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cadet blogs

Advice from a 4/c

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link   All Posts
Roesch Photo So here I am, another typical Saturday morning at the USCGA for a 4/c. Avoiding the long list of homework I have to tackle over the next 48 hours, I decided to clean up my room (I promise this is totally normal!). In cleaning my room, I found a box of letters I received over Swab Summer. It was so weird to read them all and realize how quickly time flies. I mean, in about a week I will be on my 3/c summer assignment. I felt like I would never become a 3/c and I would be squaring and yelling at clocks forever! My 4/c year is quickly coming to an end – THANK GOODNESS…I mean, oh darn – how sad! Just kidding, 4/c year can really be a bummer. But honestly, as long as you take everything with a grain of salt you should be fine. I decided to dedicate this blog to giving some of advice from what I learned from my past summer for all of those out there anxiously awaiting your own Swab Summer 2013. So, here it goes:
  1. Do NOT take anything too seriously. Respect your cadre and learn from them, but don’t overanalyze the comments they may make. They’re there to point out everything wrong you’re doing, but that’s only to make you a better 4/c. Do not think you are a bad person for doing something wrong because at some point you WILL make a mistake. Learn from them, and grow from them. Most importantly, don’t let it get you down.
  2. If you feel like you want to quit, just remember everything that made you want to come here in the first place. Keep in mind how proud everyone is of you back home, and never lose sight of the goals that you have.
  3. Learn to be flexible. Sometimes things don’t go the way you planned and be ready for that. This one may not make much sense right now, but once you’re here, you’ll get it!
  4. Please, only bring what is required on the packing list…really…take this one to heart. Don’t be lugging around unnecessary things on R-Day.
  5. If you ever feel like you want to up and leave and just “be normal” or go to “normal college,” please re-think that. Give this place a shot and never quit. Yeah sure, other college kids get to sleep in and wear what they want to class (if they feel like going), but how many of them get to be on the fast track to leadership within the Coast Guard? How many spend their summer training to save lives and make a difference in the world? Swab Summer may feel very inconsequential to your overall officer career, and it might be in the whole scheme of things, but it’s where we (cadets) all have our start, so I think that’s pretty darn significant! Just keep in mind the impact you will have one day within the USCG while you’re doing your pushups because you looked down for 1/5 of a second. :)


As always, if you have any questions about cadet life or Swab Summer (because that was me just a short year ago!) feel free to ask at

Good luck to all the future swabs and AIMsters this summer!


More about Allie.