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cadet blogs

Class is my Extracurricular Activity

(Athletics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Beck Photo Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had quite a few opportunities to participate in different activities offered by clubs and sports. Between Sustainability Club, the Spectrum Council, and crew, every week has something (or somethings) to keep me excited.


Most recently, representatives from the food co-operative in town, Fiddleheads, came to speak with the Sustainability Club and brought snacks! We were all fascinated by the co-operative business model and the entrepreneurial spirit of those who started Fiddleheads. Without this small grocer, it could be difficult to find unquestionably healthy foods in the area. Fiddleheads also strives to keep local items on the shelves, a much easier task in the summer but still attainable year-round. I’ve volunteered there in the past and really like the connection to the community I gain by interacting with the store’s patrons.


Also recently, the Spectrum Council hosted a panel of gay and transgender service members, active and retired, enlisted and officers. It is so exciting to be a member of the military during this time of transition following the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and being able to openly attend such a panel and see how many proud supporters exist is truly inspiring. A common theme brought up was how the panel felt they were being treated by their peers and subordinates and how they deal with insensitive but culturally popular remarks. The best response came from a Navy lieutenant who gave examples of how humor could be used to keep interactions from getting awkward. I mostly feel pride in the professionalism of my peers that I experience in support of different lifestyles all around us, from sexual preference all the way to religious tolerance.


Finally, there’s crew. This season has had its share of windy days that keep us on land, but we make the most of it and work hard to improve fitness and strength. This week we ramp up to championships and I’m really excited to see how we fare. I’ve never rowed before but the intense teamwork and focus are a great change of pace after each academic day.


Summer is coming! I’ll be heading to the Fast Response Cutter William Flores in Miami, Florida then switching over to Eagle for the last six weeks of my summer. I’m so excited to be underway and under the sunshine! These last three weeks can’t go by fast enough.



More about Laura.


From Boring to Books

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo As spring slowly creeps into Connecticut, I find it hard to focus on schoolwork with the warm breezes flowing through the now-open windows in our classrooms. Half of my mind is already at my summer assignment, the Sequoia, a 225’ buoy tender from…Guam! Spring semester the third time around has been, in some ways, boring (for lack of a better term). Perhaps routine is a better word: life just seems so rote. Wake up, get breakfast, go to class, eat lunch, class, run, dinner, homework, bed, repeat. It’s that time of year where the first class cadets get senioritis and the rest of us get “summer-itis” (again, for lack of a better word). Not that life hasn’t been busy and that there aren’t things to be focusing on! I’m still working on a video blog from FEBRUARY! Hopefully I can get it out before the end of the semester in just three short weeks!


Anyway, I am happy to say that I have found a wonderful way to combat the boredom (severe cabin fever?). Books! I think perhaps part of my boredom is that I actually do have more free time now that I am an upper-class, so instead of frantically running from place to place doing this and that, I actually have time to just sit and read. It’s been fantastic. There are some nights when I just put the homework aside (it’s usually not due until the day following the next given our alternating days class schedule) and lie in bed with a fiction novel. Other nights, my roommate and I both read in bed before falling asleep. It’s hard to explain, but it’s wonderful. The sense of adventure is great as is the emotional excitement, charge, and catharsis one gets from a particularly gripping novel. I carry my book with me everywhere so that, if I get a have free second here or there, I can read it.


I didn’t do much “fun reading” in my first two years here, so now I have to make up for it! I discovered that our library even has a fiction section—and here I thought it was just a research library. I’ve found many great books to read, and I’m happy to say that my reading list is, for the time being, at least, getting shorter…slowly but surely. I’ve heard many people say that great leaders read a lot. I hope that’s true, and I hope that as I continue here at the Academy and eventually out in the fleet that I continue to read all types of books—fiction and non-fiction alike. The summers have always been great times to catch up on reading and I’m looking forward to this one for sure! My cutter will be making the journey from Hawaii to Guam, so when I’m not learning how to navigate and steer the cutter or what the signs of a failing engine are, when I’m not staring across the endless Pacific, I’ll be reading…probably inside to save my skin from the harsh tropical sun (along with my many books, I’ll be bringing many bottles of sunscreen). And when we’re in port, I’ll bring a book to the beach and attempt to get some semblance of a tan.


Needless to say, reading is great—I’ve always loved it, and I’m glad to be getting back into it and finding a great cure to an otherwise relatively mundane semester.


Happy spring! Go Bears and go books!



More about Justin.