurance. And at the end of four short years I will be an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard with a guaranteed job.

 

More about Erin.

 

Time Moves Faster Now

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Williamson Photo Hi everybody! I’ll start off by saying that my email is Cody.L.Williamson@uscga.edu, and anyone can contact me if you have questions.

 

So the month of September as has come and gone and I’ve been in school for the same amount of time as Swab Summer. Comparing the two, time moves much faster now. The days themselves feel long, but all of a sudden it’s Friday and you ask yourself were the week went. My classes are going well; I have pretty much found my groove. Homework is the biggest issue when it comes to time and stress. The classes themselves are not bad, but at the end of the day when all I want to do is sleep is when this place feels harder than your average college. Having all my classmates around and seeing them going through the same struggles helps me stay motivated. An old retired Coast Guard veteran once said something that stuck with me through the admission process, Swab Summer, and now: If the guy next to your is doing it, and thousands of guys before you did it, then you sure can do it; you are strong enough to finish, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

 

Right now I am in the middle of the sailing season. I have never sailed before, and the first time I set foot on a sail boat was Swab Summer. However, in a few short months I have pretty much learned all the basics to sailing a boat. My position in the past few races has been skipper, which means I steer and make a lot of the tactical decisions. It is pretty cool to think that am now able take out a sail boat and feel comfortable sailing when I didn’t even know one thing about sailing three months ago; its things like that that make the Academy such an amazing place. Here, you are open to so many new things, and so many talented people. This combination gives you to opportunity to learn a whole array of new skills, as long as you are willing to put in the work.

 

Currently, as the winter sports season approaches, I am still unsure if I should do winter track or just take the winter off and do Ski Club and try out some other clubs. I want to do well in track in the outdoor season, but doing three seasons of sports on top of all the military and academic obligations might get hard to manage. I still have to figure that one out…oh well. That’s all for now, stay happy and motivated!

 

More about Cody.

 

Study Groups and Spinning Some Cotton Candy

(Academics, Just for Fun, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Richter Photo September marked the Class of 2018’s first full academic month here at the Academy, and for me it absolutely flew by. As I’ve heard said, the days here are never-ending (and yet still not long enough) but the weeks are short. Academically, it’s safe to say that I’ve never seen so much homework. But one thing that’s great about being a 4/c is that, for the most part, all of your shipmates are taking the exact same courses as you – meaning that it’s never difficult to find a study group. And with such a diverse mixture of cadets, there’s a wealth of knowledge to be attained. Some 4/c, like me, are fresh out of high school while others are prior enlisted or even have college degrees. That being said, there’s always someone who knows more than you do on any given subject, which is a blessing. Within the company, select upperclassmen have signed on as tutors for various major-specific courses, while others are just enthusiastic and always willing to help.

 

Aside from academics, each week seems to bring a new list of duties to perform at various levels within the Corps of Cadets. Sometimes adventurous, other times not so much, but always present. (Like anything else here, it’s your shipmates who can make the difference.) As a member of Morale Division, I’m gifted with the arduous task of collaborating with my fellow division members to create and maintain high spirits within Golf Company. Whether that’s spinning cotton candy for an hour, planning a full week of Halloween events, or auctioning off pies to smash your cadre with (a major fundraising success), it’s always an amusing and rewarding task. Best of all, the ideas and projects are ever-changing.

 

Needless to say, every day here so far has been an adventure. One of my concerns was that after setting the Academy as my goal for so long, it couldn’t possibly live up to my expectations. In contrast, it has far exceeded them. The caliber and quality of the cadets here as well as the long, ever-growing list of opportunities simply can’t be beaten. I doubt that any other university could have provided me with this level of attachment so quickly, both to the place and the people. And I know that no other university could have provided me with all the opportunities I’ll get to experience over the course of the next four years and for the rest of my life – from the fine art of cotton candy crafting to all the aspects of sailing, leading, and learning.

 

More about Dakota.

 

Why the Coast Guard?

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2018) Permanent link
 Martorell Crespo Photo First of all, coming to the Coast Guard was and is a blessing. It is an opportunity that not everybody gets. Coming to another country and knowing that English is not your first language is tough, a challenge, but not impossible.

 

When I was in 10th grade, I watched the military channel with my brother and started to love the military. But to sum it all up, my brother was my inspiration and motivation to join this service. He was the one who told me about the Coast Guard, even though he wanted me to join the army. I told him what I wanted, my dreams, and my goals. Based on that, he told me about the Coast Guard and I was able to apply. It was a challenge for me because I had to take lots of exams before coming here and waited two months to get an answer, but in the end I was that fortunate one who won the scholarship to come here and study for four years, out of 12 or more applicants from different countries.

 

I am now a cadet in the United States Coast Guard Academy, representing my country Honduras. I want to become an officer and after graduating, return to my country and put into practice everything I learn here and apply it there.

 

I just love what the Coast Guard does and offers to us cadets and humanity as a whole because it is a lifesaving service, protecting all natural resources, maritime traffic and commerce and last but not least it is part of the national defense. I will not only help my country but try to help Honduras become a better place.

 

More about Irene.

 

It’s All About the Morale

(Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Kimura Photo The year has finally gotten underway. School has been in session for about a month but through the new hectic daily routine, the weeks are flying by. Thankfully, our upperclassmen and clubs have helped make the transition from the physical strain of Swab Summer to the fast-paced academic rigor of the school year easier. Although academic and military life can be stressful at times, there are so many outlets available for me. I really appreciate groups like Asian Pacific Awareness Council (APAC), Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Society of Women Engineers, Morale Division and the Judo Club because they give me an escape from daily life.

 

Activities like these highlight my week or day; from the lunch excusals, to division dinners or practices, it’s time away from the chaotic life in Chase Hall. I especially enjoy my judo practices because I forget everything academic and military when I step onto the mat, and I interact with my upperclassmen as teammates. Besides judo practices, my favorite group here that directly helps fourth class is Morale Division, which is the “pick-me-up” of Chase Hall. Since school started, Morale Division has gotten Golf Company doughnuts every Monday to motivate the company through the week. In addition to Mondays, every Wednesday, hump day, Morale Division plans something special for us. In the past weeks, they have treated us to cotton candy, chicken wings, snow cones, smoothies, pie contests, and carry-on. I am always looking forward to what they have planned next. In order to enjoy the school year, instead of surviving through it, it’s essential to appreciate the little things and be proactive in the clubs and activities offered here.

 

More about Amy.

 

The Challenge

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
 Heimerman Photo One of the things I am beginning to notice with the Academy is that it always challenges you. Swab Summer challenges you to push yourself even when you want to quit on the last lap. It challenges you the stay emotionally strong in the face of failure. Swab Summer challenges you to never give up and to persevere.

 

One of the biggest shocks was switching from Swab Summer mode to the school year mode. All of a sudden, you were responsible for yourself instead of a cadre watching over your back. With the new atmosphere came a whole new set of challenges. The hardest of these challenges did not seem hard at first but disregarding its importance could wind up getting you into trouble, and that is time management. I’ll say it again; time management is one of the most important skills needed here at the Academy. The challenge is figuring out a schedule that works for you and also gets things accomplished. There are going to be distractions and opportunities too good to pass up but sometimes you will just have to say no.

 

The best advice I can give you is to work hard and stick to your plan but don’t forget to have fun!

 

More about Tess.

 

How I Could Contribute as a Cadet Blogger

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
 Haerr Photo Fourth class year is a handful, but senior year was just as stressful if not more when deciding my “fate” for the next four years. On top of that, choosing to attend CGA is also choosing a career commitment, which adds a whole new level of concern. I believe I would contribute as a cadet blogger by relating to the normalcy of prospective cadets and their anxious feelings.

 

Not only am I relatable, but I also am passionate about the missions of the U.S. Coast Guard, and I enjoy sharing that enthusiasm with those that are looking to serve in our great maritime service. Even if prospective cadets find that this is not the career path in which they are called to serve, I hope that by sharing our story as cadets here at the Academy that they will develop a high sense of respect for all military services.

 

I also have a unique background in that I spent a year at Texas A&M University, so I can expand on my experiences here at a service academy in comparison to my experiences at a civilian college.

 

More about Kathryn.

 

Football Versus Kings Point

(Athletics, Class of 2018) Permanent link
 Fruhwirth  Photo Since I was little, my favorite sport to watch (and even play) has always been football. After attending my first football game here I was slightly disappointed, as the Bears suffered a gruesome loss against St. Lawrence. Needless to say, when the next Saturday rolled around I was a bit worried; we were playing Kings Point, our mortal enemies, and winning this game was vital. For a week I had greeted every upper-class with a hardy “Go Bears, Sir,” which was always returned with a “Beat KP!” The Thursday before the game, a pep rally was held in the gym. The lights were off, music pumping through the floor and up the bleachers, and blurs of orange and blue glow sticks seemingly floating through the air. As a corps, we cheered on our teams playing against Kings Point that weekend. The dance team along with the cheerleaders did routines and morale was high.

 

Saturday morning was off to a great start, our men’s soccer team winning 1-0 against Kings Point. The corps filled in the football stadium, tensions were high between the Bears and the Mariners. The sun was hidden behind layers of clouds, humidity tangling around us but no one complained. The first half was a bit rocky, the Bears were playing well but we were down going into the second half. In the third quarter we were able to tie up the score, with the hopes of winning for the first time in four years. As the fourth quarter started, the skies opened up and blanketed us all with rain. As the petrified Kings Point cadets scurried to get their jackets, we Bears embraced the rain. Even the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Zukunft, ran through the rain with us—cheering our football team on and waving the Coast Guard flag proudly as he ran across the sidelines. We screamed until all the air had left our lungs, begging our team to bring it home. And as the clock ran out, the rain fell down, the Bears score yet again—giving a final score of 42-31. The 4/c section went wild; we fled onto the sidelines and side by side did our 42 push-ups. Soaking wet and covered in turf from the field, we jumped and hugged each other in celebration of defeating Kings Point! This is one of my favorite memories at the Academy so far, because as a corps we cheered each other on and built each other up. Morale was at an all-time high and we were all proud to be a United States Coast Guard cadet!

 

More about Ainsley.

 

To Sing or Not to Sing

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo I have always loved to sing. Not necessarily in public, but in the shower, in my room, humming to myself in school, etc. All my life I have loved to sing, but I have never pushed myself out of my comfort zone to join a choir or singing group. This year I decided was a year of firsts. I decided to try out for Glee Club. I thought I would not make it since I did not have any professional background in singing, but luckily my style was something the Glee Club was looking for, and I was blessed enough to make the club, as well as the girls’ group, Fairwinds.

 

Although this is only my second month in the club, the opportunities I have gotten to have through this club are outstanding. Last week I sang in NYC at the Marriot for the Commandant of the Coast Guard, the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard, and other special guests. Getting to stay at the dinner and listen to their speeches given to a room of professionals was an eye-opening experience. It helped me to see past the Academy and into what the Coast Guard is really like. Many people at that event had saved many lives over the course of their careers, and it was inspiring to get to talk and listen to them speak.

 

Another opportunity Glee Club has given me is singing at memorial services at the Chapel. Last week we had two memorial services for classmates that had past, seeing that it was Homecoming Weekend and graduates from many different class years had come back to visit. Singing at the services was an extremely humbling experience. When I saw the sadness felt by classmates for the death of their fellow shipmates, I realized how much everyone at the Academy cares about each other. It really is a family here, whether you graduated in 1964 or 2014. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to email me at Hannah.M.Eshleman@uscga.edu. Have a great day!

 

More about Hannah.

 

A Shift of Focus

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Dalton Photo Fourth class year is in full swing now and I’m starting to get into the rhythm of everyday life here at the Academy. The change from high school senior to Coast Guard Academy cadet is a big one. You go from a big headed high school senior to not really even a person; you are a thing known as a “Swab.” During Swab Summer, you lose your ability to use first person pronouns (I, me, my, etc.) instead you must refer to yourself as Swab “Last Name” when speaking about yourself. The worst part of the summer in my opinion was how regimented the day was. As swabs we didn’t own any of our time. We were timed when we went to the head (restroom), when we went to the scuttlebutt (water fountain), and every shower was timed. Failure to meet standardized times lead to some incentive training. There was no free time to think about anything but the task that needed to be accomplished. Over the summer I learned a lot about myself and my shipmates. The lessons learned during Swab Summer are helping me to succeed during the academic year.

 

When Swab Summer ended back in August, everyday life did not get any easier. The focus shifted from a rigorous physical indoctrination program designed to bring high school seniors into the Coast Guard, to a military college focused on academics and leadership development. This new school year has presented lots of challenging situations, along with a many late nights. I’m looking forward to this year’s wrestling season, and forming memorable bonds with the amazing people in Foxtrot Company.

 

More about Tom.

 

Favorite Week of the School Year

(Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Condon Photo Swab Summer has been over for about eight weeks now, but it feels like it has been months! I have never been busier during the first two months of school! I’ve had exams in all my classes, and we’ve had two in chemistry. Even with the really heavy school load at the Academy, that doesn’t mean it’s all work and no play. I’ve had two cross country meets already and they’ve been a blast. For Labor Day, I went to New York City for the day. I enjoyed sightseeing and eating sushi multiple times throughout the day. We then had our spirit week leading up to the Merchant Marine game. This was my favorite week of the school year by far! I never knew a rivalry between two Division III colleges could be so fierce. Everyone had high spirits throughout the week. I’ve been to many football games, but the CGA vs. MMA game was my favorite by far. Everyone was cheering as loud as they could and there was plenty of friendly heckling on both sides. The game ended in a Coast Guard win and a much wanted short overnight time away from the Academy.

 

This week is Homecoming and also has a lot of spirit involved. It is the duty of the fourth class to hide the chains outside of the library. The second class cadets have from the start of the game until the end to find the chains. Right now, my fellow fourth class and I are deciding the best spot to hide them. If the second class doesn’t find the chains, we all get modified carry-on during the week, meaning we can look at our meals! We also get a long this weekend and as a Midwesterner, it still feels weird talking to my friends asking whether or not we should go to Yale or New York City this weekend. I’m excited for the next upcoming events, especially Parents’ Weekend.

 

As always, feel free to email me at Ryan.H.Condon@uscga.edu.

 

More about Ryan.

 

The First Month

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Coburn PhotoIt is hard to imagine, but we are already done our first month of the new school year. As a 4/c, this month has entailed many changes and new experiences, some good and some that were very challenging. The school part is definitely an adjustment and requires more work than I am used to putting in, but the teachers and especially the upperclassman are very good at trying to help you succeed. Also setting up appointments with your academic advisor will help you, especially if you are ever feeling stressed out. Also if you are ever stressed out try to go outside and take a break from the schoolwork.

 

Fall lacrosse started last week and I am getting even more excited for the season to come around. Speaking of sports, we had the Secretaries’ Cup last weekend. The Secretaries’ Cup is a weekend in the fall when Coast Guard competes against Kings Point in a variety of events. We had spirit week approaching the games and overall it was a very fun week to be a 4/c, because there were many opportunities to be given carry-on. There was also a pep rally on Thursday, which was the first one of the school year, and it was probably the best pep rally I have ever been to. This year we swept the games and beat Kings Point in soccer, volleyball, and yes, even football. Since my brother is a 3/c at Kings Point he came to the games and I got to see him and my dad. My dad was wearing a Coast Guard shirt and a Kings Point hat and as one might imagine, he got a lot of weird looks.

 

More about Mimi.

 

Getting Fresh Air

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Just for Fun, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Choi Photo Wow, it’s already been three months since I’ve arrived at the Academy. Life for me has changed so much during that period of time. It seems like just yesterday I was toiling through Swab Summer. Now I’m an official 4/c cadet at the USCGA. Life here is very busy, and it’s rare to be able to find a time to just sit down, relax, and not do anything. However, even with the heavy academic course load, I am still able to have a good time. As long as you have friends and a good attitude, it’s hard not to find some sort of entertainment.

 

One thing that my friends and I enjoy doing here is going out to breakfast in New London on Sundays. There are two establishments that are particularly noteworthy, DJ’s Campus Kitchen and Mr. G’s Restaurant. The food at both of these places is delicious and also reasonably priced. The highlight at both of these restaurants is the pancakes. If you ever go to one of these businesses, please don’t underestimate the pancakes. They are actually bigger than your face and you deserve a reward if you can finish a platter.

 

Going out to eat is not all about the food however. It feels swell to just be able to take a break from the Academy and have fun with some close friends. To me, it’s important not to get too wrapped up in the stresses here. It is a relief to go out from time to time and get some fresh air.

 

Although life at the Academy can be quite hectic, I enjoy every single moment of it. I appreciate what I am able to be a part of, and that’s being a member of the world’s greatest military service.

 

Go Bears!

 

More about Chris.

 

Insomniac by Choice

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo Good morning! The time is currently 0116 on Sunday, October 4, 2014. Why am I up so late, you ask? Well, why not? I use this time right now to get started on homework so I can use the time during the weekend to relax. Do I get things done? Yes. Do I have a regular sleep schedule? No. Will I regret this later? Probably, but that’ll be weighed against the awesome amount of stuff I’m getting done right now, such as writing this blog post.

 

Generally, as a fourth class, you won’t sleep much. I’m not saying you’ll be up until 0116 doing homework on a weekend; there are always a select few who manage to be in bed by 10 but, generally, you won’t sleep much. You’re usually busy all day with trainings, classes, sports and homework along with the other fourth class stuff you need to do, such as clocks and trash orderlies. My watch has three different alarms. I never thought I would need to use all three, but I thought wrong. Time management is important, and sometimes a little sleep needs to be sacrificed to make it work. But Columbus Day weekend is right at the door, so maybe I’ll get to sleep in until 0700.

 

More about Olivia.

 

First Month in the Books

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Burchill Photo It’s almost the end of September, marking the end of my first month as a 4/c. Somehow, time was lost between cross country, my classes and military obligations. The biggest adjustment coming out of Swab Summer was managing my time wisely but I think I’ve been getting the hang out it. Academics can be hard but all the upperclassmen are so supportive and helpful when the lost 4/c come asking for tutoring.

 

The best part of my day is going to cross country practice. When it comes to sports, class doesn’t matter, everyone is your teammate. We all joke around, cheer each other on, and work hard together. Participating in a sport helps you get off campus every now and then and see the different side of the Academy. I’m so thankful that I play a sport every day because it’s a great time to forget about all the academics and just have fun with my teammates. I would highly encourage picking up a sport at the Academy, whether you’re an expert or a beginner, there are many sports offered to help you get involved.

 

Mid-terms are just around the corner, and in no time, it’ll be Parents’ Weekend. I’m excited for the rest of this semester and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me at Rachel.K.Burchill@uscga.edu.

 

More about Rachel.

 

The Grind...

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Auzenbergs Photo School began just a week ago and I have already stayed up later doing homework than I ever did in high school! I knew that applying to the Academy was signing up for a challenge, but I failed to consider the challenges beyond Swab Summer. Getting through the summer was my main goal, and it felt so good to complete it. Now I’m realizing how much will be asked of us during the academic year, and it is just another challenge to accept. Adding on to that, I realized that there are plenty of sacrifices that go hand in hand with an appointment to the Coast Guard Academy. The “college experience,” for example, will be completely different for me than my old high school classmates. But that is something that I am fully willing to accept. It’s honoring a service fully devoted to helping others. It’s pushing yourself beyond the limits you have previously set, just to prove to yourself that it is possible. It’s completing countless goals that seem near impossible, and failing at more. It’s the grind.

 

For me, the hardest part of Swab Summer was mentally pushing myself to continue even when it would be easier to just give up. The hardest part was the grind. My shipmates gave me the strength to continue because I realized that they were going through the exact same thing as me, and not quitting, so what gave me the right to quit? The teamwork and positivity necessary to get through the summer were something I had never experienced before and something I will never forget. I am proud to mention that my company, Charlie Company, earned Swab Summer Honor Company! That was a major accomplishment because it means that we had some of the highest scores in PFEs, formal room and wings, drill competitions, intercompany sports, and more. Looking forward, I have plenty of goals at the Academy, but one of the major ones is to appreciate and enjoy each moment I spend here, and in the Coast Guard, because it is truly an honor to be part of this service. I cannot wait to experience and learn more than I ever imagined as a college student!

 

More about Gabrielle.