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cadet blogs

Tanning in the Desert

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2013) Permanent link
Ward Photo The third part of my summer was spent at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I worked in the Robotics Department on an assortment of projects. Most of what I did was spend time in front of a computer researching how to work with programming and certain electronics. It was frustrating at times, especially the start when I had no concept of how/where to begin, but the people were awesome and the time flew by. The working environment at Sandia was so different from the Academy and military in general. The hours weren’t as structured, the uniform was civilian clothes and I was a first name basis with everyone, including people with multiple Ph.D.s. I went biking with my boss and co-workers, I attended trainings and heard guest speakers, and I met with other faculty and staff to learn about their missions and jobs. I can’t speak of most of what I saw, but it opened my eyes to the possibilities of engineering and studying outside of the Coast Guard.


Outside of work, other the students from other service academies and I went on road trips, hiking, biking, on trams, out to eat, celebrated a few 21st birthdays, went swimming in a diving hole, explored the Carlsbad Caverns, went sledding on white sand, and just generally explored the area until time ran out and we left for our three weeks of leave at home.


More about Jessica.


Neverland No More

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo Last year (fourth class year) and through the summer, I struggled to come to terms with the fact that I am an adult—and one that is practically living “independently” (as in, not relying on my parents for much of anything). I felt as if time had stopped and I had stopped growing up at 17.5 years (middle of my senior year). Academics last year seemed strikingly like high school, and this summer felt oddly like a giant, regimented summer camp. Honestly, I was frustrated that I didn’t feel older, more mature. Until I returned to the Academy in the middle of August for the start of classes.


A number of factors contributed to my new sense of adulthood. First there was a new class below mine; we were no longer the “little ones.” Instead we are now the ones looking out for the fourth class. In addition, there are greater responsibilities placed on the third class (3/c)—such as being in charge of a day of watch (duty).


Academics also played a role in my perception change. This year I am taking more major-specific classes. While my course schedule has always been slightly different than my peers’ (as a result of the five classes validated [tested-out of]), this year everyone is taking classes in their major. There is a more diversified range of classes among my classmates; it no longer feels as if we are too young to pick our own classes, so they (the mysterious “they”) assign us all the same course load. But back to my major, Marine and Environmental Science (MES), the simple fact that I am taking classes to develop myself as a marine and environmental scientist astonishes me. I’m working toward being something—somebody—I will be for the rest of my life/professional career. I had this epiphany the other night as I was working on a detailed lab report about a local estuary; that made me feel like a college student.


And finally, I’ve taken on leadership roles in my extracurricular activities, too, which has required me to embrace a higher level of responsibility. I am a media specialist (as I call myself) for both Officers’ Christian Fellowship and the Sustainability Club (check out the video I made to promote the club: under ‘Videos’ on lower right hand side of the page). I attend the leadership meetings for OCF and make decisions about the Sustainability Club with the two other presidents and the advisers of the club.


I would say that all that time I thought had stopped has caught up with me, which required me to grow up quickly—or at least feel more grown up practically overnight. Sure, I’m still the spastic teenager (I’m still only 19) who likes jumping up and down to loud music and running around trying to lift others’ spirits by doing crazy things (like writing pop song parodies about classes or being a 4/c cadet), but when I step back and assess my life, comparing it to who I was a year ago, I feel more mature. But that’s just me…


More about Justin.