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cadet blogs

The Upcoming Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Townsend Photo As this week comes to an end we are all even closer to the end of another semester at the Coast Guard Academy. At times it seems as if the world speeds up its rotation because this semester had flown by and everyone is starting to reminisce about another school year coming to an end. The first class cadets just received their billets for their first assignments afloat and all of the second and fourth classes are anxiously awaiting our summer assignment billets. The summer is always a training period for all classes so that we can continue to learn and grow even when we are not in school. Your first training summer is Swab Summer where, for most people, it is their first experience in a military environment and they have to learn and adapt to this lifestyle. Then you move on to 3/c summer where you have your first involvement in the Coast Guard fleet. The majority of 3/c go on CGC Eagle for half of the summer and then to another CG unit for the rest of the summer. During 2/c summer you are cadre for the incoming class, and it is your job to train the swabs to ensure that they are able to become part of the corps once the fall semester starts.


This coming summer I will be experiencing my 1/c summer, where I will learn valuable leadership traits that I hope to apply during my 1/c school year and when I become an ensign. I will go out to the fleet again to experience more hands-on missions of the Coast Guard and to decide what I want to do for my future in the Coast Guard. I hope to go to CGC Eagle again for half of the summer because of the exceptional leadership opportunities that are offered and then I hope to go to a buoy tender on the West Coast for the rest of the summer.


More about Brianna.


Words of Wisdom

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Chavarria-Aguilar Photo On one balmy October morning as I was trudging, disgruntled, out of my morning Mechanics of Materials (MoM) class, I happened upon one of my other instructors. I was in no mood for small talk, frustrated with my current academic struggles, but we chatted nonetheless. I soon asked him where he was off to. With a huge grin he replied, "I'm going to meet Captain Burbank!"


My jaw dropped, "You mean, the Captain Burbank? As in the Coast Guard captain, aviator, astronaut?"


"Well of course," he laughed, "Dan and I are old buddies from when he used to teach here at the Academy. He's in the parking lot right now."


Captain Burbank had come to the Academy to give the engineers and aviation club a presentation during lunch; he also attended Aviation Day that Saturday. In a sad attempt to bottle my excitement, I asked Doc Adrezin if I could meet him before my next class. He nodded and gestured for me to follow. As I stepped outside I could see a figure in a royal blue flight suit approach us. I squinted against the sun as Doc Adrezin waved to him. Moments later, I found myself in the presence of one of my childhood idols. Doc Adrezin introduced us and I shyly expressed my gratitude for the inspiration he has been. Not only did he ask me to call him "Dan," but he also gave some much needed words of wisdom. Doc Adrezin had joked about how Captain Burbank should tutor me in MoM, and although I was a bit embarrassed, I admitted that the class was indeed a struggle for me. With a confident, knowledgeable tone Captain Burbank said, "If it's not a struggle, then it's not worth doing." He then smiled and wished me luck. Shaking his hand, I thanked him. We parted ways, and I ventured off to my next class standing a little taller than before.


More about Alexis.


The Late Night Woes

(Academics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Belanger Photo Its dark, taps just went off, I have signed in for the night, its 10 p.m. and I am ready for bed. Sadly, it is only the start of my night. A lot of my friends at a “normal school” talk to me about the nights that they go to bed at 9 o'clock if they aren’t feeling too well. They were able to finish their homework during the evening, and throughout their day. Here at the Academy, it is definitely not that easy. After a long day of class, finishing around 4 p.m. we then go to our respective sports practice. Luckily for me, I do not necessarily have to go to sports. (I do inter-company sports, which counts as my sports credit.) I do tend to workout during this time frame. After running back to the barracks, I take my shower and get dressed to go to dinner. Having a pretty decent meal, I return to my room to see what I have to accomplish for the rest of the night. It’s now about 7:30 and I begin to start my list, Chemistry online homework due tomorrow night, Calculus homework due tomorrow morning, Statics of Engineering and Design homework due tomorrow afternoon with an exam the next Thursday, reading 58 pages and taking notes for Leaders in American History, and writing a paper and doing research that is due this upcoming Friday. Oh yeah, on top of that I have to go to a corps-wide lecture tomorrow night, there is a Personnel Inspection on Wednesday morning, and a formal room and wing this Saturday. (A formal room and wing is an event in which the 4/c clean the barracks. It is an all-night affair.) This is an average week in the life of a cadet at the United States Coast Guard Academy.


The Academy is not like a normal college at all. We have about 20-22 credit hours per semester, where each professor expects you to spend the same amount or more time on their class, than all of your other classes. Yes, we do not have to make the decision of which outfit to wear, or when to go to work, or worry about a car payment, etc. but we have a very stressful lifestyle. Every day I wake up I have a to-do list. Every night when I go to sleep it seems the list is longer. I am going to be honest with you, my readers, life is difficult and it is a hard transition from high school and even prep school. A lot of my shipmates, along with me, are having a tough semester. We, however, all see the light, even though it is dim right now, at the end of the tunnel and cannot wait to get our ensign shoulder boards in the short time frame…only 1130 days to go…


More about Nathan.