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cadet blogs

October: Month of Madness

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Simon Photo Midterms! Crew! Parents’ Weekend! Oh my! My apologies for the lame Wizard of Oz reference, shipmates. Nonetheless, this allusion accurately sums up October for me here at the Academy.


First, let me just say that there is something about autumn in New England that is just so incredible. The trees and foliage are the most amazing shades of red and orange. I had the opportunity to visit a local cider mill and corn maze earlier this month—quintessential New England!


With October coming to a close, it’s strange to think that we are closer to the end of the semester than the beginning. Midterms were earlier this month, and let’s just say that it was a week of stress, studying, and test after test. Despite all of the pressure that led up to midterms and the subsequent pressure that is associated with that week, I am pleased to say that all of my studying paid off, as I did well on my midterm exams.


Parents’ Weekend was the first weekend of October, and it was great to see my parents, grandparents, and my best friend, Naomi. I had a crew regatta on Parents’ Weekend in Shelton, Connecticut. While my family missed watching the regimental review on Saturday morning, they were ecstatic to watch the men and women of the oar take on some tough competition on the Housatonic River. I was the coxswain for two races that weekend—once in the Women’s V4+ and the Women’s V8+. We raced well, and it was great for all of our families and friends to see just how much work we had put in since starting the season when we came back from leave in August. Being from the desert, my family had never seen a crew regatta, and they had a great time! I was so fortunate that they could be here to watch us race.


We also had our final regatta of the season, Head of the Charles, in Boston, Massachusetts at the end of October. This regatta is one of the largest races in the world. More than 9,000 athletes and 1,900 boats from all over the world come to Boston to compete on the Charles River. It was a huge honor to be able to represent USCGA. We raced three boats (the women raced a 4 and an 8, and the men raced a 4). The men’s team came in 8th place out of 46 boats in their race! Definitely an amazing feat!


With November on the horizon, I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving and spending time with my family. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me at!


More about Lili.


The Light is Getting Brighter!

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Bilodeau Photo This semester is very tough. If I am not doing homework then I am at volleyball or taking care of military obligations. I have at least one quiz or a test nearly every day. The middle of the semester seemed to drag on, but it is picking back up. Before midterms I was questioning my purpose at the Academy. Since then, I am a lot more optimistic and I am able to see more into the future. I talked with my academic advisor, who is a lieutenant that graduated from the Academy, and she really helped me gain a perspective and appreciate this opportunity. I try to remember to think about the real world everyday and appreciate the little things.


I saw my parents three weekends in a row in October. They came down for Parents’ Weekend, then we had a volleyball tournament at Bowdoin College in Maine, and the following weekend I was granted the privilege to attend my cousins wedding. It was wonderful seeing my family and spending time with my sister who I hadn’t seen in ten months.


The light at the end of the tunnel is becoming brighter. I can see the end of the semester on the horizon. November always seems to fly by, then after Thanksgiving there is only a week and a half until finals. This week is Aviation Week, which is very exciting because I have a strong desire to go to flight school. Tonight there is an “Ops Spotlight” where I get to learn about the life of an aviator. Thinking about the limitless possibilities for the future is one of the things that make the Academy worthwhile.


More about Christina.


Easily the Best Weekend Ever!

(Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo Last weekend was the 48th Head of the Charles (, the world’s largest two-day crew regatta. The men’s team had a four (a smaller boat consisting of four rowers and a cox’n) competing.


First, a little about the race. The Head of the Charles, in Boston, Massachusetts, is easily the championship regatta of the fall season. It is 5K in length, and the course twists its way through six bridges and several major turns. Many people call it the “ultimate coxswain’s race,” and having raced last weekend, I can easily understand why. The bridges make the race more complex: your boat is going full pressure under a span barely wide enough to fit two boats yet other cox’ns try to fit three boats there, and two of the bridges have particularly hairy turns. The Weeks Footbridge turn requires you to set up early and turn about fifty degrees in the space of ten strokes. But even more intimidating is the Eliot turn. Leading up to the Eliot Bridge, in the final mile of the course, is a long, 180-degree turn followed by a hard starboard turn under the Eliot. Many crews have rowed well on this course, but some crews (like the U.S. National team this year) suffer spectacular crashes with either abutments or other boats. I spent the entire week before preparing for the race by reviewing the map, memorizing turns, and fretting about every little thing that could possibly go wrong.


We left on Friday morning and arrived at the course early that afternoon. Because men’s crew doesn’t have any decent four-person shells, our coach, Junior National coach Steve Hargis, borrowed a boat from a club in Pittsburgh. (He’s an amazing man—literally a legend! Everyone in the rowing world seems to know him.) After finding our boat and rigging it, we did a walk-through of the race. The team laughs because I was really nervous—I was hollering at other boats and calling the warm-up like a race because I was so nervous. The team dinner that night was hysterical. Coach Hargis had so many great stories about his days rowing—and coaching—at CGA. (He’s a 1980 alumnus.) Even better was the ten hours of sleep on a soft bed!


Easily the Best Weekend Ever! (Continued) PDF Icon 


More about Peter.


Where to Begin?

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Keeley Photo Let’s see, where to begin? So when you first begin the school year, everything is hectic and you feel overwhelmed with obligations that no one is keeping track of but you. You have to deal with your doctor appointments and running to get sized for and pick up your uniforms. You have clocks and duty and comp chomp and much more that you don’t understand the point of. By the fourth week of the year, the craziness dies down as you begin to get into a routine. This is the point where I was enjoying myself. I felt like an adult, finally on my own, dealing with my own money and buying my own food. I felt extremely proud of what I had accomplished by that point because I had never had time to think of how far I’d come.


Now however, it is a different story. Like every good thing in life, the routine got old and boring. Going through the motions with little sleep and a heavy but manageable workload started to take a toll on me as I counted down the days until the next leave (literally, because during clocks where we have to say the days to go until leave).


I am not saying that my life here has lost its appeal in any way. I don’t want to use a cliché but life here is one giant and bipolar roller coaster. My roommate and I barge into our room screaming about something stupid that made us mad or, wining about something silly that made us sad, or laughing at something completely ridiculous that only one who has been cooped up in a tiny space with few privileges would find funny. I am so glad that my roommate and I get along. If not, we would be complaining about one another to our friends constantly. Instead, we accept each other’s crazy mood swings and don’t dwell on them or bring them up outside of our room.


On a different note, I want to emphasize how ridiculously quick time is flying by. The days are long but the weeks and months have gone by so fast. I cannot believe it is already October. Many privileges are just around the corner and it feels like just yesterday that our Guidon was saying it would take months before we would be allowed to wear running suits or flip flops during study hour.


Well, that’s it. Class starts in 10 minutes. I will write again soon.


4/c Keeley


More about Melissa.


Why I Wanted to Be a Student Blogger

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Miller Photo The first time I stepped foot on campus was June 24th, 2012—the day before R-Day. I didn’t do AIM, or Cadet for Day, because they weren’t possible options for me.


But I didn’t come completely un-informed or ill-prepared—the weeks before reporting, I spent a lot of time on the Academy website, trying to glean as much as I could about it as possible. The cadet blogs were one of the reasons why I felt like I could handle Swab Summer. All of the contributors had made it through. Some even shared stories about their experiences. I was also able to read about experiences the cadets went through during the school year. Their stories gave me events to look forward to.


Even before I knew about the benefits about being a blogger, I wanted to be one. The blogs had so much impact on me, and I want to be able to have that impact on other people, to convince them to come to the Academy, if they truly want to. I also enjoy writing—before I was accepted here, I was considering English as a major.


As a blogger, I will be more than willing to answer questions from anyone who emails me. I love to talk about my experiences, and I know that a lot of potential fourth-class will have a ton of questions, because I did. The cadet blogs were an instrumental part in my mindset toward the Academy, and I hope to have the same effect on future potential students.


More about Caroline.


Fourth Class Adventures

(Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Corcoran Photo What’s the point of all work but no play?


After a long night of cleaning for the formal room and wing inspection on Saturday, October 20th, the corps of cadets were rewarded a short weekend for their hard work, mostly due to Bravo Company senior fourth class (the cadet in charge of organizing all of the fourth class in their respective company), Abigail Isaacs, my roommate. Abby did such a good job organizing all of the fourth class to clean for formal room and wing that our company came in first in the inspection. As a result, my good friend and fellow cadet blogger, Caroline Miller and I decided to take the Amtrak to Boston for the first time in our lives. We ended up taking what the Bostonian natives like to call the “T” to Harvard Square, where we watched the Coast Guard Academy rowing team compete in the Head of the Charles. An interesting thing we observed was a boat in the shape of a Mini Cooper, something definitely not normally seen at the Academy. It was nice to be able to get away from campus after a long, hard week of work and be able to wear civilian clothes and let our hair down, something 4/c cadets are only allowed to do when 75 or more miles away.


Exhausted from our day, Caroline and I fell asleep on the train ride home. Having been asleep for quite some time, the train attendant must have assumed we had to get off soon. He awoke Caroline who was sitting on the outside seat by trying to guess her rank.


The attendant muttered, “Ensign…Lieutenant…Lieutenant Commander…”


I was glad the man thought so highly of us, considering most people do not even think I am eighteen years old yet. It was better to be associated as an officer than as a train attendant, which many people who are boarding the train tend to think.


More about Samantha.


A Long Four Months

(Class of 2012) Permanent link
Shih Photo ENS Shih here from Dutch Harbor, Alaska. It’s been a while blogging community… I’ve been four months underway and I finally have my underway EOW qualification. It took a lot of hard work and studying but finally I am standing qualified watches and the drawings of the engine rooms in Hawaii seem like a distant memory. In just a few days, I am going to fly off the ship and head down to San Diego to attend Damage Control Assistant (DCA) school. It’s an exciting time a) because I am going to a Navy School (some rumors about mandatory 2 hour lunch breaks???) and b) because I am going to San Diego (after being in the Arctic for months)! After attending that school, I will have the knowledge and expertise to train all other crew members on damage control, and be in charge of fighting fires and flooding that might occur on the ship. Good stuff. Hoping to attend Boarding Officer (BO) school after that. We’ll see.


It has been a long past four months, but like any semester at the Academy it seems like at the end of it, time has flown by. You struggle through it, but at the end you appreciate it. The thirty day stints at sea are no joke, and being on a ship can be hard, both physically and mentally. Sometimes you feel like you are in a bubble, trapped with nowhere to go. The world flies by around you, and although you get pieces of it, you are in your own small city onboard a ship. I have to say that being on a Legend Class cutter is not the easiest platform to be to. We go out longer than nearly all the other ships in the Coast Guard, 4 to 5 month patrols, with 30 day periods where we do not see land. Although the ships are brand new, that still does not mean they are perfect in manpower requirements or their new systems. As with any relatively new project, there are kinks that still needed to be worked out, and it takes tremendous effort on all sides of the house to ensure things run smoothly. But, for all the times of frustration and difficulty onboard a big white boat, it also has its moments. Seeing the Northern Lights, getting your own personal customized “Shih” pizza from the crew, becoming a Polar Bear in the Arctic waters with hundreds of your shipmates – it’s the type of things that I will never forget even if I don’t continue down the afloat career path.


Well, I know this was brief but I have a tremendous amount of work to do before I leave the ship. I’ll check in sometime soon. But please email me at or if you have any questions!


More about Chris.


Transitioning as a 3c

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Zwenger Photo So a lot of things are changing around the Academy right now. We now have family style breakfast every morning. On top of that, since we have family style breakfast every day, the process of taking a late rack is a lot more complicated that it was last year. I guess the whole point of me telling y’all my problems is so one I can vent about it, and two because it helps me realize that change is always going to happen. The corps really doesn’t have any other option but to cope with what we have and try to make the best of it. Which leads me to say that this is kind of a trend here at the Academy. Changes are made, people complain about it, and then the people get used to it. It seems that sometimes when changes need to be made for the good the it takes a long time, but when changes are less positive (in the eyes of a cadets) it happens overnight. To me there seems to be some sort of disconnect there.


I’m sure y’all have heard enough of my complaining so there were two things dawned on me this month. One is that I have a lot of division work this year, a lot more than last year. Last year all I had to take care of was myself and ensure that my grades were up to par. This year I am responsible for my grades in addition to making sure my fourth class’ grades are not poor. Oh, by the way, getting greeted all the time by the fourth class gets old after about a week, sometimes you just want them to have a regular conversation with you without them calling you sir. Anyway, aside from what every third class is responsible for I am in prospective cadet division, so I am the one that assigns the visiting prospective cadets to the host cadets. So chances are if you’ve been here this semester I was the one that paired you with the cadet. And since we have prospective cadets coming in almost every week, we stay extremely busy as a division. Which, as I said, is a lot more that what I was doing last year.


As for my personal life, the most amazing weekend and best single day of my life happened over Labor Day weekend. I went to a musical festival in New York City in Randall’s Island Park. It’s called Electric Zoo. If you’re at all familiar with dance music you probably know that this is one of the best music festivals on the East Coast. People that were there included Steve Aoki, Bingo Players, Skrillex, Tiesto, Benny Benassi, etc. In fact the reason that Sunday was the greatest day of my life was because I got to see Tiesto and Skrillex in the front row. On closing night at a festival that hosts around 100,000 people, that’s kind of a hard spot to get to. Honestly, I can’t even begin to describe how much fun I had. The only way to understand is to go. I spent $800 that weekend; I do not regret spending a dime of it. In fact I’ve already bought my ticket for next year. Electric Zoo 2013! Any questions feel free to email me.


More about Spencer.


This is Not an 'Individual Sport'

(Athletics, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Lukasik Photo From time to time, those of us on the CGA Triathlon Team are still fortunate enough to hear from ENS Ian King, our former club president who graduated last May. After the standard, “hello” and “how are you?” and initial moments to catch up, what Ian always manages to mention is just how much he misses the team. He expresses to us just how different triathlon is outside the world of collegiate athletics and outside the Academy. Out in the “real world”, triathlon is very much an individual pursuit; you go to races, stay in your hotel, wake up on race morning, go through your personal routine, sometimes with a friend or family member along, but that’s the extent of it. The focus is on you, your abilities, and your race. Enjoy the team while you can, Ian tells us, because it’s a truly special dynamic that you won’t find anywhere else.


This outlook never really occurred to me. To me, triathlon has always been a sort of “group event.” When I ran my first tri at Lake Lanier, Georgia back in high school, we made a family occasion out of it – my mom ran the race as well, and my dad, aunt, uncle, and cousins all came up to get a cabin at the lake for the weekend. From that setting, I transferred straight to the CGA Tri Team that Ian so fondly describes. I’ve never been exposed to the world of triathlon as an “individual sport.” Yes, you’re given an individual time, but for me, this has always been a team sport just like any other. Tri season is over for the year, but looking back on our two biggest races this season, while my personal performances aren’t memorable, the team’s performance, and even its simple presence, at each event made those two weekends the best of my fall semester.


On September 8th and 9th the Tri Team was down in Washington, D.C. for the Nation’s Triathlon. It was our first major race of the season, and we had a lot of new athletes on the team, many who’d never run a tri in their life, much less than the full 32+ mile Olympic distance that Nation’s entailed. It was a fun weekend, but with the amount of travel and workload it required, it was a “trying” one (if you’ll pardon the pun). Nonetheless…we had 15 people racing. To put that in perspective, that’s more racers for this one event than we’ve had total active members on the team in some years past. It’s fantastic, seeing how this team’s grown.


And having a large team is a huge part of what makes triathlon fun. Yes, you run each race “alone” at your pace – but each race, each course, is its own small “adventure” that you undertake together. Between two stops in the transition area, out-and-backs on the bike, turnarounds on the run, you’re almost guaranteed to see your teammates at some point during the race. And when there are a full 15 of us proudly sporting USCGA jerseys out on the course, we see each other a lot – and every time brings a smile to my face. It’s really hard to care about how much your muscles are aching when you can look around and say, “Oh look, there’s Mary. YEAH, GO MARY!” It’s really hard to want to quit when you see your teammate running a little farther ahead of you than usual and you realize, “Wow, Kyle’s having a really good race. YEAH, GO KYLE!” There’s distance between each of us on the course…but our acute awareness of each other cuts that distance down to nothing. We’re all in it together.


This is Not an “Individual Sport” (Continued) PDF Icon  


More about Jessie.


O Canada!

(Academics, Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
White Photo Wow, it’s been really busy lately. Between midterms and band, I’ve had barely any time. It’s always nice when they give you three tests in one day, so you can get all your studying and test taking done at once! But, that’s October for you. It will be nice when November comes around and I’ll have that time of (minor) relaxation before it’s time to start studying for finals.


A couple of weeks ago, the Windjammers took our annual trip to Montreal, Canada to play for McGill University. We all had a blast as we showed McGill the hard work and time we’ve put into our show. Roaming around the city afterwards was pretty cool too. It’s an enlightening experience to be able to travel to different countries and experience different cultures. I am always amazed at, even though we all have our differences, how similar we still are to each other.


However, I’m back at the Academy now and I need to get ready for the rest of the semester. There are still plenty of Windjammer events to go to (one every weekend for a couple of weeks still), tests to study for, and trainings to receive. It’s a busy time of the year, but I find that relief after you’ve accomplished a lot to be well worth the work put forth to get it. Although, as much as I like that feeling, I’d rather not experience it every week.


Halloween is starting to work its way around the Academy. Morale is starting to climb as we approach this holiday centered around fun. There were some concerns about the tradition of Trick-or-Treating Admiral’s house, but to the corps’ relief, they’ve been resolved.


I don’t have much more. Although I’ve been busy, it’s pretty much all the same kind of things. I hope to have more for you guys next month. I’ll have been to New York then, for the Veteran’s Day Parade, and the Academy should be getting ready for Thanksgiving.


More about James.


Special Events at the Academy: PARENTS’ WEEKEND

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2013) Permanent link
Andreasen Photo October 5, 2012 at the Coast Guard Academy: this marked the beginning to one of the most special weekends of the fall semester, Parents’ Weekend. This year I was involved in the planning of Parents’ Weekend, which provided me with an insight to how much effort a special event requires. It also took me back to my 4/c year as I saw cadets with their parents and remembered my family’s first visit. Though my parents did not visit this year, I had the opportunity to see so many rejuvenated cadets and excited family members. I will cherish these memories as I cherish the time spent with my family.


Parents’ Weekend also brings the beginning of preparations for midterms. The semester is nearly at the halfway point by this time and cadets are already preoccupied with thoughts of Thanksgiving and even Christmas, while of course painstakingly studying for midterm examinations. Despite the daunting promise of future exams and essays (as a true Government major can respect), these will be my favorite days at the Academy. I am always excited for the leaves to turn bright and then watch them float lazily to the ground. A New England autumn always promises color and pumpkin flavored everything. As I type, I’m sure there are cadets in Chase Hall decorating their rooms for the upcoming festivities and counting down the days to Halloween.


More about Brooklyn.


Incredible Experiences

(Academics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Roesch Photo Well, it is only the middle of October and I have already had some incredible experiences. In the middle of September I went to Air Station in Cape Cod, Massachusetts for the pilot shadow program (thank you, Aviation Club!). It was one of the most amazing things I have done in my whole life! I was fortunate enough to get a chance to ride in a Jayhawk. Needless to say I am aiming for flight school when I graduate – but that is thinking really far ahead. The flight team and I flew to a local police and fire station’s open house BBQ in Cape Cod where we gave tours of the helo to the community. It was so great to have the locals come up to me and thank me for my service. All they could say was how much they appreciated the Coast Guard and all we do to protect the country and our oceans. I also happened to be the only female in that flight, so many of the women who toured the helo were impressed and gave me words of encouragement. Coast Guard aviation is definitely an awesome job to look into.


Then just this past weekend I went to New York City with the Glee Club to sing at the Coast Guard Foundation dinner. That was so much fun! I felt famous walking into the Marriott Marquis in Times Square having a dressing room reserved for us – talk about cool, right? We also got the chance to walk around the city before we performed which was nice, especially as a 4/c. Having these opportunities to get off campus and have fun is definitely a good way to relax from the demanding life that the Academy presents.


Recently, we got midterm grades – I have all A’s and B’s! I honestly can say that my grades would have not been this good had I not gone to prep school. Having the prior knowledge in Chemistry and Calculus takes a lot of weight off of my shoulders allowing for more time to study other subjects and make time for sports and clubs. I know this sounds so cliché, but time management is CRUCIAL here. You need to figure out how to balance your life with school, military obligations, sports, and things that make you happy to keep you motivated.


As always, if you ever have any questions feel free to email me. I will gladly write back and give you open and honest answers: Good luck to all those applying for the class of 2017! The class of 2016 can’t wait for your arrival… :)


More about Allie.


Earning Your Own

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Patron Photo The first semester of my 2/c year has been great! I love my classes. This semester I am taking Spanish III, Criminal Justice, Principal of Electrical Engineering, Tennis/Personal Defense II, Public Policy Making, and International Relations. My most favorite class is Criminal Justice because it is an introduction to the justice system in the Armed Forces. From murder to neglect, we analyze case studies and apply them to key concepts.


This year is also very exciting because graduation is on the horizon. When I as applying to the Academy, a mentor of mine gave me his class ring from the Naval Academy. He was a former prep and he understood the anticipation I was going through during the application process and facing prep school. He told me “Kid, hold on to this until you have a chance to earn your own.” Speechless, I accepted his class ring and promised I would earn mine. A few months later he came to me and demanded I give back his ring. Shocked and confused I gave it back. He then said, “Now you can earn your own...” I took his words to heart and now I find myself as a 2/c – I am earning my own ring and there is no better sense of pride. The class ring to me signifies more than mere gold, this ring means sacrifice and commitment.


More about Jennifer.


Parents’/Family Weekend

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Martin Photo What does October mean? Parents’ Weekend, of course! Going from seeing your parents every day to seeing them three times a year is a big change. Parents’ Weekend is one of those three times a year for me where I get to spend some time with my family, but is also a time for them to see a hint of what my usual day-to-day is like. This year my parents, brother, sister, and aunt were able to fly up for almost a week to see me on the weekend and to see the surrounding area for the remaining days.


I have never eaten so much food in one weekend before in my life! By the end of the weekend I was in pain, mostly from the two pounds of fried fish I ate right before. The week prior to Parents’ Weekend in Marine Biology lab, the lab technician brought in freshly caught oysters and clams for us to try since we were studying mollusks. Not a bad lab, right? Because my lab teacher got me hooked on oysters and clams, we ate oysters, clams, or mussels at every meal along with plenty of other seafood. Being from Arizona, fresh seafood is hard to come by so my family wanted to take advantage of it while they were here and I was not going to complain! By the end of the weekend, I’m amazed there was any left in the New England area. Captain Scott’s is a must go during the summer (it’s open seasonally) for fresh, fried seafood. Also, can’t miss Bravo Bravo and the Daniel Packer Inne in Mystic. We walked around Harkness State Park and Fort Trumbull State Park, always nice. No matter what we do, it’s a good to see family, especially when I can’t see them for Thanksgiving because of the price of a ticket home.


October also means mid-terms. This next week I get to take five exams! Once I’m over this hill, then I get a little break until the next round of tests. I just have to keep on chugging and keep looking toward Thanksgiving.


More about Matt.


The Good and the Bad

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Townsend Photo You always go through rough patches in your life when it seems that nothing can go your way no matter what you do. At the Academy it sometimes feels as if these moments happen a lot, because there is not a lot that you have control over. I recently had a tough time when two of my friends were put in a difficult situation and may have to leave the Academy because of it. The beauty of the Academy though is that even during times like this everyone is there for each other. I have never felt a bond like this before between our class because we all care so greatly for each other. I am so thankful that there are people in the world that simply just ask how you are because they are genuinely concerned and want to help you. I know that it is never an act because once you enter the Coast Guard you become a family that cares for each other and will always be there.


I am glad that people could be there for me and this situation has taught me a lot about people in general. I know that there will always be someone there to lift you up when you are down. I know that I can use this when I go to the fleet too because there are always going to be tough times in everyone’s lives and I will be there for anyone else just like when everyone was there for me.


When bad moments come it always brings great moments as well. For instance, this past weekend was Parents’ Weekend at the Academy and everyone had their family members visit and spend time together. I think this weekend is very refreshing for cadets as we get to relax and be with our loved ones. I went home for the weekend because I live nearby and I got to spend a lot of time with my parents and sisters whom I have not seen for a bit of time. It was a very relaxing weekend filled with sleep and memories. I look forward to weekends like this and hopefully they will occur more often than the rough times that I have had lately, but regardless I know I will get through it with the help of my friends and family.


More about Brianna.


Balancing Life

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Ellis Photo It’s that time of year again, the leaves are changing and the air is getting chilly. These past few weeks have been crazy. I cannot believe that I am already halfway through my first semester. I have been so busy with sailing and academics and the military stuff that time has almost literally flown by.


Sailing has been great! I’ve gone to a regatta every weekend, so I’ve traveled from St Mary’s College of Maryland to Dartmouth! I’ve had so much fun with the team and I’ve learned a lot too. We are doing well, at the moment the women’s team is in 15th in the nation. We have a lot of fun planned, like dressing up at practice and carving pumpkins! We are also working hard since we have our qualifiers soon.


Academically, the Academy has been fairly easy for me. However, I am always busy doing homework and studying. I get a lot of help from my classmates and my teachers; everyone is really willing to help here. I can’t believe that I’m halfway through the semester. I am already counting down the days to go until Thanksgiving. And only a week after that I have Christmas leave! It will be nice to have a break; it will be my first real break since June!


Here in Chase Hall, everything is going well. All of us 4/c’s are doing our fourth class stuff. We are squaring our corners and meals, and yelling indoc at clocks, and making sure our uniforms look good. We are kept busy doing little annoying tasks, like cleaning the bathroom and taking out the trash. It isn’t hard; it just takes up our time. I just like to think about the fact that in another year, I will have so much more time since I won’t be doing these things. Also one of the perks of having to know my meals is that I can decide what I’m going to eat every day!


Needless to say, my life here at the Academy is going really well. School, sailing and military things are keeping me busy. The key is to just keep your morale up. I don’t let many things upset me because I remember where I am and how lucky I am to be here.


More about Kayla.


Officers’ Christian Fellowship and Crew

(Athletics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Carani Photo I can’t believe how fast the first half of the semester has come and gone. I got to fly home to Illinois for Labor Day weekend and my parents came out to the Academy for Parents’ Weekend, so it’s been a good few weeks! Labor Day was nice to go home, relax, watch my brother in high school play soccer, and hang out with my girlfriend. And Parents’ Weekend was a lot of fun as my parents got to come to Officers’ Christian Fellowship (OCF) with me, got to see me race at the Head of the Housatonic, and I got a couple of days to hang out with them! We went to the PEZ factory in Orange, Connecticut…I didn’t even know the PEZ factory existed, but it was a lot of fun!


The weeks here fly by because you’re so busy with military trainings, classes, sports practice, and homework, but sometimes the weekends are just as busy. So far we’ve had three official races for crew and one unofficial (The Head of the Thames, my favorite because it is so local), and these races really take up a large amount of time on the weekends, but they are also the most fun parts of the week. There are two things I always look forward to with the weekend, Friday Night Fellowship with OCF, and crew regattas or just hanging out with the crew team. Even if we don’t have a race on any given weekend, we always make sure to do something as a team. Whether that means going to the beach, going out to eat, or having one of the famous crew “bro-bq’s,” there’s always something going on that I know will be a great, fun time. The best part is, whether I’ve had a good day, bad day, or bad week, and no matter what I have going on in Chase Hall, OCF is always a place where I can relax and spend time worshipping God and studying the Bible, and crew practice is always a place where I can be a normal person, and just hang out and work hard with a bunch of really good friends.


Although each year may get harder and harder as you gain more responsibility and more work, life also gets better and better as you grow closer to the friends that you make here. I don’t know what I would do without all of the great friendships that I have, especially the crew team. Even though I have awesome encouraging parents back home in Illinois, and an amazing supportive girlfriend out in Minnesota, I still need support here at the Academy, and for me that support comes from the crew team, and OCF. I’m so blessed to have all of these amazing things in my life! September was a good month, and October is shaping up to be just as great! I can’t wait for Thanksgiving!


More about Luke.


The ‘Rents Are Here

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Rossi Photo A time-honored tradition, known as Parents’ Weekend, is probably one of the best weekends here at the Academy for many reasons. The first and most obvious is because a majority of cadets get to see their families and spend time with them. Another is because of the life and enjoyment the parents bring to the Academy. It is very refreshing to interact, meet, and see the parents exploring our campus. Lastly, the best part of Parents’ Weekend is our parents get a little taste of what we go through on a day-to-day basis. After the weekend they’ll have more appreciation for what we do and will understand why we can sometimes get upset or stressed out. This is a great thing for them to experience because the next time they get a call and their cadet is having a bad day, they can give better advice and be more understanding of the circumstances. I personally find this very important because although we all like to think that we are grown up and mature adults, we still need that person to vent to. And who better to vent to than your family because they will always be there for you.


More about Michael.


In Full Swing

(Athletics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Wright PhotoThings this month have definitely been very hectic. The first weekend in September was Labor Day so my parents came and I got to spend some time with them. From the moment they left until now I have been counting down the day until I get to see them again. This upcoming weekend is Parents’ Weekend and I can’t wait to show my sister and my parents a little bit of what my life here at the Academy is like. In between the 32 days of waiting a lot has gone on here at the Academy. School has been pretty difficult and at times I feel like I am completely overwhelmed with the number of things I have going on, but the one thing I have learned is that there are an abundance of people willing to help you succeed.


With the school year getting in full swing, this month our rowing season started. To my surprise rowing is a lot more difficult than I thought it was going to be. I wasn’t really a fan of the sport until we had our first race last weekend. It was awesome, although we were the only college novice boat in the race we did amazing. We enjoyed telling people that we got first place. This upcoming weekend, and only our second race, we will be competing in the world’s largest one-day regatta. I’m kind of nervous but really excited to show my parents what rowing is all about and have another successful race with my teammates.


More about Jessica.


A Running Start

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Wright PhotoSo, the contrast from Swab Summer (our indoctrination summer) to now was pretty interesting. The summer flew by, the days were long but the weeks were short, that seems to be the way things go here at the Academy. I learned more than I ever thought was possible to learn in seven weeks and made some great friends. Right at the conclusion of Swab Summer we had one administrative week where we got everything we would need for the academic year and tired our best to learn how things work when the entire core came back. It was an odd adjustment, going from being told where to be every second of the day for seven weeks to operating on your own; we kind of forgot how to function independently.


Now that the school year has started, things are a lot different around the campus. It has shifted from military mode to academic mode with school work being everyone’s main priority. Being a 4/c (freshman) some of the menial tasks we are given get frustrating but I can’t help thinking that this only lasts a year and all I have to do it get through it. Despite that stuff, the Academy is a great place to be. I’m glad that this is where I ended up and look forward to the new challenge that every day brings.


More about Jessica.



(Academics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2015) Permanent link
White PhotoWow, it’s been a busy week.


On top of writing my first few posts for the cadet blog, I had four tests this week. Luckily, I found the time to study for them and did alright on all of them. That’s one of the cool things about this place, it teaches you time management skills pretty well, whether you want to learn the lesson or not.


Well, now that this week is over, I can start thinking about the next week. This month is the Windjammer’s trip to the “Big E,” New England’s fair. We will be representing the Academy by playing pieces of our show and leading the parade. Of course, we’ll have some down time afterwards to enjoy the event because all work and no play makes me tired. I went to this event last year and had a blast. Everyone there was very appreciative of our country’s servicemen and women and made sure we were all having a good time. It was a good motivator and reminder to keep reaching to become an officer. I can’t wait to go again.


Next week isn’t looking too bad. I have a few more tests again, but none are going to be that daunting. I know when I have time to study, what needs to be done and, of course, my shipmates to help me out if I need it.


I’ll talk to you all again next month. Go Bears!


More about James.


Managing My Time

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2016) Permanent link
 Trefonides PhotoThe friends I’ve made here at the Academy during my first month are great. Playing soccer and being a part of the team – great. The pizza and chocolate milk – great. My instructors, aside from only a couple – great. But my first month in general – just alright.


Adjusting to school work has been tough for me. Academics in high school were never really a big issue, but here, and I’m sure any college as well, coursework is a lot more rigorous. Finding enough time to do homework has been a struggle, and unfortunately I usually end up having to do homework and study during the time when I wish I could be sleeping. I am getting pretty good grades, but I have to work on finding a way to manage my time so that I can get good grades and enough sleep, too.


Still, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Cadets here are working toward receiving a reputable Bachelors of Science degree and a commission as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. I’m always busy, but this is my job and I am getting paid to be here, so I can’t complain. The way I like to think of it is that at some point I had to get my act together and start working toward something, so why not now. I figured joining the military is a pretty good way to make that happen and get right into a career, and the Coast Guard is an awesome service.


To any prospective cadets reading, I invite you to email me at The cadet blogs had a sufficient impact on me when I was applying, so feel free to shoot me an email and I will promptly answer any questions you may have.


More about Nick.


Women’s Rugby

(Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
 Sutschek PhotoThe 2012 rugby season kicked off this weekend when we played Hartford University. We won the game 41-5; a great start to the season! Rugby, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the sport, is similar to football except that you can only pass the ball backwards. Another key difference is that rugby players don’t typically wear a lot of padding, which is one of the many reasons it is superior to football. Thus, I forgot how sore I was going to be on Sunday. Nevertheless, rugby is an exciting sport that I encourage everyone to try.


Though we have gotten our first game out of the way, our season will continue through most of October and possibly into November. This means that by the time I get back from practice, shower, and eat dinner, it may be as late as 7:30 (or 1930 for those so inclined). My class schedule also requires me to use my time wisely. I only have one period off throughout the day.


In high school, I procrastinated on just about everything. But no matter how late I would put things off, I usually did pretty well and I still got to bed at a decent hour. The same can’t be said about the Academy. If I procrastinate on homework, studying, etc., the work quickly piles up and becomes unmanageable. Oftentimes, my physical state after rugby practice leaves me disinclined to do any of my schoolwork. But my academic struggles last year made me realize that I can’t afford to procrastinate like I have in the past. My sleep and my academic record are much too valuable.


No matter how hard you try to fight it, you will have to become proficient at managing your time if you come here.


More about Kyle.


Settling Back In

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Simon PhotoIt’s hard to believe that September is nearly over, and I’ve been back at the Academy for more than a month. Settling back into the routine of academics, athletics, and all of my military obligations was rough after coming back from summer leave, but I’m finally back in the swing of things.


We had our first crew regatta last weekend. It was at Mystic Seaport (not very far from the USCGA), and the boat that I was the coxswain for came in first place in the Women’s Open Four category. It was great to bond with my teammates and cheer everyone on. I’m looking forward to our next regatta in Hartford at the end of the month. I’m hoping that the CGA crew will have great success there!


I also did color guard at our second regimental review a few weeks ago. It was incredibly nerve-wracking and fun.


Being a third class is significantly better than being a fourth class. It’s great being able to have a conversation with my friends in the passageways and look at my food during meals. I also really enjoy being a role model for my fourth class, and making sure that he is prepared and all of his questions are answered. I’m in Foxtrot Company, and I love it! All of the members of Trot have been so friendly and welcoming, and I’m proud to be a member of the Foxtrot family. Parents’ Weekend is in two weeks, and I can’t wait to see my family.

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to email me at Go Bears!


More about Lili.


Wait! I Am a 3c?!

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Rossi PhotoThus another academic year begins. Coming back to the Academy as a 3rd class is much easier than it was a 4th class. No more squaring, orderlies, or sounding off clocks, which gives individuals more time to accomplish their schoolwork. However, sometimes complacency can creep in and reflect in a cadet’s GPA. A major goal of mine this semester is to not allow that happen to me. To prevent this, I have been keeping a list of all the tasks I need to be completed along with the dates they are due. This helps me plan ahead and also prioritize.


The biggest responsibility I have inherited as a 3rd class is looking out and being a role model for the 4th class. Each 3rd class has their own individual 4th class, but we as whole need to set a good example and lead every 4th class down the road to success. I was very fortunate to have great 3rd class last year and wish to do the same for my 4th class this upcoming year. After all, someday in the fleet we, everyone at the Academy right now, will be at the same rank during some point and it is wise to have a positive relationship with everyone, including those who may currently be below you.


More about Michael.


Welcome to the Corps!

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
 Roesch PhotoWell, Swab Summer 2012 is finally over and the class of 2016 is officially part of the USCGA Corps! As crazy as it sounds, Swab Summer flew by! The summer was a pretty awesome experience. I learned so much about myself, teamwork, and leadership. Not to mention Eagle was an interesting experience, to say the least. Oh yeah, it was tough and tiring, but I’m so glad to have all of those memories and experiences behind me. How many people my age can say they did what I did over their summer break?


Now the school year is here and the atmosphere has done a complete shift. Now, academics are the most important thing, so studying, studying, and more studying is just about all I do! Just kidding – the Academy is so much more than just studying. Yes, grades are of utmost importance, but there are so many opportunities here to get out and have some fun. Even as a 4/c I have had some pretty fun times amidst all the homework. Getting involved in clubs and sports is a must here – it’s a good break from all the work. I recently started swimming and having Glee Club practices. Already I am going on a trip with the Glee Club to sing for a 9/11 Memorial. I am excited for all the upcoming events this semester and will keep you all updated. As always, email me if you have any questions or just want to know about the Academy or 4/c life: 


Semper Paratus and Go Bears!


More about Allie.

Typical Sunday Night

(Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Miller PhotoIt’s currently 2011, or 8:11 p.m., on a Sunday night, and I’m spending it the way I spend most Sunday nights—doing homework. I always tell myself to actually do homework in advance, but on most Friday nights there’s an activity and on Saturday I always end up going out with friends.


Even though this is a military academy, we all try to have as much fun as possible. Last night some of my friends and I ended up seeing The Possession, which was decently good. Going out is nice; it kind of reminds me that there’s actual life outside of the Academy.


But even at the Academy we manage to have fun—I spent part of Friday night hanging out in a friend’s room. We spent most of the time laughing, and even though I knew friends in other colleges were probably out doing some slightly more interesting activities, it was a good time.


The same thing happened over Swab Summer, too—when we were given “personal development time” we’d all head into a room and just try and joke around and make the most of things. Just laughing and finding humor in stuff makes every situation better.


More about Caroline.


Sweet September

(Academics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Merritt PhotoGreetings Bloggers!


Sweet September. What a great month! Apple picking is at its prime, next month our parents head up for Parents’ Weekend and Halloween is right around the corner. Plus, I can finally start using my new glade freshener spray appropriately scented “Maple Pumpkin” all in the spirit of fall. ^.^


Well, academics hit the ground running…which isn’t very surprising. As of right now, my favorite courses are Morals, Ethics and Political Philosophy and Principles of American Government. I’ll admit there is a bit of bias—after all I am a Government major. There’s more to it than that I swear. For example, in “Morals” recently, we’ve been discussing Socrates (via Plato’s writings about him). Discussions have made my mind churn more about what I truly believe, and how morality plays into my life and will affect my future both in the Coast Guard and civilian lives. With this, closely behind in my “most liked” courses are Nautical Science II and Ships. Those courses definitely stray from my major, but like Morals, they are helping me develop into a future officer in the service, which really can’t be beat.


School activity wise, Genesis Council has perked up and we’ve already had one excusal, 4/c Meet and Greet and our Six Flags trip is coming up (so excited!!). Also, this past weekend, I was fortunate enough (thanks to a swift special request) to go the Millennium Campus Conference hosted on Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. There, ideas for how to combat hunger, homelessness, gender equality and other various human/earth related issues were discussed in panels, by speakers and together with peers. The highlight (for me at least) was that the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Leymah Gbowee came all the way form Liberia to speak to us. Like most people, I knew of the significance of the Nobel Peace Prize, and that the people who earn it most definitely deserve it, but as she stood and spoke at the podium, I was honestly in awe of the efforts and achievements she, as another average human being, was able to accomplish through sheer will power and desire for change. Talk about a role model! (Look her up! It’s definitely worth your time…just saying).


One last thing that I’d also like to note was the pride that I felt simply waking up here at USCGA on September 11th. Thinking about where I was when I was younger, with my father still being enlisted then, I couldn’t help but feel a sense pride in my service and my choice to join it as well as pride for the service of the various departments that went to the relief during and after the tragedy. Truly, I am even more proud to be an American since that day, and feel like my decision to pursue this not so easy path all because I love this country is worth it.


With that, hope you all are enjoying the month as much as I am!


Until next blog,
3/c Jalle R. Merritt


More about Jalle.


I Have High Hopes!

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Lash PhotoAlliteration aside, this year has started off really well. From my schedule, to cross country, to being with friends, I am loving it. My schedule is beyond perfect, I don’t know how it is possible, but I have every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoon off! When I use the time wisely, it really takes off the workload for the evenings post cross country practice.


I really like all of my classes this year as well. I am taking Ships and Maritime Systems, Probability and Statistics, Physics I, Principles of American Government, Morals and Ethics, and…here comes the toughest one…Golf! Without all of the stress of being a 4/c (freshman) this year seems a lot easier and more enjoyable.


The best part of every day is cross country practice and the only thing better than practices are the races! This week, we had a race at UMass Dartmouth, and it was the most fun I’ve had so far this year! The course was really flat, so everyone on the team was shattering their personal records! Watching teammates cross the finish line knowing that they had beaten their best times was awesome. Personally, I ran 2 minutes and 5 seconds faster than I have ever run a course. I was amazed with my time and everyone else’s. My dad had the chance to see the race too; so having him cheer me on was really motivating. Sitting here typing about it, I’m still smiling about how swell the race was.


This leads back to the title of this entry! I’m so psyched about the rest of this season. Knowing that I can beat a personal records like that has me hungry for next week’s race. It is going to be a great season and a great year!


More about Jon.


#4cProblems Ma’am

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Kukich PhotoI was never a fan of Twitter before coming to the Academy; however, once the school year began, I was quickly converted. That’s not to say I actually use Twitter, (considering it is against the 4/c rules) but I do use the idea of narrating my day to make light of the situation sometimes.


Starting the school year has been rocky for me, trying to balance military commitments with academics, and especially learning the required 4/c indoc material. In order to memorize three meals in advance, the days to go until graduation, the upcoming sports games, and the movies playing in theaters, I’ve tried a number of methods – writing the information dozens of times, putting the words to the tune of a song with my roommates, or trying to race my classmates to see who can say it faster. But sometimes even the most valiant efforts aren’t enough and looking up at the clock ten minutes to go until afternoon formation, I draw a complete blank. The idea behind 4/c announcing times at clocks before formations is not only to practice their memorization for the fleet, but to make sure all of the upper class are on time for obligations; and so having nothing to say when others count on you is not a good feeling. Usually two or three seconds after I realize I have nothing to say, I resort to listening to my class mates up and down the hallways, sometimes even from across the quad. And this always works out fine, until an upper class, particularly one with great importance to the corps, walks by. Now keep in mind that my clock is just a few doors down from my company commander, executive officer, and the entire cadet regimental staff – and there is no scarcity in the number of passing command.


I started my clock before lunch the other day with a confident attitude; I had studied hard and my uniform looked good and from what I could see, there was hardly anyone in the halls. Now ten minutes to go, I recited the time, the uniform of the day, the location of the formation – and before I could continue, the summer chief of staff stuck her head into the hallway. I immediately froze up, only attracting more attention and drawing other upper class to join her in staring across the hall at me. I continued to mutter something about breakfast, lunch, and almost made it to dinner, before she asked me if I was nervous. At this point I turned away from the clock to respond, “yes, ma’am”. She laughed, and described my anxiety as a “#4/cProblem”. While she hadn’t spared me from doing the clock, she did help me to laugh at myself and remember that from the outside, some Academy training and most of freshmen year are absolutely Twitter worthy. From that point on, clocks have become easier and when I freeze up, I find something to laugh about, think of what I might post next year when I am allowed to use Twitter, and just keep going.


More about Sarah.


Coast Guard Crew

(Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Kloo PhotoOne of my favorite parts of Academy life is rowing for the CGA crew team. I didn’t have a chance to play sports in high school, and when I applied here I was looking for something to fill that gap. I had heard a lot about rowing from people at home, and I decided it was something worth trying. I had no rowing experience whatsoever, which was fine because all but one of the freshmen had never rowed either. With help from the exceptional coaching staff, I was out on the water in just two weeks. Fast forward a year later and here I am still rowing. I can’t picture myself doing anything else. It is a both a mental and physical challenge that nothing else compares to. You push your mind against your pain tolerance and your body to its physical limit. To make it more challenging, all that needs to be done at the exact same time as seven other guys for about six and a half minutes. The teamwork required by eight people to move a 60-foot boat is unmatched, even one person with a small error can cause the entire boat to become unstable, and the whole boat suffers.


Because teamwork is such a critical part of rowing, you build close bonds with everyone on the team. For example, each Friday night after practice, we stay around afterward, barbeque, and just hang out. Rowing provides an escape from the stresses of life at the CGA, and something that I could not do without.


More about Alex.


First Impressions

(Academics, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Hirst PhotoBefore coming here, I knew the academics would be difficult. While I accepted this fact, a small part of me believed it would be just like high school. Well, I guessed wrong. Unlike a typical college, the professors here assign homework and grade it for correctness. If you can imagine, this adds a significant amount of time to homework as the answers ought to be correct. On top of that added difficulty, I usually have at least three subjects of work every night. It’s a lot of homework—something I didn’t really expect. Every week I have the great intentions of getting ahead, but when the weekend rolls around, the last thing I want to do is homework.


I say all this not to complain, but to inform you of my first impressions after just experiencing high school. The teachers here are extremely helpful and are more approachable than those in my high school. While the academics are difficult, they are worth it. No matter how hard things may be, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Just think about the opportunities here…how could you pass them up?


Semper paratus,
4/C Townshend Hirst


More about Townshend.


A Little Hectic

(Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Hazen PhotoFirst month of school down and it’s good to be back. Things have been a little hectic, with the workload and the transition to new regulations, but my shipmates are always there to make things better.


The last few weekends I have been away with the triathlon club, racing in various places. The tri team won the Commander and Chief Division at Nation’s Tri in Washington, D.C. The race venue was incredible. We biked into Maryland and ran right through the National Mall. This last weekend (15/16 Sep 2012) there were two tris. Half of our team competed in a small locate race in Cedar Lake, Connecticut and the other half went out to camp in Buzzard’s Bay, Massachusetts. Both races went extremely well. We are now focusing on our big race – the Mighty Man – in Long Island, New York.


I am getting excited about the fall season as the weather starts cooling down. The month of October isn’t only Halloween, but also Parent’s Weekend! I can’t wait to see my parents and show them all the progress I’ve made just this semester. I’m really looking forward to the nice fall weather and football games!


More about Mary.


Life Since Joining The Academy

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Ellis PhotoIt’s crazy to think that only a few months ago I had just graduated high school and was preparing for the day that would change my life forever, R-Day. I was anxiously anticipating that day and once it finally came, it was the most nerve racking day of my life. Then came the seven weeks of Swab Summer, which are a complete blur to me now. All the days seemed to blend together, we were always moving – from reveille in the morning to taps at night. Swab Summer was a mental game. You just have to keep a positive attitude, even when it’s really tough, in order to succeed. Don’t dwell on the negative things that occur, but learn from them. I just kept thinking about why I wanted to come here and I thought about it every day. Swab Summer is meant to be challenging, but not impossible.


At the end of Swab Summer, I went aboard Eagle. It was easily one of the best experiences I have ever had. One night I had the 2000 to 2400 watch, I was the lookout on the bow. We were the only people for miles, all I could see was the stars and the rigging. The stars were the brightest I have ever seen them. Another day I had the 0400 to 0800 watch to check on the rigging. That morning I got to see a beautiful sunrise. There was a light fog and not a puff of breeze anywhere. The ocean was like glass – I had never seen it that flat in my life. On the last day, at sunset, I climbed all the way to the royals (the very top of the mast), even though I am really scared of heights. It was the absolute most memorable thing I have ever done. I am so glad that I accepted my appointment to the Academy so that I could do such amazing things. Attending the Academy is easily the best decision I have ever made.


More about Kayla.


Boxing the Coach

(Athletics, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Effendi Photo “Push me or I’m gonna push you,” says Tom, the boxing coach. This was my first day at boxing practice and first time boxing. We were learning stances and boy did I not know what I was doing. I had been a football player and everything I had learned, to be squared up so you can drive off both legs, was a hundred percent wrong. I needed to be small and contained, balanced.


I pushed him that day, to my relief. I learned a lot on my first day of boxing. I learned how to get into the proper stance, and how to throw a punch, but most importantly, I learned to not be bashful, especially around Tom.


Tom is not a guy that beats around the bush. He comes up to you and tells you what you have wrong, not in a mean way but in the way that you know you better get it right. For me, that was not the case. I just could not get my stance right and Tom came up to me and put my hand on his chest.


Tom tells me to push him. Dumbfounded I press, unsure of what I was doing, and had no sort of movement out of Tom. He then tells me that if I didn’t push him then he was going to push me. Tom is not a small guy and I did not want to get knocked down by him, on the first day of boxing, not even in the ring.


More about Ardy.


Study, Study, Study!

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Corcoran PhotoThe academic year is finally upon us all. Within the past two weeks, I have had three exams and two papers due. Cross country practices and meets plus my military obligations have made my time very limited; however, I’m starting to get more of a routine down. The Coast Guard Academy definitely is a huge difference from my little high school in Slatington (the middle of nowhere), Pennsylvania, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Speaking of which, over Labor Day Weekend, I spent my three nights of liberty away from the Academy at my house. It felt weird seeing everything for the first time since late June, but for the most part everything remained the same. It was then that I realized I’m glad I chose the Academy. I now recognize that I am a part of something way bigger than myself, even bigger than Slatington – the United States Coast Guard.


This evening we have our Regimental Review. Although our “gorilla suits” cause us to sweat like madmen, I am proud to wear those uniforms and honor those who have fought for our country. All of the fourth class had to get their pictures taken in those suits this week. While it might not be the most attractive uniform in the world, I really feel like I am a part of the Coast Guard when I wear it. Plus, I think no matter how dorky I may look in this uniform, my mom will still hang the picture over the fireplace at home.


More about Samantha.


One Year Can Make All the Difference

(Athletics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Carani Photo Coming back from summer leave, I was nervous that all of the old feelings of homesickness and longing would come rushing back over me as I stepped back onto Academy grounds. However, as I began to walk through Chase Hall without having to brace up, a smile came upon my face as I recollected all of the memories of 4/c year, and all of the challenges that I had managed to make it through. I wasn’t smiling because these challenges were fun, but because they were over! Knowing that the hardest year was done and that I was that much closer to graduating was a comforting and amazing feeling! And although Chase Hall will never be “home” for me, at the very least it becomes easier coming back to the Academy after the first year. As you become more involved in sports, activities, clubs, and academics, you create broader and deeper friendships, friendships that can and will get you through the tough times you face at the Academy.


For me, the two biggest things that get me through the Academy are the rowing team and Officers’ Christian Fellowship. Rowing itself is a sport completely different than any other. It is not a game, but rather a fierce activity that requires intense mental and physical exertion. Due to the uniqueness of the sport, those that row create a special bond with each other, a certain level of respect that cannot be replaced by any other friendship. It is that relationship with everyone on the team that makes me feel like I belong here at the Academy. The practices, regattas, barbecues, cookouts, and competitions I attend with the crew team are some of the best memories I have at the Academy, and are memories that I will treasure for my entire lifetime.


Just as fun, meaningful, and rewarding is the time I spend at Officers’ Christian Fellowship on Friday nights. Nothing kicks off the weekend better than an evening of fellowship with fellow cadets as we worship God together as fellow believers in Christ. My faith is the most important aspect of my life, and having this opportunity each week to develop and grow in my faith is essential to my life. And it doesn’t end on Friday nights. My friends from OCF and I continue to meet throughout the week to gather and spend time together discussing the Bible and praying for each other, and it is these wonderful times together that help me get through the tough weeks!


Thinking about and reflecting on the wonderful clubs and sports that I am blessed to be a part of, I find it is because of those sports and clubs that it is easier to come back to the Academy. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it can be stressful. Yes, it’s not easy. And yes, it is easier at hundreds of other colleges. But there are ways to get involved and be connected during your time here, and it is in those places that you will feel like you belong. After spending a year here, and finding my niche at the Academy, and developing great friendships, I can truthfully say that this place is a little easier to come back to. It’s amazing, but I suppose it’s true, that one year truly can make all the difference.


More about Luke.


Busy, Busy, Busy Fourth Class

(Athletics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Belanger Photo Man! Time has just absolutely flown during this first month of school. With one paper done, three exams completed, and four exams fast approaching it seems that I never have time to do anything on my own. If my time management skills were not perfected at prep school I have no idea where I would be at. Even though the load of academics is huge here at the Academy I still have time to have a blast with my fellow shipmates. During the Labor Day weekend I took some time with my fellow Catholics to go to Ender’s Island for a super RELAXING weekend! Then we had our fun Spirit Week before the rival football game versus the Merchant Marine Academy that Saturday. It was a great weekend talking (and having some friendly banter) with our fellow sea service academy.


Over the weekend of September 23rd three of my fellow shipmates and I were able to race in a 40 mile relay in West Hartford to support the community’s public education system. I have never been a runner myself but those 10 miles and placing 10th out of 30 teams motivated me to actually join the running club! I hopefully have three more 5K’s that I plan on running in before Thanksgiving leave! The Academy constantly gives me more and more opportunities that a normal university would not! I cannot wait to find out what other events I can be a part the rest of this year!


If you have any questions please do not hesitate! 


More about Nathan.


Parents' Weekend at the Academy

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Quintero Photo Every year around the beginning of October, family and friends of the corps are invited to visit the Academy. They are allowed to visit the barracks, classrooms and sport practices to get a feel for what this place is all about. My mom had dropped me off for CGAS orientation and R-Day, but I never had the chance to give her a tour of the Academy. So last weekend I was able to show her most of what the Academy has to offer. I took her to my morning classes, where surprisingly she didn’t fall asleep. In Probability and Statistics we went through a whole lesson, so I actually had to pay attention. After having lunch together with the other parents, I gave her a tour of the barracks and my room. After classes were over cadets are able to go out on liberty with family and friends so I took advantage of that and went out. The next day we had a parade for the parents, to show off our drill movements. Shortly after the parade all the parents and cadets were invited to attend the football game to cheer on the CGA Bears.


More about Carlos.


October at the Academy

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Duplessis Photo October is both stressful and awesome. Although we have midterms (I have three on the same day) and regular homework building up, the Corps of Cadets always looks forward to “Halloween on the Hill,” which is an event that takes place on Halloween. All of the cadets, including the 4/c, dress up in their Halloween costumes, have a dinner during which we vote on the best, funniest and scariest costumes, and then trick or treat on the hill where the Superintendent lives. It’s a fun morale event for everyone.


This past weekend was Parents’ Weekend here at the Academy. Our parents are able to come visit us, go to our classes, and see our dorm rooms. It’s always nice to watch my dad slowly fall asleep in my classes, and going through an average day gives all parents in general a hint of how hard we work to maintain academics, athletics, and military professionalism. I was also able to go home for a couple of days and relax. I have not had a chance to sleep past 9 a.m. in about a month, and it was glorious.


Coming back into school as a 3/c is completely different than last year. It’s nice to actually know what’s going on, and, of course, to be able to look around and talk to everyone. We definitely have a lot more responsibilities now though, too. I have two 4/c that look up to me, so it’s important for me to be a role model for them. There are a lot of things I wish my upper class did last year for me, so I’m trying to do all of things for the 4/c in my division as well as on the soccer team.


More about Lindsay.


Midterms Already

(Academics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cardoza Photo It’s hard to believe that we are already halfway through our first semester of our 3/c year! It’s all gone by so fast! Once the year began, we all knew that this year would not be an easy one, but we are all pushing through it one day at a time! I have to say, being in a sport during the fall season has definitely saved me so far. Classes are very difficult and stressful, but rugby gives me the right outlet that I need. I did not rely so much on sports last year besides just being something that I loved to do. Now I find myself waking up early to work out and going to practice every day not only to clear my mind but to enjoy myself as well.


Even though this year brings about a lot of work, it also brings new opportunities. Last year, we were given the task of being followers, but now we have someone looking up to us. It is a very different dynamic altogether, but as a class I feel like we are doing a fantastic job with being role models for the 4/c. It is nice to have someone looking up to you. Not only does it keep you accountable in order to be a good role model, but it also gives you that leadership experience. I love this year so far. Even though it is hard and can be frustrating sometimes, the people definitely make it better. I don’t know what I would do without the people I have here with me.


More about Samantha.


Midterms and Parents’ Weekend

(Academics, Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo With the start of midterms and Parents’ Weekend over I can officially say…all good things must come to an end. This past weekend was Parents’ Weekend and I was lucky enough to have my mom fly up for a few days. My family didn’t come last year, so when my mom said she would come up I was very excited. She got in on Thursday night and was able to hang out with me on base for a few hours before I had diving practice. She also got to come to diving practice with me and watch, which was awesome because it’s been a year and a half since she’d last seen me dive. She left base right after diving practice because I had a couple of tests to study for, but Friday morning she was back to go to classes with me. It was very nice to be able to introduce her to my teachers and show her the types of courses I am taking. Friday night the swimming and diving team put on a blue and white meet for the parents, which was a good sneak peak to how the season will go. Saturday we all drilled and watched the football game and then my mom and I drove up to Boston for the night. Boston was a lot of fun! We walked around and talked, but it was nice to be away from the Academy and wearing civilian clothes. We had to say our goodbyes Sunday night :( it was a tough goodbye because I won’t see her until winter leave, but I know I can always Skype or call her.


This week is pretty hectic with midterms, but I have written out a schedule of what tests I need to study for each night and I know the weekend is only three more days away! The corps got off to a good start this month, and hopefully the energy and morale will continue throughout October. I’m taking full advantage of my last couple of weekends off before they become consumed with diving meets on Saturdays and homework days on Sundays. I feel like I write this every time, but with application deadlines getting closer if you have any questions feel free to ask! I hope everyone has a great month and finds a really awesome Halloween costume!


More about Sara.


The Compañeros Club

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Quintero Photo After over a month of being back in the academic year, everything is in full swing. This year I signed up to be the secretary of Compañeros Club, which is a club that celebrates Hispanic heritage at the Academy. The club has over 100 members and in the past we have done some cool things, like dining at Hispanic restaurants for free. Or the time we got the opportunity to march on the New York Jets field before they kicked-off against the Patriots. We are planning some exciting stuff for this semester, like a trip to the Bronx and a dance at the Naval Academy. I have been working on getting a community service event at a local school to help out the English as a Second Language (ESL) students with their academics. At the Academy there are a lot of things going on and one of them is club involvement. Compañeros Club is only one of many clubs and they are a good way to meet shipmates and have some fun.


A couple of weeks ago we played our rival team, the Merchant Marine Academy, in soccer, volleyball and football. We beat them in soccer and volleyball, but unfortunately they beat us in football for the second year in a row. The game was at home this year, and both sides enjoyed poking fun at each other, like any other rivalry. I have a lot of friends from Prep School from MMA that I get to see every year for this game, and it is nice to catch up. We like to talk about the differences between the two schools; the pros and cons. I’m happy for them because they want to be there at Kings Point, and I tell them how I’m glad I am to be a CGA cadet.


More about Carlos.


Sophomore Academics

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Meyers Photo It’s now almost midterms third class year (sophomore year) and it’s a definite change from last year. Whereas last year was mostly basic introductory courses that everyone had to take, I’m finally taking major-specific classes. As an example, I’m an Electrical Engineering major and this year I’m taking Intro to Computer Programming, Differential Equations, Electrical Engineering I, Physics, Nautical Science I, Ships, Golf, and Racquetball. Last year I took courses like Chem I and II, Calc I and II, Statics, and U.S. Government.


It’s nice to finally get into a groove with the material I came here to study. While the work is much harder than last year, it’s also much more rewarding. I can actually enjoy some of the projects I do because they have actual application in my day-to-day work. As an example, because of what I learned in my programming class, I made a simple calculator program to solve for cross products in Physics. Just little things like this are what motivate me to stay in the Electrical Engineering major.


On top of the new privileges and the changes from being a 4/c to a 3/c, this year has been far better than last year in just about every aspect. During the summer, I had serious doubts as to whether I wanted to come back here or not, but decided to sleep on it and at least come back for a week. That short time totally transformed my opinion and made me realize why I came here in the first place.


More about James.


Pushing Through

(Academics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Bilodeau Photo It was no surprise that transitioning back to academics would be a challenge, but I am happy to be an Operations Research major. This semester I am taking Differential Equations, Linear Algebra, Physics, Professional Rescuer, American Government, and Organizational Behavior and Leadership. I have not had time to do anything besides schoolwork and volleyball. After volleyball I find myself working out in the gym so I can clear my head before I start my homework. Honestly, it has been difficult not to get lost in the cynicism associated with 3/c year. The role of a 3/c is less defined compared to the roles of the other classes in the corps; it is the transition year from a follower into more of a leader.


On the brighter side, the new company I am proud to be in (Hotel Company) is awesome and I have a great group of classmates to share the next 2.75 years with. I will say that life is better now that I do not have to square and take out everyone’s trash. I have more time compared to last year, as well, which is a positive. Now, our class just needs to finish passing our Boards Indoctrination test to get rec gear and Friday night liberty.


My parents came down for the MMA game and took my boyfriend and me out to dinner; it was great seeing them, as always, and I am going to see them for Parent’s Weekend, too! I always find it much easier to push through each day when I have little weekends planned with family or friends that I can look forward to.


More about Christina.


Forgetting to Marvel

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
-Winston Churchill


Now a full month into classes, I can say that life here is going well for me. Classes are in full swing, as are club activities and sports. I did well on my first round of exams; I am getting into the interesting material of my classes and enjoying them; the Windjammers show is practically ready to go on the field next weekend at the football game; I’m spending more time on liberty and with friends (instead of holing up in my room all weekend like I did last year); drill season for the Corps has been successful; and I’m not braced up any more!


Still, I’ve struggled to find again the groove that I perfected last year, specifically last spring. Already this semester I have confronted many difficulties, but, like in Churchill’s quote, I take these obstacles and hurdles as an opportunity to improve myself or the world around me. I am thankful for these challenges that the Academy provides me; I realize the importance of such tests as this is the trial-and-error stage in my journey toward becoming a commissioned officer.


I could name several things that may be contributing to my “uneasiness,” or I could list dates that after which there will be more time (theoretically) in my schedule. I realized the other day, however, that while all these reasons may be contributing to my “discomfort,” they are not at the heart of my issue. What then is causing me to feel so exhausted, so drained? Why do I feel more frustration and disappointment this year than last?


My observations recently led me to the conclusion that I am responding at a more personal level to the feelings and attitudes of cadets around me. I am the type of individual that will go out of his way to cheer up others; doing so has been much harder this year (probably because I am now in the position as a third class cadet (3/c) where I can have a wider-spread influence on others). There have been a significant number of changes to cadet life (rules and regulations) this year, and many cadets are not happy with these changes, which is understandable. I can’t say that I completely agree with these changes, but at the same time I realize that there is little I can do to change these things, especially if all I do is complain, complain, complain. I’ve opted to keep a positive outlook on these changes and make the most out of my situation. One of my goals has been to help spread this optimist point of view (please don’t think that I’m not trying to toot my own horn here); upon reflection I determined that all these extra efforts to raise others’ spirits has definitely taken a toll on me physically and mentally. Nonetheless, I am NOT going to drop my positive outlook nor stop my efforts to spread it to those around me.


Forgetting to Marvel (Continued) PDF Icon  


More about Justin.


One Less Thing to Worry About

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Rudy Photo Today was the best day of my life. I finally passed the Rules of the Road test, after my fourth time taking it. I am so happy that I no longer have to worry about studying for it all the time. Everything here hits you all at once, it seems like one week everything is calm and normal and then all of a sudden, we have three tests two essays and ROTR! I feel like I can finally breathe now. I can’t wait for the weekend to celebrate passing with my friends. We are going to go out to dinner downtown! Then I have the Eastern States Exposition, or Big E, where I have to do community service all day on Sunday.


I am also excited for Parents’ Weekend, even though none of my family is coming, I can’t wait to just relax and have a quiet weekend and go out to dinner with my friends’ families. We will also be performing our newest dance at the halftime show for the football game, and now that everyone is required to attend the games, everyone will have to watch our dance! It’s one of my favorite dances we have ever done, so I can’t wait!


More about Megan.