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cadet blogs

Growing Up!

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Wu Photo Everything seems to be happening faster and faster. This semester is already half way through and then once 2014 graduates, 2015 will be firsties! It is so strange to think that I am more than half way through college and my time at CGA. It seems like yesterday I was a senior in high school receiving my acceptance letter. Now, I am preparing to be a firstie, getting qualified to stand the duties of firsties, applying for command positions, getting firstie uniforms, getting my career starter loan ($36,000), and getting an internship.


It was crazy standing Alfa Company Officer of the Day on Billet Night. I was standing duty while all the firsties were down in Leamy Auditorium finding out what and where their first assignment was. All the Officers of the Day (OODs) formed up outside the Leamy Auditorium to hold Restricted Cadet Formation and 1930 (7:30 p.m.) and it was surreal hearing the roars coming from the auditorium as firsites received their billets and thinking that that will be me and my classmates on March 5th, 2015! I cannot believe we will be the next class to receive our assignments. Last year, billets and graduating still seemed a ways away, however now, everything seems around the corner!


Applying for command positions is giving the responsibilities over to 2015. I cannot believe my class will be running Swab Summer and all the other programs over this summer and how close friends of mine are part of the Regimental Staff. Interviews are being conducting this week and next week and soon enough we will find out which of my classmates received Fall Command positions.


Along with duties and command positions, we are also getting tailored for firstie uniforms and our Ring Dance is coming up soon. Ring Dance is when we receive our class ring that signifies our time here at CGA. It is a milestone event and I am excited to receive my ring and finally get to wear it. There is a sense of pride in the Academy along with the self-accomplishment that goes with the ring.


Also, we are being trusted and given the responsibility of a huge career starter loan. The career starter loan is $36,000 and it is a lot of money for a junior in college to be responsible for. A lot of my classmates buy a car and it is up to us to figure out how we want to use the money or maybe make the decision of not taking the loan at all.


As for the upcoming summer, I am excited for my internship at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington D.C. I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to apply and, looking at all the other programs occurring this summer, I can really see how far my class has come and developed. We are now being trusted and given these programs and internships as opposed to being a follower during fourth class summer and third class summer. I am still waiting on what I will be doing for the other half of the summer since the internship is the second half of my summer, but I am excited for what is in store!


More about Ellie.


Are You Sure This Is Spring?

(Athletics, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Frost Photo While all my friends were posting pictures in at the beach or by the pool in Florida or some beautiful Caribbean island, the sailing team headed off to St. Marys, Maryland for spring training. Now you may not have heard of St. Marys; I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s pretty accurate to call it the middle of nowhere. But hey, that doesn’t mean it’s not a great place to sail…which it is. We got in three solid days of training on the water before heading off to weekend events. Here are the highlights of the week.




Five firsts of spring break 2014:  

  1. Breaking ice while launching a sailboat.
  2. Seeing ice form at the waterline on the beach.
  3. Breaking ice to rig a sailboat.
  4. Watching water freeze as the waves break over the dock.
  5. Having my water bottle refrigerated in the back of the boat by the air.


And five ways to deal with them:  

  1. Onesies are your best friend, especially under your dry suit. It’s like wearing a blanket without the limited dexterity. A total win.
  2. Dishwashing gloves. I think they were actually invented for winter water sports, not washing the dishes.
  3. Hand warmers. Now, this seems like an easy go-to, but it’s not that simple. You can’t just wear hand warmers and sail. You need your hands. The trick is putting the hand warmers under your lifejacket so you can warm up between races and drills. Not a perfect solution, but definitely worth it.
  4. The more people can’t tell you’re a girl, the warmer you’ll be. Seriously, beanies and gators and sunglasses all worn together work as a pretty good disguise.
  5. Homemade granola bars aren’t new, but they make everything better… always.


More about Christi.


Yes, Rifle is a Sport

(Athletics, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Roddy Photo First off, sorry for the huge span of time with no updates, but as fall semester deepened I found myself up to my neck in schoolwork and mandatory assignments, and when it came time to prioritize; my extracurricular activities fell by the wayside.


On a more positive note, I have received more emails than I ever imagined I would from interested applicants and future cadets! I’ve been doing a pretty good job of responding to all the ones I receive, but if a week goes by and you don’t get a response from me, just resend a message and I’ll get back within another. Email is the primary form of communication here so without reminders things can get buried pretty quickly. On the topic though, I’ve got a lot of questions about rifle team, so I’ll take a minute and discuss what the team has meant to me and my experience as a varsity marksman.


I shot rifle in high school, but it was a very different style than the form of competition the Academy participates in, so I was practically a walk-on. The team was supportive and great instructors and I found myself learning at a sprint rather than a crawl. Every time I shot, I saw marked improvement. The people on the team were all great and it became an amazing way to relax and unwind from Chase Hall and academic life. I became great friends with everyone and got to travel to Boston and West Point for competitions. I saw many different teams, but it looked like of all the ones we shot against, Coast Guard had the most fun and the best dynamic. What I can say about rifle, is if you decide to join, or even just to try it out, you will not be disappointed with the character of the team, the environment you shoot in, and the atmosphere created by your fellow shooters.


Academics are hard at the Academy though, harder than any high school and even most prep schools, so be prepared going in that if you chose to do rifle, or any varsity sport, you will be required to make sacrifices in time and energy to be a part of that team. For rifle it meant staying at the Academy every long weekend second semester due to competitions. For baseball it’s travelling with the team to Florida instead of spring break. Every sport demands trade-offs, and that’s something very important to keep in mind joining a sports team.



More about John.


Gearing Up for the Summer

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Stowes Photo Happy spring everyone! … Maybe I’ve spoken too soon. Despite the freezing temperatures and bad weather over the past few weeks, I can feel spring coming, and that means summer will be upon us soon enough! There are three reasons for my “seasonal optimism” I’ll call it. First, we just had spring break, so I’m rejuvenated from a nice week of fun and relaxation. I went home, but many other cadets traveled all over the country for sports, rest, relaxation, and fun. Being back from spring break, I’m ready to finish up this semester and get to the summer.


The second reason I’m excited to be back is rugby, which is pretty much my favorite thing to do ever. The rugby team is coming off of our best season in recent memory, finishing 5th in the nation for Division II, winning our conference for the second year in a row, and playing good quality rugby the entire time. So, I am excited to get back out onto the pitch with my best friends to hit, get hit, and hopefully win some exciting rugby matches. We have several matches and tournaments this spring, so I’ll be very busy with that, but it’s something to look forward to everyday.


The third and most significant reason I’m excited being back (and the reason I’m writing this blog) is that I’m pumped up for the summer training. On the Friday before spring break, the 3rd class (sophomores) found out their cadre sections for the summer. I will be in cadre 1a, which means that I will be in the first group of cadre. I will receive the incoming freshmen (swabs) on R-Day, and I will be responsible for breaking down their previous identities and beginning to instill in them the Coast Guard values of honor, respect, and devotion to duty. I will have tons of other responsibilities with the swabs this summer, and to be honest, it seems a bit overwhelming right now. I don’t know fully what to expect, but I’m preparing by reading books and watching videos for tips on being a cadre. Also, there will be plenty of time and training for me to figure everything out, so I’m very optimistic about having a cadre experience.


Now let me talk about the cadre experience for those of you that aren’t very familiar with it. There are seven cadre groups: Swab Summer 1, Swab Summer 2, Academy Introduction Mission (AIM), Coast Guard Academy Scholars (CGAS), Eagle, ocean racing, and waterfront. The Swab Summer cadre groups are broken down into two sections each (1a, 1b, 2a, 2b), but I will discuss what that means later. The Swab Summer cadre will have the most exposure with the swabs. They will basically run the swabs lives for the three weeks that they are cadre. Cadre 1 breaks the swabs down and instills values. Cadre 2 begins the team building and rebuilding stages for the swabs, and puts them through sea trials (a culminating team event where the swabs put everything they’ve learned to work). Eagle cadre sail with the swabs and teach them the basics of seamanship when they report to Eagle for a week during the summer. Waterfront cadre teach the swabs the basics of sailing on campus at our waterfront sailing facility. AIM cadre perform the duties of a Swab Summer cadre in one week with juniors in high school that have been accepted into AIM. CGAS cadre are responsible for applicants that have been accepted to our prep school program. CGAS goes through a modified Swab Summer experience, and they typically have a more physically demanding experience. Ocean racing cadre are a separate entity. They sail with rising sophomores in a nationwide competition.


Gearing Up for the Summer (Continued) PDF 


More about Hunter.


The Meaning of Fourth Class Life

(Academics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo Right now I’m on a train heading from the Academy back home to Cape May, New Jersey. I am excited to begin spring break after an arduous first half of the semester. Classes are going well, I’ve started a new fitness plan and my shipmates and I have been having more and more fun as it (slowly) gets warmer.


The past two weeks have been non-stop, with late nights, which usually is not the case for me. The last few weeks have been jam packed with a Model UN conference at USMA West Point, a band concert at Connecticut College across the street, International Ballroom Dance (who would have guessed that?!?), Cadets Against Sexual Assault trainings and meetings, recruiting leave, and a community service trip to Key West Florida. Of course, I need to keep up on my school work to participate in all of these events, as well as ensuring that I continue to adhere to military obligations such as trainings, my midterm Cadet Evaluation Report, community service requirements, and division work. Somehow, it all gets itself all done by 11:30 p.m.! Sometimes I groan, but I wouldn’t have it any other way—I am never bored in New London.


The beginning of March marks the beginning of regaining privileges as a 4/c. For making both the Dean’s List for academics and the Commandant of Cadets’ List for good military performance last semester, I am able to take recruiting leave for spring break, meaning I get to leave a few days early to visit high schools near my home. I look forward to wearing the uniform in my old stomping ground representing America’s finest seagoing service. Ok, I’m proud...! After passing the Coast Guard Indoctrination board, commonly known as “boards” we gained individual privileges such as not having to write note cards when leaving the barracks and playing music out loud. As soon as everyone in our respective companies passed, we were allowed to reactivate our Facebook accounts. Hopefully, we will be awarded wardroom carry-on the week we return from spring break, given everyone else in our class passes that same week.


Hearing about 2018 already is getting us all very excited. I am excited to soon no longer be the lowest on the totem pole, and finally put on that one diagonal 3/c stripe. It is almost scary how already my old 2016 shipmates will be cadre! It feels like just yesterday we were getting yelled at: time flies at the Academy when you don’t look around. However, I will miss the funny parts of 4/c culture, like the “spirit missions”.


Captain Gaines, my chemistry lab instructor, gave me some pretty inspiring advice the other day. He reminded me that I need to make sure I always hold myself accountable automatically, ensuring that self-responsibility is second nature. Soon enough, he said, there will be a 4/c I will have to help, and I will have to worry about both of us. After that, one day I could very well have many people I am responsible for, and potentially assets of the government as well. I realized then why I have to, and want to, do all of the many things I do, stretching myself in so many ways as a 4/c. Someday I will have to look after myself while ensuring other people around me are succeeding. It was a quick wake-up call—soon I won’t be a 4/c, and soon I will have to take responsibility for more than myself. 4/c year is about learning how to function as an individual while balancing functioning as a member of a team. These missions are, whether we realize it or not, preparing us to be role models for the incoming class, guiding them through the same thing we are going through right now.


The Key West community service trip was awesome! We painted, primed, and shined the floating museum ship, USCGC Ingham. There was so much history aboard the ship, and we experienced it firsthand living on the cutter for a week. The skipper who runs the museum operation told me the first night I was staying in some Admiral’s old rack when the admiral was a cadet—that’s how old the cutter was! We met with the Commanding Officer of Sector Key West, Captain Young and his wardroom; went underway on a 110 foot patrol boat; visited a small boat station; and interacted with junior enlisted, senior enlisted, junior officers, warrant officers, and senior officers. So many different perspectives, and it was all jammed into one week! Liberty at night was awesome: experiencing sunsets on the island, the many amazing restaurants, street performers, and all of the neat shops in town. I visited the Harry Truman Little White House, saw the Ernest Hemingway house, and climbed to the top of the Key West lighthouse. The experience really motivated me to come back to the Academy next week and push through the last seven weeks of school before summer training. Seven more weeks until we put on that coveted 3/c stripe. Can’t wait until 2018 arrives!



More about William.


All in a Weekend!

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Wu Photo Being on a sports team at CGA has its pros and cons. Playing a sport allows you to be a part of a team, get out of Formal Room and Wing inspections or drill ceremonies, however, almost all of your weekends are also taken up once you are in season. It is not a requirement to be on a sports team, but you do have to get your sports credit through other means such as intercompany sports.


This semester I decided not to be on a sports team so that I can manage my own time. Not being on a team has given me the opportunity to adjust exercising around my school schedule as opposed to going to practice at a set time and waiting around for practice to start. Also, with the free weekends, I was able to sign up for races such as the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. With a Special Request Form approved to miss a couple classes to catch a flight, I was able to meet my sister in Florida and we got to run the 10k (6.2 miles) and half marathon (13.1 miles) on February 22nd and February 23rd respectively. It was such a memorable weekend; it was very productive and we were also able to have fun in all four theme parks of Disney World. It was also very fun to represent the Coast Guard in the Military category as well as partake in the Sister/Sister Team category. It was an unforgettable experience to see the hard work of training and exercising pay off in a very rewarding 10k and half marathon. The climate amongst the runners is different from what I have been used to. When I used to be on the CGA Cross Country team, everything and everyone had a competitive vibe. When I ran the road races in Disney, there was a slight competitive vibe amongst serious runners, however the competitive attitude was more about being competitive with oneself. Overall, road races have more of a team event, seeing everyone waking up at 3 a.m. to gather and start a race at 5:30 in the morning!


I also realized that learning how to manage my time is crucial for preparing myself for my future as a Coast Guard officer. I have heard the importance of time management before, but I never realized that it needed to be applied beyond academics. In the past, I did not need to time manage exercising because there was a set allotted time for team practices. Being on a team, I had been so dependent on my coaches and the teams to get me into shape. Only when I took a semester away from the sports team atmosphere that I saw the importance of building good fitness habits in order to remain fit.


I am officially excited to start training and signing up for more road races! I’m lacing up my shoes and ready to hit the roads :)


More about Ellie.


It’s the Best Day Ever

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Frost Photo I guess snow days aren’t a big deal for some people because they’re so used to them, or because students don’t have to go get up at six and go to class every day at other colleges. But, whether it’s me growing up in Florida or just the Academy…snow days are awesome! Just one day can completely change the entire morale of the corps.


Needless to say upon the announcement of the snow day the entirety of chase hall burst into cheers. Snowmen and snowball fights are interspersed with the incessant singing of Frozen songs. It’s confusing, since I still haven’t seen the movie, and it gets a little annoying since as soon as one person stops, someone else begins. However, the morale is pretty much at an all time high, so I really can’t complain about the singing all that much. It honestly just makes me want to go see Frozen.


Anyway, the New England winter that is so often characterized as being dark and dreary has been one of the best times of the year. I’ve remembered how much I love to snowboard through a weekend at Killington, Vermont. I also visited the Statue of Liberty for the first time on MLK day weekend. Even though I missed the Class of 2016 ski trip to Okemo, Vermont, I got to spend nine days in sunny Florida competing against the top sailors in the world. Next weekend is another long weekend that I can spend with friends. Then spring break is just around the corner!


As always, if you have any questions feel free to ask!


More about Christi.


Springtime at the Academy

(Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Engelhardt Photo The second week in March marks spring break for the Coast Guard Academy. Like other college students, cadets look forward to spring break as a time to relax and spend more time with family and friends before the second half of the spring semester begins.


Spring break festivities start a little early for 1/c cadets at the Academy, as the Thursday night before break is Billet Night. Billet Night is when 1/c cadets receive their “billet,” or ensign assignment. This assignment tells firsties where they will be living for the first year and a half of their Coast Guard career, what type of work they will be doing, and also lets them know which classmates will be going with them on their assignment. The anticipation and excitement experienced by the firsties trickles down throughout the rest of the corps, and puts everyone in high spirits before heading out on spring break.


Many of the spring sports teams travel during spring break. As part of the Lacrosse team, I left Chase Hall Thursday night (right after the firsties received there billets) en route to Palm Beach, Florida. We played two games the first weekend of the break, and although the results weren’t exactly what my teammates and I wanted, I do believe that the time spent on the bus ride to Florida and the time spent together in Palm Beach did bring us closer together as a team. Hopefully this bonding time will produce future wins as we enter the bulk of our conference game schedule, starting Friday against Central Connecticut.


After we played our two games, the team was released and players were free to do whatever they wanted for the rest of spring break. I meet my parents and girlfriend in Palm Beach, and we proceeded to drive up to Orlando to spend a couple days at Disney World. The Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) office at the Academy always has great deals for service members at various attractions, including Disney, and my family decided to use them! My girlfriend and I stayed an extra day in Disney after my parents headed home, and then spent a day in Savannah, Georgia before driving back up to our hometown in Northern Virginia.


I really enjoyed my spring break as a time I got to spend with teammates, friends, and family. After a restful week, I now feel up to taking on the second half of the semester.


More about James.


Piece Out!

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Culp Photo “Drill down, attention!” The first class cadet in charge calls out to 16 contestants. They snap their heels together and stare straight ahead, unflinching. Pieces (rifles) wait at their sides, steady against the knees. Let the games begin.


Drill Down is a competition for 4/c cadets, testing our dexterity with our pieces, indoc knowledge, and military bearing. Typically there are two cadet participants from each of the eight companies per competition, and every 4/c in the corps is supposed to compete at least once. The contest is split into three rounds. The first round, and most unique, consists of a second class cadet standing in front of you and spinning your piece. You hand it off to him, and while keeping your eyes in the boat (staring only straight ahead), you are to identify when the piece is in the position in which you handed it to the second class. During this round, the second class is asking you indoc questions. You are to answer ONLY a certain kind of question; any others (including “Are you sure about that?”) you must reply to with, “Not a part of my required indoc.” Mistakes are counted as majors and minors; a major is equal to six minors. The second and third rounds test facing movements. The second round is an analysis of the ending position after you have completed a movement (such as an About Face, Right or Left Face, Present Arms, etc.), and the third round judges your execution of the movement. After each round, some of the contestants are eliminated; the last three are deemed the winners.


Being a member of the Regimental Band who had hardly touched her piece since Swab Summer, I was very anxious and didn’t expect much from my participation in Drill Down. Surprising how quickly that went away – I actually had a fantastic time preparing and competing, and I recently took part in a second Drill Down. This one was unique in that there were eight cadets competing against eight officer candidates from the current OCS class. It was really interesting to see how the OCs interact with each other, and I learned a bit about their lives and training. Those Coastguardsmen are following the other primary path to commissioning as an officer – the Coast Guard doesn’t have a ROTC program or anything similar. So perhaps I’ll see some of those OCs I drilled with in the fleet – wouldn’t that be some neat common ground?


More about Abby.


Sledding, Swimming and Spring Break

(Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo Another exciting month has passed! February was the first month during swimming and diving season that I had two free weekends. It was great to have time to spend with my friends and not in the pool. For the long weekend this month I went to my best friend Kelsey’s house in Massachusetts and went sledding for the first time! Growing up in Florida, I have never experienced winter sports so it was awesome to be able to drive ten minutes to a hill that we could sled on. We went with her brothers and they went first so I could watch someone do it before I tried. I didn’t get hurt, which is a plus and I had a ton of fun so it was a great experience.


I also watched a lot of Olympics on the weekends this month. I absolutely love the Olympics and I wasn’t able to watch them during the week due to school and diving so it was nice to get caught up on the weekends.


NEWMACs was also this month, which was an awesome time spent with the swimming and diving team. NEWMACs is our championship meet, which ends the season for most of the swimmers and divers. We did really well as a team and had some pretty big individual highlights. One of the male swimmers made it to nationals for a second time, which is a huge accomplishment. The weekend was very long and tiring, but very rewarding.


Once again, this month flew by and the corps has one more week to get through before SPRING BREAK!! I am so excited to go home and see my family and friends. Even though I was home a couple of months ago it seems like a lifetime. I miss my family and my house so this week cannot go by fast enough!


More about Sara.


From Swim to Water Polo

(Athletics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo At the end of February, swim season finally came to a close. Our NEWMAC championships were at WPI on February 20th through 23rd. Since I missed school on Thursday and Friday, I had a lot of work to catch up on, which made the following week exhausting. Like any other week, though, I found ways to get everything done on time. Things are always busy and stressful here, but if you can learn how to set your priorities and work hard, somehow everything will work out.


When swim season ended, I expected to feel relieved, but I was actually quite sad. I’ve swam year-round for almost as long as I can remember taking only a few weeks off in April and August. Knowing that the varsity season is all that I have anymore and I won’t be practicing officially again until September was surprisingly upsetting to me. I don’t think I’ve ever missed swimming as much as I have the past few days. As with many swimmers, swimming is a love-hate relationship for me. The season is so long and challenging that many times I wish I had chosen an easier sport, but as soon as the season ends, I want to go back to practice. So the day after NEWMACs, I joined the water polo team. I needed to get a second sports credit for this year, and I figured it would keep me in the water. I had never played water polo before except for conditioning with my swim team. I was uncomfortable during the first few practices I went to because I had never done anything but swimming as a sport. I felt like I didn’t fit in because the team had been practicing for a few months already, and I knew I’d have a ton of catching-up to do. The first practice, I really wasn’t sure if I would stick with it. It was so different from swimming, and I had no skills, but as the week went on, the team really welcomed me and everyone began to help me out and give me tips and tricks to the sport. It’s a much shorter season than swim, but I’m really looking forward to having some fun with it.


More about Sarah.


Lights, Camera, Action

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Gurtler Photo Who knew video blogging could be so much fun?! I recognize that I haven’t posted a blog in awhile and this was a great way to get back in the swing of things. It was a pleasure to be interviewed by my classmate, 2/c Justin Sherman, and reflect on my past experiences here at the Academy as well as the opportunities I have in my near future including the cadet musical and my position as the Hotel Company Commander this upcoming Swab Summer. My involvement in numerous activities is not unlike most cadets here, and I am thrilled to be able to share my insights via film. So without further adieu, take a few minutes and watch my interview! Thank you, again, Justin, for your job well done and your efforts in making this interview a success. I think it helped prepare me a little more for my musical debut in ‘Guys and Dolls’ this upcoming weekend! Hope to see you all there!

Victoria's video blog YouTube Icon


More about Victoria.


Can’t Rock This Boat

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo Ahoy shipmates! This video blog was a lot of fun! I had the privilege of interviewing one of my classmates, 2/c Victoria Gurtler, about all the activities she participates in and how she manages to stay on top of her school work and military obligations. She’s been a very successful cadet and has great advice about managing a busy schedule as a Coast Guard cadet. Victoria is going to be in the musical Guys and Dolls next weekend (March 1st and 2nd). Come see the show!

Justin's video blog YouTube Icon


More about Justin.


Second Semester Benefits

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Sandri Photo The second semester started more than a month ago, and these several weeks have been extremely busy. Cadets often refer to January and February as the “Dark Ages” because the days are short and cold, and we are coming back to the grind from spending time at home. However, the second semester has its benefits, and I’m acclimated to Academy life now, so it’s not as stressful.


One of these “benefits” is 4/c boards. The highly anticipated/somewhat dreaded boards packet came out right before winter break, and our first boards exams began the first week of February. The packet consists of 71 pages of indoc information we must know before getting into the fleet this summer. It is a bit intimidating, but we covered a lot of it during Swab Summer and have been taking indoc quizzes throughout the year. I was lucky enough to pass during the first round of boards, which took a lot of weight off my shoulders! Once an individual passes, they are allowed to listen to music out loud and use the whiteboard located outside their room to indicate where they are instead of writing a properly formatted notecard. When the entire company passes, we will get social media privileges, and once the entire class passes we will be granted carry-on.


Before boards could start, the Class of 2017 had to complete an event called 101st night. During 101st night, which is supposed to mark 101 days to go until the 1/c graduate, we reverted to being swabs, and the 2/c became cadre again. We spent a couple hours running around Chase Hall and getting ITed for not knowing our indoc. The next day was 100th day, and the 4/c and 2/c switched places. We put on 2/c shoulder boards and enjoyed full carry-on while the 2/c squared, greeted us and did clocks. The goal of 101st night and 100th day was to help prepare us for boards and boost morale.


The end of 4/c year is still a while away, but it feels like just around the corner because we’re moving at such a fast pace. Something I’m looking forward to is going to the fleet this summer. We just put in for our assignments, but no matter where I end up I know it will be a great experience!


More about Eva.


The End of Forth Class Year

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo February was a huge month for me and my fellow 4/c. This past month, we’ve been working hard to our first round of exams for the semester as well as boards. The month started off with 101st night on February 2 (Super Bowl Sunday). 101st night is an event that takes place when there are 101 days to go until graduation of the current year where 4/c work to earn the shoulder boards of a 2/c of their choosing. Throughout the prior week, we had to complete tasks various tasks given to us by our specific 2/c which included two indoctrination questions, two physical tasks, and two morale or spirit missions. On 101st night, we were treated practically as swabs as the 3/c and 1/c evacuated the halls and the 2/c tested the 4/c on various information we would need to know for boards. My class faced the challenges and earned 100th day privileges for the following day. We earned the white shields of the 2/c we had chosen and were allowed to act as 2/c, looking at our food, talking in the hallways, and using sidewalks. The only downside was that the 2/c acted as 4/c and could do spirit missions to take revenge on my class.


After these festivities ended, boards began. I mentioned boards in my last blog, but basically boards is an oral indoctrination test that each 4/c must take and pass to earn privileges. This year, when an individual passed, he or she could play music out loud and use his or her whiteboard. (Throughout the year, we had to write properly formatted note cards and tape them to the whiteboard outside our rooms anytime we left Chase Hall after 1900 or on the weekends. Now, many of us can use dry-erase markers and just write where we are instead. It is a huge time-saver.) When an entire company passes their boards, we earn social media privileges. We can re-activate our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Skype, and Snapchat accounts. When the whole class of 2017 passes, we’ll earn full carry-on and be able to look at our food, talk to each other in the hallways, and use sidewalks for the rest of our time at the Academy. The goal is for all of us to pass by spring break, which is March 8-16. So far, we have about 15 people in our class left to pass and one week until break. We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s an exciting time for us as we anticipate the end of 4/c year.


More about Sarah.


Coming Back and Loving the Rhythm

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Beck Photo As a fourth-class, coming back from winter break may seem like some kind of forced return to a work camp. We all just spent three weeks looking at our food, choosing what clothes to wear every day, and keeping our minds as far from the Academy as possible. For me, coming back was a little surreal, but as soon as I was surrounded by my company and shipmates I felt right at “home” again.


Don’t get me wrong, the leave was amazing. I spent a lot of time catching up with family and friends and basically doing nothing. I’m from Arizona, so most days I wore shorts and enjoyed the mountains both skiing and hiking with my dad. It was also great to have access to a kitchen every day, and I took full advantage of it experimenting and mostly making a mess.


It didn’t take long to get back in the rhythm of the Academy; the first week back was full of trainings and getting to know a whole new cadet command structure. This semester differs from the last in that all the fourth-class are directed to focus on passing boards above all. There are many things we can still get in trouble for, but we all have our eyes on the prize: carry-on. It’s coming quick and we can’t wait! By this point over half of us have passed our boards, all that’s left is to help those who haven’t passed with study sessions and support and we’ll be on our way to walking the halls like everyone else.


For me, crew practice starts in just a few days. It’s a huge commitment with 10 practices a week but I’m confident staying so busy will only help me manage my time better. I’ll start savoring my free time on Sundays more and (most importantly) eating as much as I want to keep up with the hard work!


That’s about it for now, for all you finishing up your applications and hoping for the best, keep your head up! Don’t be discouraged by waivers or setbacks, it’s all worth it in the end.


More about Laura.


Never Been This Busy

(Athletics, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Cannon Photo Well what can I say, time flies by at the Academy. It has somehow already been six weeks of school, and I am busier than ever. Twice a week, I wake up at 0500 for morning baseball practices, have as many as six classes, and then finish off the day with some good old homework. I can honestly say that I have never been this busy, but I think I like it. In addition, baseball season starts up in two weeks from today! I have been working hard since August to prepare for this season, so it is an understatement to say that I am excited. We open up playing our rivals, Merchant Marine Academy, so it should be a blast! And a little more than a week later, we fly down to Fort Myers, Florida for a spring break trip.


This semester is beginning to move at a rapid pace, but I would rather be fighting for a 3.0 GPA than sliding by the seat of my pants at a civilian college. Anyhow, the only thing on my mind is beating MMA in two weeks. So go Bears, beat MMA!


More about Colton.


So Begins the Dark Ages

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo Traditionally the Dark Ages occur during the Academy from January until spring break in March, when the sun hardly comes out, the schoolwork gets tough, and most of us put on some post-PFE pounds as we are generally bored. While not impossible to go out on liberty every weekend, the snow and ice make it difficult to have a fun time outdoors. Like I mentioned earlier, as cadets, we like to make our own fun when there isn’t any to be had.


During 101st night, or the night before 101 days until the first class graduate, Chase Hall is thrown back into the Swab Summer mindset. We marched “swab-style” to Dimick Auditorium, and the second class cadets, our former cadre, resumed their cadre training roles, running us back up to the barracks. The campus was once again in chaos, with swabs running around Chase Hall: doing Incentive Physical Training, spewing indoc, and doing physical activities with our rifles. While it was fun, and only lasted a night, I’m glad it was over in four hours! It reminded me that being a swab was hard, and how far our class has come since R-Day. The next day, 100th day, or 100 days to go until graduation, the roles reversed. We were granted full carry-on, wore second class’ shoulder boards while the second class cadre braced-up, completed trash orderlies, and had their uniforms inspected.


Speaking of making our own fun, I am currently in my company’s morale division, which is essentially responsible for making sure our company is entertained. So we cured our boredom by making this video with a second class who was our Swab Summer cadre.


Right now my class is in the middle of taking the Coast Guard Indoctrination Boards, or more commonly known just as “boards.” Surprisingly and luckily, I passed the first time! Unfortunately, preparing for boards takes a lot of time away from academics, and I think most of my class, me included, took a hit on the chemistry test last week. But, they say that happens every year. Roughly one in eight of our class has passed, and when we all pass, we are allowed to become “regular” cadets, meaning we can look at our food, and walk, not march, to class. President’s weekend and spring break are on the horizon, and I can barely wait to earn those upper-class privileges soon after. February isn’t as sad and mopey as I thought it would be after all. No matter how hard it gets, a day never goes by that I don’t regret coming here.


More about Will.


Flying Through February

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Mills Photo This second semester has flown by faster than I could have expected! January was a whirlwind but I was wishing for it to pass so I could get to the excitement of February. The core began the month of February with a morale event on Super bowl Sunday called 101st night. It is a morale event for the 2/c and 4/c to switch places for a day. The 4/c earns the 2/c shoulder boards on 101st night. It is also called 101st night because there are only 101 days left to go until graduation. It was a great experience and it was one more obstacle accomplished to get the class of 2017 closer to carry on.


February also started the 4/c boards exams. This is probably the most important military test that the class of 2017 has to take. It is another obstacle before carry-on and the test ensures that we are ready to join the fleet for the first time this coming summer. I was able to pass my boards on the first try on February 11. I was so nervous going into the room, but my 3rd class and shipmates helped me to prepare. My roommate and I celebrated our passing by dancing around in our room to the Frozen soundtrack. A privilege of passing boards is music aloud and being able to write on your whiteboard outside your door. It may seem small but being able to listen to music aloud while folding laundry or doing homework is so awesome.


My next big event for February was that I turned 21 Presidents Day weekend! It is so surreal that this landmark age has finally come upon me. To end my exciting February, we had a water polo competition February 22 in Vermont. Yes, I did take on water polo as my spring sport. Having never played and not being that great of a swimmer, water polo has been a rewarding challenge for me. Anyway, the competition was a great bonding experience for the team and I even got to participate at one point. February overall was a great month and with spring break a week away, I am ready to recharge and relax on a beach with my family.


More about Sydney.


Boards and Beyond

(Athletics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Sakowicz Photo Happy new year everyone! Coming back was a little hard, leaving all my friends at home was sad but I was more than happy to return to my Academy friends. Second semester as a fourth class is infinitely better than it was in the fall. The main reason? Boards. Most fourth class are scared, it’s an oral exam on Coast Guard knowledge learned throughout your fourth class year, but privileges come with it as you pass. Music out loud and no more note cards, it’s a 4/c dream!


Classes this semester are also a lot easier, they are a harder level but after a semester here I have better time management skills. I need it because I am currently playing water polo this semester. It’s a club team and a ton of fun, my teammates are fantastic and the activity helps me relax after a difficult day. Calculus II and Fundamentals of Navigation are probably my favorite classes because navigation is super salty and Calc II is fun.


Spring break is in three weeks so it’s a race to pass boards and do well in my courses before a bunch of my shipmates and I fly down to Puerto Rico for a week. I love the Academy; it allows me to travel and have fun while also learning to be a leader of character.


Feel free to ask me any questions! 



More about Emily.


What Makes It All Worthwhile

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Stowes Photo A few days ago, I received an email from a reader about the Academy. He had several standard questions, but one question in particular stood out to me. He asked, “What makes it all worthwhile?” I think this is a great question for everyone thinking about coming to the Academy. The academics are tough. The day-to-day life is called “the grind” around here because it can be so difficult. We are held to higher standards of appearance, conduct, athleticism, and performance than the vast majority of colleges. Is the effort to deal with all of that really worth it? The answer to me is absolutely yes.


It is up to each reader to determine the answer for themselves, but I have a few ideas to put forth for you if you’re not sure. After graduating from the Academy, you get the honor of serving as a commissioned officer in the Coast Guard (which is a part of the U.S. military). The work you put in at the Academy is aimed at preparing you to succeed as an officer. If you want to be very successful at your job, then putting up with everything at the Academy is well worth it. The Academy is only four years, whereas you have a payback tour of five in the real Coast Guard, so you spend more time using the skills that you learned than you do at the Academy. In the operational Coast Guard, you could be saving people’s lives or performing other jobs that are crucial to the protection and safety of this country.


I am biased toward serving in the Coast Guard as being the most worthwhile aspect of going to the Academy, but another major benefit is that the Academy is totally free to attend. In fact, you get paid to go to school. The value of an education at the Academy, when combined with the costs of food and living expenses, etc., can cost over $400,000. There aren’t many other schools that invest that much money into their students while still paying them. The free education can certainly make the four years here worth it. You get a high level of education and a Bachelor of Science degree in your major upon graduation.


The final major benefit of going to the Academy is that you are guaranteed to have a job after graduation. There is a five year payback tour, as I mentioned before, but after that you may decide to stay in the Coast Guard or move on. After service in the military, many additional job opportunities open up because of the respect that employers have for service in the military. In the current state of our economy, that is a huge benefit.


For anyone interested in the Academy, it is important to have a belief that being at the Academy is worthwhile. It gives you a goal to strive toward as you complete the four years here.


If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at I’m always open for questions!


More about Hunter.


The Music in My Head

(Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Culp Photo Recently, the fourth class began taking boards. We are expected to learn and memorize certain indoctrination information, then go into an oral exam in which we are asked ten questions. Successfully passing the board is the first step to getting back our privileges – walking normally, not having to keep our eyes in the boat, etc. But for my roommate and me, one of the most exciting prospects of passing is… music out loud!!! Right now, we can only listen to our music through headphones. It’s not too bad, but it does make it easier if you can just hit “play” on the computer and jam out while folding laundry on your bed. I’m determining a playlist to blare through the wing area until someone tells me to be quiet…


  1. “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins – Because once we get full carry-on, we’ll all be able to “Cut loose” and act like ourselves again! (I promise that was the only corny one on this list.)
  2. “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas – I challenge you to figure that one out.
  3. “Let It Go” from Frozen – No specific reason, I just really like this song. It makes for one great karaoke session.
  4. “Animal” by Def Leppard – Once we get all of our privileges, Chase Hall will sound like a zoo for a few days, because fourth class love to hear themselves talk in the passageways.
  5. “The Parting Glass” by The Wailin’ Jennys – After I pass boards, I’m going to reward myself by watching “The Walking Dead” all weekend.
  6. “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk – Over Swab Summer, you’re not going to hear very much music. Occasionally, though, there’ll be a quick song here or there. This one was one of the first ones I heard while actually in Chase; then on Eagle, it seemed like it was being played constantly! So, I have some of the fonder Swab Summer memories associated with it (yeah, those do exist).
  7. “Courageous: by Casting Crowns – It’s one of my favorite Christian songs, with a great beat to it, from a movie I love.
  8. “Turn the Page” by Bruce Springsteen – It mentions Omaha.
  9. “Paradise” by Coldplay – I didn’t start listening to Coldplay until I got to the Academy, and now they’re one of my favorite bands. Right now, I think being able to look at my food constitutes a significant part of my definition of paradise.
  10. “Defying Gravity” from Wicked – One of my goals is to learn to sing this song one day (such a great range…). So I’ll be learning it by listening to it constantly, and hoping that it grows on my roommate.

So, there’s a lot to look forward to these next few weeks. Wish us luck! Soon enough, there will be all sorts of dissonance floating through the wing areas!


More about Abby.