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cadet blogs

Things to Know Before Saying “Yes”

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link   All Posts
Twarog Photo It was right around this time last year that I officially committed to the Coast Guard Academy, and I’ll be entirely honest, this last year has been both the longest and the shortest of my life. My time in high school feels like a lifetime ago and yet it’s hard to believe that I took the oath on R-Day only seven months ago. As the Class of 2020 prepares to accept or decline their appointments in the coming months, I’d figure I’d share some insight into this place that I wish I’d known before coming in.

 


  • Have a good reason to want to come here. I’ll tell you right now, this place is very hard at times. Simply coming here because you won’t be shelling out any money for an education isn’t enough. You don’t necessarily have to want to be a career military officer (I honestly don’t foresee myself making a career with the Coast Guard), but you need a good reason to come here.
  • If you accept, you are going to question your decision. Even if you’ve wanted to come here since you were 10 years old, there are going to be days when you want to quit. For me, this hit me hard coming back from winter break. Even though I’ve wanted to come here since sophomore year in high school, for a couple of weeks, I was in a funk where I was very seriously considering transferring to another school. The reasons for this were complicated, but my point is that it’s normal to question your decision.
  • The Academy is a cycle of highs and lows. The lows are tough like I’ve already described, but the highs are indescribable… Since getting in, I’ve raced my first Olympic-distance triathlon, sailed on Eagle, become a volunteer firefighter, joined the U.S. Military Cycling Team, ate lunch with the Commandant of the Coast Guard and marched in NYC on Veterans Day. You will have opportunities here that you wouldn’t ever have other places.
  • The bond you share with your shipmates here can’t be simply summed up with the word “friendship”. You’ll form bonds that can’t be described. Even though you might be moving away from home, you’ll have a family at the Academy you can rely on.
  • Home won’t feel quite the same when you finally go back. This isn’t a bad thing by any stretch, it’s just…different. You’ll discover who you really consider to be your friends from back home. Part of this is because you don’t have social media your fourth class year, so you have to make an effort to stay in touch with your friends. Not only this, but people tend to drift in different directions once they head off to college. Your core values might not necessarily align with theirs as time progresses. Even beyond this, you might not necessarily be able to relate to a lot of what your friends are going through, and the opposite is certainly the case. That being said, the friendships that remain are going to last a lifetime.
  • My final insight/unsolicited piece of advice is HAVE FUN. Not only is this true at the Academy, but as you go into your final months of high school, enjoy them (responsibly) as much as you can. Go hiking, seek out random adventures, eat good food, travel whenever possible, laugh a lot, start a bucket list and cross off as many bullets as possible. Live life to its fullest.

Congrats to everyone who gets accepted into the Class of 2020, and if you have any questions feel more than free to reach out to me at my email (Evan.J.Twarog@uscga.edu).

 

More about Evan.