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cadet blogs

Nice October Days

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2012) Permanent link
 Katie Schumacher October 4, 2009

I did not get too much sleep this weekend, as I had guardmount and dismount for JCDO (Junior Cadet Duty Officer) Saturday and Sunday. This meant I had to get up before 0700 Saturday and Sunday morning, when I am usually allowed to sleep in later. Oh well. I did most of my homework on Saturday because I could not leave the Academy while on duty. I went out today instead. I walked to church off-base with a friend, came back to the Academy, and then left to walk to lunch with another group of friends.

A half hour walk away from the Academy is a long stretch of road that has every fast food restaurant imaginable. We went to Taco Bell and Wendy’s, picked up food, and took it across the street to sit outside under the umbrellas of Rita’s. After finishing our main course, we went inside Rita’s for a delicious treat that everyone at the Academy raves about. Their specialty is their “Water Ice” which is similar to Italian Ice and they make rather unique flavors such as cake batter and Swedish fish. I tried a sample of pumpkin, amazing. I ordered a pumpkin Gelati, which had a layer of vanilla custard on the bottom, pumpkin water ice in the middle, and more vanilla custard on top. It was like eating fall in a cup with an extra long plastic spoon. Between the food, the company, and the walking, it was a perfect four hour lunch away from the Academy.

More about Katie.

Catching Up Over Parents Weekend

(Just for Fun, Class of 2012) Permanent link
 Katie Schumacher September 27, 2009

This weekend, Parent’s Weekend, is probably my favorite weekend at the Academy. Starting early Friday morning, September 25th, parents came to watch us drill, to attend classes, and to eventually take their cadet away for the weekend. My parents and sister started driving at 0300 on Thursday morning and pulled into their hotel around 2300 that night, an easy twenty hour car ride. They were there for part of drill practice and then followed me around for the morning to my classes, left for my afternoon classes (the teachers scheduled tests for this day of all days), and came back to watch cross country practice. We went to Chili’s for dinner and talked, talked on the way to our hotel, and my sister and I went on a late night walk and talk under the stars. I slept in a queen bed for over eight hours Friday night, and then about ten hours Saturday night.

It is always interesting to bring two separate worlds together, in this case, my home world and my Academy world. I took my family to Eagle on Saturday afternoon; showing them a place I had spent six weeks of my summer on was almost surreal. I am so busy with cadet life that I do not call or correspond with my family as much as I would like, but the weekend gave me a chance to catch up with my family, which is exactly what I needed to do.

More about Katie.

Blazing Forward

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2012) Permanent link
 Katie Schumacher August 29, 2009

A tuna sandwich and chips – a second lunch, and now my stomach is full of dinner - lasagna, fresh garlic toast, garden salad, and to top it all off, a brownie sundae with whipped cream and peanut butter chips. I have only been back at school for two weeks and we just finished our first week of classes, but I am so happy to be at my host family’s house today and rest for a few hours, away from the Academy. The rain from the hurricane came today, so we were not able to go outside and swim. And now, as daylight ends, I am watching Gran Torino, doing what I do best: multi-tasking.

I had an awesome summer, even though I was only a few miles away from the Academy at Station New London for the first five weeks. It was amazing to work with new people and I gained more respect and appreciation for what the Coast Guard does for America. It was probably my coldest summer in a while, as the station was cold and rainy, rarely above seventy degrees. Eagle was warm in Bermuda and Charleston, but besides that, fog, rain, and cold, jacket-worthy temperatures followed us through to Maine. The day we pulled into Maine, it rained from early morning, through special sea detail into port, until seven or so that night. We went out on liberty in our Coast Guard parkas – comfort beats style. Even on my three weeks of leave in St. Louis, the days were not as hot as in previous years, and my tan is definitely lacking.

I was excited to come back to the Academy and see everyone after their summers, but the three weeks at home went by too quickly as they always do. I have many responsibilities this year. I am beginning introductory classes for civil engineers and I am part of the Cadet Training Division which sets up morning and evening trainings during the week as well as Saturday morning trainings. I am also learning to take on the role of mentor to the new fourth class.

I am more excited to be back, now that we have these first two weeks behind us. Hopefully, we can put the incidences of the summer behind us and blaze forward with a positive attitude, back onto the right trail. It is our goal to make the Academy a better place for now, and for the future. It never ceases to amaze me how much I learn from my shipmates everyday and how much I have learned to care for them. And the best part, the greatest part about being back is that I can walk up and down the hallways in any fashion I choose, saying hello as I pass by my shipmates.

(The new picture is my favorite from the summer – I took it on Eagle, on our voyage from South Carolina to Boston.)

More about Katie.

Communications Watchstander

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2012) Permanent link
 Katie Schumacher May 26, 2009

Classes ended. Then final exams in Dimick and on 5th deck Roland. With the school year at a close, a new phase began as our class was shipped to every corner of the United States and to Spain. I was supposed to go on the first phase of Eagle, but due to a stress fracture in my leg, I needed to stay a little closer to the Academy. Actually, about five minutes from it. That is why I am here at Station New London.

I was disappointed. The scenery did not change too much; the Thames River is still right outside and the same stores nearby. But the atmosphere has changed; the station is not like the Academy. I have met so many new people and settled into a different lifestyle that the last couple of weeks have been both educational and enjoyable.

School was about finding integrals, the composition of organic compounds, and the reasons we entered World War II. At the station, I have learned to keep contact with Coast Guard boats underway through the radio, how to make a line, and the features of a survival vest. The first two weeks or so, I worked on becoming Communications Watchstander qualified: learning how to properly answer phone calls, make pipes over the intercom, and maintain contact with the Coast Guard forty-one and twenty-five foot small boats underway.

Today I passed my board and am now an official Communications Watchstander. Now, instead of working everyday, I work two days and then am off for two (a normal station schedule). Since I don’t have a car, I’m planning on working most of my off days to get more experience. I stopped using the crutches I have had for the last three weeks today. I still “gimp”, but I am practicing to walk straight. Hopefully I can go out on the small boats soon.

Yesterday was Memorial Day and my section had duty. Not much was happening so the crew put together a morale event in the evening with basketball and then a barbecue with hamburgers, chips, corn, and watermelon.

More about Katie.

This Hurdle

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2012) Permanent link
 Katie Schumacher April 5, 2009

Probably, possibly the best and worst weekend of my life. Usually, I look forward to the weekend, but this weekend was one many fourth class did not look forward to. Instead of waiting until Sunday night to buckle down, do homework, and prepare for the next week, most fourth class studied for Sunday night boards all weekend. The fourth class takes “boards,” which is an oral test in front of upper class to demonstrate their knowledge about aspects of the Coast Guard learned throughout the course of the year. It signifies that we are ready to move up to third class. But with all of the school work, it was difficult to get an early start and with other homework and sports this weekend, schedules were packed. It was funny to see that all the fourth class who came down to watch the track meet on Saturday also had the forty-eight pages of study material in hand.

I did go on liberty Saturday night after the track meet with my ex-roommate and we bought baskets, candy, and various other things for Easter. It was de-stressing, but information continued to run through our heads like “What does the Oscar flag look like and what does it mean?” Today, I did not really “relax” either, but I did sit outside on a bench to study for part of an hour. It was beautiful!

Even with all of the stress and emotions, the work and the late nights, the weekend was amazing because of everything we accomplished. Softball is slaughtering their competition with the help of some excellent fourth class and our track team did well on Saturday despite the WINDY and slightly chilly weather. I ran the 5K, which is currently my favorite event and going around one of the turns, the wind pushed back on me so hard I thought that I might as well stop because I was not getting anywhere. But the effort paid off and with the helpful cheers, I dropped thirty seconds. And then, tonight I passed boards. Sitting in the wardroom, waiting to go to a room with a first and two second class in it and take my board, was probably the most stressful experience of my life. Not all of Golf passed, but we did have the highest pass percent rate of all the companies! Now we just need to help everyone else pass and hopefully by the end of this week, all fourth class will have conquered this hurdle.

Only four weeks until summer.

More about Katie.

Spring Break and Coming Back

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2012) Permanent link
 Katie Schumacher March 9, 2009

Last year I couldn’t wait to go to Spain on a school trip for spring break. This year, I am just happy to be home and spend some time with my family. Saturday night I attended an art show that displayed two pieces of my older sister’s art and yesterday I attended my younger sister’s choral performance, two things I am usually unable to do. Today and tomorrow, I plan on just lounging around the house, sleeping, watching television, and then meeting my mother for lunch. Since she is an accountant, spring break is never a good time for her. I might go shopping and then I have to go to Sonic. The Coast Guard Academy does not have “slushies” or “icees” as we call them, so one of the best places at home to get a frozen drink is at Sonic. And from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., their drinks are half price. So with a real fruit lemon berry slush in hand, I am going to go pick up my younger sister from high school and run with her at track practice.

March 12, 2009

Yesterday I woke up at 3:50 a.m. (on purpose) to begin a road trip with my dad that would eventually bring me back to the archways of the Academy. We drove all the way from St. Louis to colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. I thought our weather in Missouri was weird, but Virginia was something else. We walked around colonial Williamsburg last night around 9:00 and according to our car, the temperature was 78 degrees! I was sweating in my short sleeve shirt and jeans! But today, I woke up to go for a quick morning run and it was wet and cold; probably around 40 degrees.

In Williamsburg today, we were grateful for the shops and houses that offered a little bit of warmth. Some “colonials” had fires in their backyards. The two places we spent the most time in were the woodworking shop and the bindery. One of the book binders we talked to had been an apprentice in England for seven years to learn this trade. He has been a book binder for the past forty years like both of his parents before him. We went on to the woodworking shop for about an hour, as my dad has his own workshop in our basement and enjoys talking about wood and furniture with the professionals. The men there were very talented and I was especially intrigued by the eagle chair with arms that morphed into eagle’s heads at the ends. (At first, I thought they were snakes.)

March 15, 2009

It wasn’t as difficult to come back to the Academy today as it was at Christmas with the “Dark Ages” to look forward to. Though we have mock boards and boards, two more Chemistry and Calculus Tests, as well as tests in other classes, and at least two more formal room and wings, I keep reminding myself: only six more weeks. Six more weeks until fourth class year is over and summer training, whether it be Eagle or a cutter, begins. And then we will be third class and have our own fourth class to look after.

More about Katie.

101st Night and the Swimming Championship

(Athletics, Class of 2012) Permanent link
 Katie Schumacher Thursday, February 5, 2009

Every time I look down I cannot believe the date. We’ve been back from Christmas for over a month and yet it seems like only a few days. The weather has been a rollercoaster, freezing and snowy to warm and breezy leaving the feeling that spring might be coming. But not yet. Only one more swim meet and then track starts. I cannot wait to run distance again because I absolutely loved running cross country in the fall. (Even though running in circles around a track is not quite the same as running up what seems to be a mountain or sloshing through mud and evading tree roots.)

Monday, February 10, 2009

I missed 101st night on Sunday. I had mixed feelings about not going, but with swimming championships coming up, our coach scheduled practice for that time so we would not get IT’d (Incentive Training) or anything. I guess I did not miss too much because all I heard was it was like Swab summer for an hour and a half – the indoc, the yelling, and running, push-ups, and sit-ups. I know one person who threw up and another who blacked-out, but everyone made it through and it was worth it to earn carry-on for today.

So today was 100th day, the day fourth and second class switch roles. I did not enjoy being a second class, I just liked not being a fourth class. The second class pretended to be us, but they did a pretty miserable job (as they intended). They wore mismatched uniforms to morning formation and woke us up at reveille similar to how they did it in swab summer, only this time they screamed things like, “Ma’am, ma’am, you have to get up now ma’am.” But we were given the rights of second class as well, so we did not have to brace up and we could actually talk in the passageways instead of hurrying into rooms to accomplish this. And we could walk down the center of the stairs! The center! (You never realize how much transit time that takes off).

A taste of the future, now carry-on is gone and we have to earn it.

More about Katie.

I Love Days Like This

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2012) Permanent link
 Katie Schumacher Saturday, January 10, 2009

I love days like this – the day of formal room and wing. The official formal room and wing lasts from 0800 to 0900 on Saturday mornings, but the cleaning starts around Thursday through late Friday night (into the wee hours of Saturday morning). I didn’t like standing at attention this morning, waiting for my room to be inspected and anxious about the results. But I did like taking a four hour nap after liberty was granted and going out on liberty having finished the most grueling cleaning one may ever do. It is sort of like handing a research paper into your professor, or finishing a test and then being allowed to let your brain relax. I don’t like cleaning that much, but it’s funny how good of a time we have. Not only do we have to clean our rooms, but fourth class clean “common spaces” as well. I usually help clean the bathrooms, and since there are only five fourth class girls in my company, the guys help us clean our bathrooms. With the radio blasting, we sing, we clean, and we dance. I must say that I get more out of the bonding of cleaning a bathroom than I get out of physically cleaning and wiping down the walls and the toilets. And there is nothing like starting out the new semester by winning first place! Hoorah Gee-olf Company!

Monday, January 19, 2009

It’s been so cold outside! And in the two weeks since we have been back from Christmas break, we actually have had snow! We are currently in the time referred to as the “Dark Ages” – everyone is supposed to be somewhat depressed and gloomy after returning from Christmas break and being forced back into the school year. (The short days don’t help either!) But I am actually finding that this semester I am more confident and filled with a little more hope as we have some time off each month (except in April) and by May we have a week left of finals before summer training begins. I didn’t get to take the long weekend (for Martin Luther King’s Day) because I had a swim meet yesterday, but I am at my friend Rebecca’s host family’s house today and I went out on liberty Friday night. On Friday, we went to the mall, and then walked to Olive Garden and ate. It was ridiculously cold, snowy, and late and we were trying to make the bus at Target at 10:20. If not, we would be stuck for another hour with nowhere to shop, as all the stores were closed for the evening. We cut it close…too close. As we stepped out of Olive Garden, we saw the libo van at Target and watched it as it slowly drove away. We “ran”…the libo van would leave and cross the highway to the shopping center with Michael’s and Borders and then back down to the intersection we were running toward before heading on. My friend, Katie, was ahead, with her bags, purse and extra breadsticks from Olive Garden in hand, running through a patch of fresh snow. Suddenly, there were breadsticks strewn across the snow; the bag broken. I swiped the bread off the ground and we arrived at the corner as the van was slowing – out of breath, frozen cold, laughing hysterically, and so happy that we had made it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

We had a comedian come tonight. It was pretty interesting…not the show in and of itself but the whole idea and presentation. The comedians were “funny”, but the funniest thing about the night was as we say in English class…they appealed to the wrong audience. Things “normal college students” find hilarious, we didn’t find particularly humorous. For instance, since we have such a serious honor concept, making fun of someone being disrespectful or someone cheating is not particularly funny – someone here could get kicked out for that.

The funny stuff was the ad lib from us the true audience, bringing in our pasts and the things we all could relate to and thought was funny, smallpox for example. A writer writes for an audience…he knows his audience inside and out if he is good. Though I know this is a little drastic for a comedian who wants to tell a couple of jokes, get a few laughs, and boost our moods, it is the truth. We have our own stupid things we laugh at here that no one else would dream of. The comedians found it funny that we laughed at things that no other audience had ever laughed at.

More about Katie.

Thanksgiving 2008

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2012) Permanent link
 Katie Schumacher I was glad to go home to St. Louis, Missouri for Thanksgiving – so much happened in the five months since the beginning of summer to Thanksgiving leave. The number one question I was asked by my family and friends is, “Well, do you like it?” I had told them about Swab Summer yelling, the running and the push-ups, and thinking I did not have the strength to continue. I had told them of the over twenty hour academic load, of the continual squaring corners and food, of military training, and of staying up to 2300, 2400, 0100 to finish homework. And I ask myself, “Well, do I like it?”

I remember how much I learned, how far I was able to push myself over Swab Summer, and how many new things I learned in class from Maneuvering Boards in Nautical Science I to the Vietnam War in Honors English. And for all the times, whether I am pumped and excited or work begins to wear me down, I have the people. I have great friends from running cross country and swimming, from singing in Protestant Choir and going to church. I had a wonderful company over Swab Summer and over the school year filled with fourth class to talk to and friends who came over for homework help or to work on group projects. And best of all I have a roommate who will stay up to 2300, 2400, 0100, with me and I with her. It is the people I will always remember.

So when family and friends ask, “Well, do you like it?” I can say, seemingly against all odds, “I love it.” I keep a positive attitude and am an active participant in the Coast Guard Academy. This is why I am happy to be a journalist; I want to share my unique perspectives and experiences.

More about Katie.