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cadet blogs

Running Through Freshman Year

 Permanent link
Kearney Photo My hands were numb as I stood staring off at the edges of the Atlantic on a cold New England beach; the wind whipped right through my jacket on that cloudy day. I had just gone out for a run, and found myself looking down at my feet where lay three roses, evenly spaced, placed at the edge of the tide for some unknown reason. For me, they represented my past, present, and future. I looked up and saw off in the distance the orange of a Coast Guard response boat cutting across the horizon. There ahead of me was the future, of the people I would be working with, of the mission I would soon be accomplishing. Watching as the boat whisked out of view, I slowly took a step back, turned, and started running the six miles back to the Academy.


Freshman year has been quite the workout – physically, mentally, and emotionally. It seems like yesterday when I made the decision to come here. I mean, it was only just a year ago. I wrapped up the end of my high school career, enjoyed my last few weeks with friends and family, and said goodbye to the first chapters of my life. But that’s in the past now.


Nearing the end of the first year here, I look back at what I have done. Academics here are the hardest I have ever faced. Your time is limited. First semester, I had many nights where I was up until 2 a.m. finishing homework. Perhaps many students do that at a civilian college, but when you have to get up at 6 a.m. and dress into a uniform, the daily struggle to climb out of bed is real. Regardless, I have made some of the greatest friends I have ever had here, which makes life so much better when you face challenges together. I’ve been able to compete at Boston University and at The Armory in New York City for track, and I have heard some wonderful speakers who have come to the Academy ranging from the Secretary of Homeland Security to Harvard graduates and admirals alike.


Now at present day, freshman rules will soon no longer apply to the Class of 2019. No more squaring meals, no more squaring corners, and we’ll get social media back. The summer will be here and if everything goes as planned, I’ll be off to Hawaii and then Europe. For vacation you ask? No, I’ll be there for sailing, training, and learning experiences. Tuition free education and some pretty awesome places to travel for work are not a bad way to top off my first year of college, my first year as a cadet, and my first year of the future.


More about Alex.


The Journey of Boards

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Sharp Photo Biggest news to date: I passed boards during the week of February 17th! Now, if you understand what this statement means, then feel free to stop reading here. For those that do not understand, let us venture on a little journey together.


It all started on R-Day; the day my life changed forever. My shipmates of the Class of 2019 reported to the Academy on June 29, 2015 and immediately got screamed at. We ran around sweating for a few hours, saw our parents for five minutes, and then returned to the grind for the rest of the summer. (Side note: I never fully understood why they let us see our parents after a few hours of running around on that first date. It’s like dangling a piece of bacon in front of a newly “discovered” vegetarian. The only plausible reason it would serve is to weed out the people who want to go home right then and there… but still.) Anyway, one of the best parts of R-Day, and even Swab Summer as a whole, is a little something the cadre call “indoc.” Sounds fun, right? WRONG. For the life of me, I cannot do indoc. What the heck is this demon, you ask? Well, my friends, it is short for “indoctrination,” which is a big, fancy word for random facts about the Coast Guard that some higher-up person thought we should all know. Some of these things are downright insane – like the 250-word response that is proper to answer the question “what time is it?” or the one that talks about a “cow…” Needless to say, I found no point in learning indoc. I would literally rather push deck (do push-ups) for hours on end instead of knowing the length, beam, draft, and displacement of Healy.


This mentality worked over Swab Summer because we pushed deck all the time anyway. But, then the school year rolled around, midterms came, the second semester started, and there I was. Little 4/c Sharp in complete denial of all things indoc. Still. It hit me the day before my first board that this was, like, an actual thing. You see, in order to advance a rank (to go from 4/c to 3/c) everyone must pass boards. When our whole class passes boards, we can get social media back, so the stakes are fairly high. I really did not want to be the last one in my class to pass because I hate holding back my shipmates. But, there was only so much indoc I could cram into my head within a 24-hour period. So I studied. Hard. And, with the help of a few people, I somehow managed to get a 6/10. You need at least an 8, however. After that first board, I accepted the fact that I would probably pass last in my class. But I was not about to give up.


The Journey of Boards (Continued) PDF 

More about Kirsten.