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cadet blogs

Running Through Freshman Year

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Kearney Photo My hands were numb as I stood staring off at the edges of the Atlantic on a cold New England beach; the wind whipped right through my jacket on that cloudy day. I had just gone out for a run, and found myself looking down at my feet where lay three roses, evenly spaced, placed at the edge of the tide for some unknown reason. For me, they represented my past, present, and future. I looked up and saw off in the distance the orange of a Coast Guard response boat cutting across the horizon. There ahead of me was the future, of the people I would be working with, of the mission I would soon be accomplishing. Watching as the boat whisked out of view, I slowly took a step back, turned, and started running the six miles back to the Academy.


Freshman year has been quite the workout – physically, mentally, and emotionally. It seems like yesterday when I made the decision to come here. I mean, it was only just a year ago. I wrapped up the end of my high school career, enjoyed my last few weeks with friends and family, and said goodbye to the first chapters of my life. But that’s in the past now.


Nearing the end of the first year here, I look back at what I have done. Academics here are the hardest I have ever faced. Your time is limited. First semester, I had many nights where I was up until 2 a.m. finishing homework. Perhaps many students do that at a civilian college, but when you have to get up at 6 a.m. and dress into a uniform, the daily struggle to climb out of bed is real. Regardless, I have made some of the greatest friends I have ever had here, which makes life so much better when you face challenges together. I’ve been able to compete at Boston University and at The Armory in New York City for track, and I have heard some wonderful speakers who have come to the Academy ranging from the Secretary of Homeland Security to Harvard graduates and admirals alike.


Now at present day, freshman rules will soon no longer apply to the Class of 2019. No more squaring meals, no more squaring corners, and we’ll get social media back. The summer will be here and if everything goes as planned, I’ll be off to Hawaii and then Europe. For vacation you ask? No, I’ll be there for sailing, training, and learning experiences. Tuition free education and some pretty awesome places to travel for work are not a bad way to top off my first year of college, my first year as a cadet, and my first year of the future.


More about Alex.