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cadet blogs

Academy Questions Part 1

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2013) Permanent link
 Jessica Ward Many people have emailed with their questions (which I love). One survey included the following questions and I figured they would be enlightening for everyone.

1. What is the Academy known for?

The Academy is known for a few things, but here are the top few, in my opinion at least. It is a top STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) school among New England universities. It has a great teacher:student ratio with a lot of one-on-one attention. It has the tall ship Eagle, which cadets are trained on during different summers. The Academy also produces 50% of the officers in the U.S. Coast Guard.

2. What is the atmosphere?

The atmosphere of the Academy is moody and fairly cynical, but also hilarious in a way only cadets can understand. It’s like living in an inside joke. It is definitely one of the more sleep-deprived universities you will ever come across. It is also one of the more studious and hard-working.

3. Do you like/not like the Coast Guard Academy? Why?

I do like it and I would choose the Academy again if I could go back in time. It’s mostly the people that make the place. Most of the teachers are also great and know you by first name, which is neat. It’s not easy and it’s not always fun, but I would not trade any other college experience for the friends I have made here.

4. What are some of the rituals/traditions at the Academy?

There are a lot, but some are more secretive. The most well known are Swab Summer where incoming freshmen go through seven weeks of training. There is also a buoy that you can ring for good luck before tests. There are chains that freshmen hide each year at Homecoming to get a week of privileges if no one finds them by halftime. All the juniors receive a ring that has their class crest and the Academy crest on each side. Seniors receive swords…The list continues.

As always, email me any questions/comments.

More about Jessica.

What's Up? My Age.

(Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Justin Sherman February is a pretty intense month, celebration-wise—for me, at least. February 6th is my birthday, and then, of course, there’s Valentine’s Day. Additionally, here at the Academy, we have 100th day that usually falls in the first week of February, too.

What is 100th day? It’s the day that marks one hundred days remaining until graduation, and the fourth class cadets act like second class cadets (carry-on and have upper class privileges such as Facebook) for the day while the second class cadets act like fourth class—in other words, they attempt to brace up and square corners.

But 100th day comes with a price called 101st night. I don’t want to give too much away. Let’s just say Incentive Training for a few hours…(Thanks to 2/c Parocha and all the rest of the Echo 2nd class who brought back the memories of Swab Summer—the good ones.)

It just so happened that 100th day fell on February 6th this year, so I had full carry-on for my birthday. That was pretty nice. This was my first birthday away from home, too, so that in itself was really special. (Because I had carry-on, I was able to use Skype, so I video called my parents! That was an awesome gift!).

This was probably one of the most exciting birthdays I’ve had. I got TONS of birthday cards from friends from high school, from my church, relatives, and family friends. It was really awesome. For about a week, every time I went to my mailbox, it was stuffed full of cards. And I got three packages!

Two were from my parents. One was of some items that I had requested—snacks, toiletries, knick-knacks. One special snack I wanted was a bag of popcorn kernels. Back at home, making plain popcorn (no butter or salt) has always been a popular snack. I can’t believe it took me until second semester to bring that tradition here. It is the little things like this—bringing home to the Academy—that reminds me that home is never too far, even in Chase Hall.

The second box from my parents contained cookies and brownies for me to share with my friends as a kind of birthday party. Those were delicious!

The third package was from my friend Hannah. She made Coast Guard cut-out cookies and decorated them. They were really well made! 

I can’t forget to mention that over my birthday weekend I went out to dinner with my Aunt Jen (from the Hartford area) and a friend from my company, whose name is also Justin. We went to Michael Jordon’s Sports Café. The food was delicious, and we had a wonderful time catching up.

That about sums up my birthday celebrations. And now we move on to Valentine’s Day. I’ve never been one to really get into the whole V-Day love scene, so we’ll see how that goes... I wonder how many secret valentines I’ll get.

As promised in January to close I will give another CGA acronym (see blog for January 2012 for more explanation). This one’s by my friend Josh. Craftily Grab Apples Because the 4/c cadets have to keep their eyes in the boat when in the wardroom, we have to either stand completely in front of the fruit stand by the entrance of the wardroom or make sneaky, quick side glances out of the corner of our eye as we pass and hope that we picked a good piece of fruit.

Another note about the fruit: This past week, I was an escort for some Admissions staff, and one of the men with whom I sat mentioned that he noticed most of the cadets grabbing a piece of fruit or two when they walked in the door. I never really noticed that, probably because it’s part of Academy culture.

I have found that I am eating a lot more fruit (and vegetables, for that matter) than I did back home. I think part of it is availability—the fruit is always there in the wardroom, immediately as I walk in. Also, I usually grab an apple or banana before heading back up to my room; fruit makes a great snack. I usually eat several apples a day and at least one to two bananas on top of that! I like to think that my doctor would be proud. I managed to continue to eat healthy (if not more so) at college. Then again, I’m at the Coast Guard Academy. Being healthy is quite important.

Well, that’s all for now. I’ll write again in March when it’ll be practically spring. Although, I really can’t complain. This past week has been exceptionally balmy!

Look at me, I just keep writing. I can’t stop! OK, this is the end. Promise!

More about Justin.