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cadet blogs

Just An Applicant

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Krakower Photo As I pause between lots of homework, I reflect on something that has happened to me recently. There was a prospective cadet (a visiting high school senior) in October that came to Echo Company. He was not my prospective cadet, but I found out that he played lacrosse, so we talked a bit. He seemed pretty cool, and we just kept talking about lacrosse, his senior year, and his application process. Eventually we parted ways, and I wished him luck. His almost-required thanks came out, but it seemed to be much more full of gratitude than the other applicants I had talked too. Nevertheless, that was it, and once again concentrated on my own prospective cadet.


Every so often, I do get responses from Academy hopefuls due to these blogs, and they’re great. I love getting in contact with them and wishing them well on their way to appointment or to other tracks of life. Well, a few days ago I got a response from none other than the prospective cadet from Michigan, saying he was in the same situation as I had been in: he was being medically disqualified, but for him, it was about years-old asthma, not non-existent psoriasis. He, too, had already been accepted prior to getting disqualified. What got me was this part of his opening paragraph:


“But yes, I want to attend the USCGA with everything in me, and I don't think I could even bare to get this close just to have it stripped away by something like this. I intend to do everything possible to get to the USCGA.” 


The flashback that came to me was a painful one. When I got my medical rejection letter, I threw it on the ground, ran upstairs to my room, sat on my bed, and just looked at the ceiling. At that very moment, it seemed that everything I had worked for was for nothing. The fact that I knew this kid was feeling that same feeling got me thinking. No one should have to go through that. To be accepted and then denied through medical hurts pretty bad.


I immediately responded, giving all the advice I could about how to approach the situation. We again talked lacrosse (we’re 9-1, by the way) and at this point I really wanted the kid to get accepted. He had everything that I remembered I had going into this place – dreams to go to an elite school while playing lacrosse and ending up with a commission in a U.S. armed service. It’s so easy to forget that’s why we’re here, and how fortunate we are to attend USCGA. It’s a privilege, nowhere near a right or obligation. We continued the conversation until we had said pretty much all that could be said, and he again thanked me and told me he’d update me as soon as there was stuff to be updated on.


For his sake, and mine, I truly hope he gets the waiver. There are kids beyond dedicated to coming here, with expired medical issues that no longer affect them, and still get rejected. Nevertheless, it’s just another roadblock, and no matter what, I have the firm belief that the senior from Michigan will be going places, whether it’s USCGA or elsewhere.


It’s not just the Academy and cadets that have an impact on the prospective cadets. Sometimes those prospective cadets have an impact on the cadets themselves.


More about Sam.


Time Machine for a Day

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Kukich Photo This second video blog is a brief collection of the events that occurred on the class of 2016's one hundredth day at the Academy. On this day, as per tradition, the class of 2014, our former Swab Summer cadre, acted like 4/c cadets and the class of 2016 acted like 2/c cadets. 100th day is one of my best memories from 4/c year and of the Academy as a whole experience.

Sarah's video blog YouTube Icon


More about Sarah.


A Shot in the Dark

(Athletics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Chavarria-Aguilar Photo Never in my right mind would I have ever imagined myself to be in the position that I am today. Twice a week, instead of rushing down to the gym after class, I find myself quietly making my way to the bowels of Chase Hall and onto the rifle range. For the following two hours I stand, kneel, and lie prone through round after round of practice. On the weekends, we whisk ourselves away in the Academy vans to compete against other teams. Other times, we stay here and host matches.


Rifle is one of the two NCAA Division I varsity sports offered here at the Academy (the other is sailing). However, despite this unique position, our sport usually goes unnoticed by most. Rifle does not require the kind of physical exertion that other sports are known for. There is no impact, little sweat, and a peculiar kind of athleticism associated with our sport. In light of this downplay, I am finally giving credit where it is due. Not only do we work as hard as any other sport, we have one of the longest seasons here.


Rifle has opened many doors for me. Initially, I was skeptical about the sport and joining was a shot in the dark for me (pun intended). I had no idea what to expect. However, the outcome has presented me with many more possibilities than I could have anticipated. For starters, rifle allowed me to participate in a varsity extracurricular activity despite my injury. As I have found out that I will not be able to row for the remainder of my time here, rifle has also given me the opportunity to learn a new skill and improve myself in a whole new way. I have many new friends on the team; people I would have probably never spoken to otherwise. Also, since the start of the 2012-2013 season, our team has come a long way. We even moved up from the sharpshooter to the expert small bore division. Every single person on the team has achieved personal records this year, and we fought our way into the Mid-Atlantic Conference Championship for air rifle. Although we didn’t win, everyone shot really well and we are really excited about what we will be capable of next year.


More about Alexis.


A World of Possibilities

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Chavarria-Aguilar Photo For me, the start of a new semester is probably one of my favorite times of the year. Right now, the Academy teems with all sorts of emotions and activities as cadets prepare for a fresh start. Looking around, I see a world of possibilities. Embracing my friends as they return from a much-needed winter break, we rally around our revived ambitions. This semester, indeed, will surely be better than the last. Likewise, I find myself wearing a smile fueled by hope as I navigate through our Mid-year Academic Preparation (MAP) week. Unlike folks at normal colleges, cadets report back to school early in order to make arrangements for the new semester. The routine is usually the same: we move rooms/roommates, we get new divisions/departments, there is a change of command, as well as new books, class schedules, and a variety of trainings/meetings. Nonetheless, there is ample time to catch up with friends and take one last sigh of relaxation before classes begin.


Looking at my schedule, my lips press into a thin line, my optimistic grin fading ever so slightly. In my hands is the real deal - my first real taste of being a Mechanical Engineer major. Dynamics, Engineering Material Science, Differential Equations, Physics II, Ships and Maritime Systems, Applications of Navigation, Spatial Recognition, and Lifetime Sports (racquetball/golf). Of course, a handful of these classes are simply required courses for all 3/c cadets. However, a part of me trembles at the difficulty of my schedule. Sometimes, and yes I am not afraid to admit this, I wonder why I thought engineering was a good idea at all. Why jump into the unknown, challenging world of mathematics and science when I could be perfectly comfortable doing something I’m good at (reading and writing) in a completely different academic department.


I suppose a part of me couldn’t resist. You see, I am wired with this odd, innate tendency to see a challenge and run after it, rather than away from it. I also know that engineering, despite how harrowing the material is, will keep every single graduate school opportunity open for me. Although I do not know if I will go, or what I would pursue if I did, a part of me relishes the idea that this is still a possibility simply because of the major I have chosen. And like I said before, right now is the time to savor all of these possibilities, including what next week’s classes will hold.


More about Alexis.