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cadet blogs

Balancing Academics

(Academics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2014) Permanent link   All Posts
 Meredith Anderson Coming back this year, I thought, “hey, I’m not a fourth class, I have carry on, this year is going to be a breeze.” Boy, was I wrong. Yes, I moved up in the ranks in the Corps of Cadets, but I also managed to increase the number of hours worth of things I put into each day. This semester, on top of my academic overload, I am being pulled in multiple directions from my various extracurricular activities.

Academically this year, I am taking 22.5 credits. My schedule contains the following classes: Peer Tutoring (1 credit), Mechanics of Materials (3.5 credits), American Government (3 credits), Criminal Justice (3 credits), Multivariable Calculus (3 credits), Professional Rescuer (2 credits), Physics I (4 credits) and Leadership and Organizational Behavior (3 credits) and Offshore Sail Racing, which is simply a placeholder allowing me to have last period off. Midterm grades last week were bittersweet—although my cumulative GPA dropped a little bit, my average is still high enough to earn me a Gold Star (having a GPA of over 3.15).

The peer tutoring in my schedule requires me to spend 25 hours tutoring over the course of the semester, which I am finding to be nowhere near as difficult as I thought it would be at the beginning of the semester. Originally, I didn’t think it was going to be doable, but surprisingly enough, many of the underclassmen have started coming to me when they need help with things, and halfway through the semester, I have over 20 hours of tutoring.

Although my schedule says Offshore Sail Racing, I am on the Dinghy Sailing team as a heavy crew. We travel just about every weekend, unless it’s a home regatta, and last year the team ranked 8th in national championships. This year, the fall season has been interesting to say the least, as almost every regatta has had either no wind or too much wind. My parents have come to two different regattas to see me, and have been disappointed by the weather not permitting me to sail.

Also this year, I went on the Catholic Labor Day retreat. Last year, I didn’t go, but this year, because I didn’t go home and my parents didn’t come up for Labor Day weekend, I decided to go on the retreat. It was one of the best choices I could have made. I got to know some of the new fourth class really well, outside of Chase Hall, in a non-military environment. We had a great time strengthening not only our faith but our relationships with other members of the Catholic Club. While we were at the retreat center, we prayed, played games and even got to spend some time with the ex-Choir directors, Ma and Pa Bowen.

Finally, I got the chance to return to the Naval Justice School as a juror for their closing exercises of a mock trial. The trial I sat in on had Coasties arguing both sides, as well as the Chief Judge for the Coast Guard judging the mock exercises. I learned many things from them and gained valuable insight. I love when opportunities such as that arise, because it gives me perspective on possible career paths, even though I am no longer a government major.

At the end of last year, I switched my major from government to civil engineering. Although in my heart, I love government and know that’s what I want to do in the future with my career, I’m accepting civil engineering as my new major at the Academy as a challenge of sorts. I want to prove to myself that I am capable of surviving as an engineer, and also to be able to be empathetic to engineers in the future, after I've become involved in a legal career path. The engineering faculty here has been great in helping me switch my major, pass my engineering classes, and even allow me to take as many government-related classes as is physically possible.

Having said this about the faculty in the engineering department, I should stress that every department here is like that. The math department is helping me to continue passing my math courses, especially multivariable calculus. The government and legal departments, although they keep trying to convince me to come back to the government major, are still supporting me. They allowed me to take a junior year course during my sophomore year, just to keep government in my life. They have also encouraged me to get involved and stay involved in mock trial, just to keep myself sharp and well versed in legal matters.

Overall, this year has been tough, and at times disheartening. But then there are the days that are awesome to balance it out. Days where I get a test back and did great, days where it’s really windy on the water and we race well. Days when I don’t have a lot of work and have a little bit of down time to hang out with my friends. And let me be very clear. Although days like that may be few, and far between, it’s worth waiting for them, because they are what make this place the awesome experience that it is.

More about Meredith.