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cadet blogs


(Academics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Chavarria-Aguilar Photo So, I've unfortunately learned yet another lesson the hard way, and as the end of the semester approaches ever so quickly, I am struggling to get my grades where I want them. In all honesty, this semester has been one heck of a ride with many ups and plenty of downs. I like to describe my spring finals as something of a blur, which usually happens when everything starts to run together. I just hope I did well enough to reach my own goals. There is no doubt that our academics are challenging, and it can sometimes be easy to settle for mediocrity; however, I try to maintain a high standard for myself. Unfortunately, I now have to teach myself to accept the fact that I may not have reached that standard this time around, but that everything will be okay nonetheless. I urge whoever is reading this to do the same. Learn from your failures and aim to improve next time. If you do not get an appointment, but still wish to attend the Academy, keep working for it. Your perseverance will pay off in the end.


On a completely different note (a much lighter one at that), the crew team did a fantastic job at the New England Championships. I'm proud of everyone, especially the novice ladies of Emerson. We had a fantastic season as the tiniest crew Coast Guard has ever witnessed; congratulations to everyone. I'm looking forward to tearing up the Thames again next season!


With my fourth class year nearly behind me, I have much to look forward to here. It is difficult to describe how arduous this year has been, and they often say fourth class year is the hardest. However, I sometimes get the feeling that phrase is only true in certain aspects. I guess we will have to wait and see.


More about Alexis.


April Showers and Busy Hours (Part Two)

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo So where does this all put me? I’ve now been in the Coast Guard for roughly ten months, the whole time living at the Academy. For about ten months I’ve been a 4/c cadet: braced up, squaring, keeping my eyes in the boat, doing clocks, knowing indoc, taking out trash, cleaning the passageways, standing watch. So, the question for me is, “so what?” Honestly, I’m having trouble thinking of something to write. (That’s a new one for me!)


I can definitely say that 4/c year went by extremely quickly. It’s incredible to think that it’s over, and in a few short days (after graduation), I’ll be a 3/c cadet! I’ll have full carry on, and all the duties that once fell on me will now fall to the class of 2016. We won’t be the “little ones” anymore; we’re going to be the mentors, the ones that the 4/c look to for guidance and help. It’s exciting, that’s for sure.


It’s fun to think about what I was doing a year ago at this time. Last May I had just finished my AP exams, and with three weeks of school left, I was basically riding it easy (class-wise); I was also tying up loose ends and prepping my successors for the clubs that I ran. I was planning summer get-togethers with friends—those one-more-time-before-I-leave-for-the-summer/Academy meetings and coffee breaks and breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that seemed to keep popping up right up until I left for Swab Summer. I was planning a graduation party with two of my friends. I was hitting the gym harder, running farther and faster, and psyching myself up for the intense summer that lay ahead—less than 50 days to go! Wow, I was really excited for Swab Summer! It seemed like the Academy came up in every conversation (much to the annoyance of my friends, I’m sure). Every day I eagerly checked the mail for any new information—the packing list, the company assignments, the R-Day agenda—anything that would bring me one step closer to the Academy. I had never been so excited to go out and buy tube socks!


Perhaps what is giving me such an issue with this reflection is the fact that being a 4/c just kind of…ended. There was no big celebration, no culminating event. Basically one day I was at the Academy squaring, etc. and the next I was out in the fleet. My friends and classmates had been scattered across the country—there was not congratulating or cheering. Anticlimactic is probably the best word for it. I’m sure the excitement of seeing the new swabs/fourth class in August will be enough of a celebration—then we will officially, 100%, never-be-a-fourth-class-again, 3/c cadets!


One thing I learned about the Academy that I would not have been able to understand until I was actually there is that time moves so quickly there yet at the same time, it seems like ages have passed. Thinking back to first semester, or even the beginning of the second semester, the Academy seems so different. Again, this is hard to explain exactly what I mean, so I apologize for that.


As I hope you’ve been able to tell from my blogs, I have had a fantastic time over the past year. I can say—although it’s been said so many times before—that I’ve made many friends, learned loads of information, and had awesome opportunities. But my past year has to get more than that boring sentence. Of course, it is hard to put ten months’ worth of experiences into a few short words.


I also don’t have an overwhelming sense that I’ve changed (on the inside). Sure, maybe my parents and friends may see some changes, but I don’t feel like a new, different, or improved person. OK, so I now have more knowledge in areas I didn’t have before—specifically with regards to military customs and procedures—and I am more aware of certain actions (such as walking and talking on the cell phone or eating while wearing a hat). Yet there is still that “but…”. I just can’t place my finger on what follows that conjunction.


Swab Summer was a challenge, but I still had an unbelievably fun time! 4/c year was difficult, but I overcame the obstacles and managed to enjoy myself in the process. The past few months were certainly not all fun and games, but I am so pleased to be at the Academy. Not once have I second guessed my choice to come here (as opposed to a civilian college). Eh, so I had a few more parameters to follow than most college students, but my experiences this year—as well as the ones in my future—were (and are) absolutely worth giving up some of the “perks” of civilian college life.


With that I say so long. To the class of 2016, good luck! And to all the rest, have a great summer!


More about Justin.