Skip Navigation Links
APPLY | BEARS DEN LOGIN | REQUEST INFORMATION | ESPAÑOL | VIRTUAL TOUR | SEARCH
FacebookFlickrTwitterYou Tube
CADET BLOGS

cadet blogs

Second-Time Applicant

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Wittrock Photo I had never been on an official visit before reporting to the Academy on R-Day. I did not attend AIM or an Admissions brief. I missed out on the opportunity to visit the Academy and experience a day in the life of a cadet, so I turned to YouTube and the Cadet Blogs to learn about the Academy. For me, social life played a huge part in what college I wanted to attend. Reading the Cadet Blogs assured me that my choice to apply to the Academy was the right one. Learning about cadets’ summer experiences really intrigued me and from then I knew I wanted to be a part of the Coast Guard. Now as a cadet, I believe it is my responsibility to show prospective cadets what the Academy is really like. You will not receive the typical “college experience,” but you will socialize in a different way. I’ve met world leaders, admirals, corporate executives, and other famous people in the short time I’ve been here.

 

In addition, I was a second time applicant. After high school, I attended Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and reapplied to the Academy. I would like to be a voice for those who are second or even third time applicants who did not attend AIM or Prep School. If a kid from the middle of a land locked state can belong to a school whose main mission is to develop leaders with a “liking for the sea and its lore”, anyone can!

 

More about Nick.

 

Representing Bears Football

(Athletics, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Victory Photo It was my dream to attend the Coast Guard Academy and I have absolutely loved my two years thus far. After looking at the cadets in the club, it became clear to me that the football team was underrepresented. Being the starting quarterback for the Bears will allow me to bring a perspective to the program that not many people can. On top of my daily school workload, I need to manage my time appropriately to prepare for upcoming games. I have a constantly busy schedule but I enjoy it and I think that others would like to read about an average day. When it came to applying to the Academy it was a no brainer, it was my first option by a longshot. Unfortunately, I was waitlisted and did not find out my fate until a month before R-Day.

 

If there are any upcoming seniors who have questions with the application process and what they should do, I would love to answer them. I signed up for the club when I was a 4/c but simply could not manage my time well enough. Now that I’m an upper-class, I understand how the Academy operates and will be able to write and share my stories whenever. I just think that I bring a unique perspective to the program.

 

More about Derek.

 

A Passion for Writing

(Academics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Twarog Photo One of the best pieces of advice that has ever been given to me is to live your life today in such a way that will make your future-self proud. Do what will make you proud…not necessarily what is easiest. I think that one of the central reasons why I chose the U.S. Coast Guard Academy was because it would be both one of the toughest and rewarding paths. I knew coming out of high school that I wanted to become an engineer and a leader, and that I wanted to make a career out of serving others. Coming to the USCGA would help me become the type of person I most deeply admire.

 

While I’ve only been a part of the Coast Guard for a few months, it seems like high school graduation was a lifetime ago. It’s amazing how quickly the Academy molds you as you’re given more responsibilities. Between balancing 19+ credit hours, practices and races with the Triathlon team, and fourth class military obligations, I’ve never been so busy in my life. Time management is critical here.

 

Before coming to the Academy, writing was one of my passions, so I’m really excited to have the chance to blog for the Academy. In the past, I’ve published personal essays and written pieces on a website called Semper Deinceps. Not only that, but I was the winner of the Rotary Global Essay Competition, and the prize took me on a week-long trip to India. I’ve written as a guest contributor on the nuclear energy blogs, YesVY and Atomic Insights, where my articles have been reposted by the ASME and the ASCE.

 

Over the next four years, I’ll have the opportunity to share my experiences as I work my way to becoming an officer in the Coast Guard. I can’t begin to imagine what sort of adventures my time here will bring. If you have any questions about life as a fourth class (freshman) or the admissions process, feel more than free to reach out to me at any point.

 

More about Evan.

 

Cooperation Between Cadets

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
SukchaPhoto Greetings! I am 4/c Saranjoe Sukcha from Class of 2019. I am currently in Bravo Company. As an international cadet from Malaysia, there are several reasons why I decided to join the Cadet Blog Club. I believe cooperation between cadets from different countries and United States cadets is important. They help build a positive military relationship between various countries and the U.S. In order to strengthen our ties, we share knowledge, skills and learn from each other. As an international cadet, I am happy to share my experiences and my observations throughout my journey at the United States Coast Guard Academy. We have heard comments from around the world stating that U.S. service academies have created professional leaders in all military branches. Being here for only a few months now, makes me agree that it is completely true. As an ex-officer cadet in the Royal Malaysian Navy at the National Defense University of Malaysia, I realized that there are big differences in the training of cadets.

 

Furthermore, what I will bring to this unique program is the thoughts of a foreign cadet about the great experiences in this academy. I am happy to be at this academy and I am looking forward to majoring in Marine and Environmental Sciences. I will also share stories about my involvement in the Cadet Glee Club, Pistol Team, International Council, and Asian Pacific American Council (APAC). I am truly glad to be here and look forward to experiencing more wonderful moments and activities at the Academy.

 

More about Saranjoe.

 

An Uphill Battle

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Silliman Photo The day before R-Day legitimately frightened me. Three weeks of summer had flown by and now I would spend the next seven weeks in the toilsome world of Swab Summer. I did not have the easiest time as a swab; in fact, I probably had one of the hardest. As the Academy begins to prepare for the arrival of thee Class of 2020, I hope I can help incoming swabs understand what they need to do to get through the summer. I faced a very tough uphill battle to get into the Coast Guard Academy as I was wait-listed in the Early Action round of applicants in December and did not receive my appointment until May. A big reason for having been wait-listed was because I had not visited the Academy since eighth grade so they had no real way to gauge my interest. By keeping in touch with my Admissions Officer and asking people with connections to the Coast Guard to vouch for me, I eventually received my appointment.

 

I feel from my Admissions experience that I am in a good position to give advice to new applicants. I think I can also draw now from my time here even though it has only been a few months. I have struggled with the military aspect of being a cadet, but having mostly acted with the best intentions has prompted my superiors to mentor me and help me through a situation rather than punish me. I hope the experiences I am having as a cadet can be used for other incoming cadets to learn from. As a prospective cadet, I was always looking at the blogs to read what people had to say, and I emailed two cadets when I was in high school. I remember emailing Ensign Samuel Krakower when he was a 4/c for advice, and then I emailed 1/c Caroline Miller for advice on getting off the wait-list. Both of them responded to me promptly and that response of being able to interact with other cadets was huge to me.

 

More about Derek.

 

Amazing Things on the Horizon

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Sharp Photo Hey, audience. First of all, thanks for reading. My name is Kirsten Sharp, and I am from a tiny town in southern Pennsylvania. Like most cadets at the USCGA, I made good grades and just did well in high school altogether. I was Homecoming Queen, captain of the varsity girls’ soccer team, and president of lots of clubs, all while taking six AP classes my senior year. Needless to say, I have a weird ability to balance a million things at once. Also, I have done a lot of things in my old age of eighteen, but I have never blogged before, and I am thrilled at the opportunity to try something new.

 

More importantly, I love the USCGA. I decided to come here because of all of the amazing opportunities that have already begun to present themselves to me and my shipmates. From sailing Eagle this summer to meeting people from all walks of life, I am already learning so much about how to handle people and how to handle myself. I see the world opening up every day I wake up to that lovely reveille and prepare for my day. I see amazing things on the horizon for everyone here (and that is not just because my eyes are in the boat all the time). But, it is not enough for just me to see and feel this way anymore. I want to share these feelings with current cadets, parents of cadets, and prospective cadets. I want to remind cadets why they chose the Academy, reassure concerned parents of cadets who never hear from their kids, and encourage prospective cadets because we are truly living the dream. I think that I can accomplish all of this by blogging and expressing my innermost thoughts.

 

More about Kirsten.

 

Why Blog?

(Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Reynolds Photo My name is Erin Reynolds, and I am currently in my third year at the Coast Guard Academy. I study Government, focusing on public policy. I enjoy the major because, although I attend a STEM school, my heart is in writing. In high school, I loved my literature, art, and creative writing classes, but I was never very fond of adding up numbers. In my major, I get the opportunity to take classes such as Advanced Spanish where we get to read Hispanic literature, poetry, and even watch full-length movies. We discuss the themes of humanity, but it is also just a lot of fun to practice speaking a different language.

 

I came to the Academy as a recruit for the softball team. I played softball from the age of four until the end of my freshman year in college. My position was catcher, and I absolutely loved controlling the plays on the field. However, after my first year, I started itching to try out some new opportunities. The women on the rugby team constantly talked about what a blast it is to play, and I started experiencing a little fear of missing out. After a lifetime on the diamond, I traded in my softball cleats for a pair of rugby boots having never even seen a game. I’m still learning the sport, but I currently play the position of tighthead prop. I love playing a club sport at the Academy because although it keeps me busy, it does not dominate my life, and it provides me with time to entertain some of my other interests.

 

In my limited free time, I browse Pinterest and carry out all sorts of arts and crafts projects at my desk. I’ve even managed to drag my boyfriend into it so now you can find us making dreamcatchers, painting, and knitting scarves when the weather starts cooling down. I love do-it-yourself projects, and I’m always working on something. Over the summer, I picked up a ukulele. It would be an exaggeration to say that I play it, but I have fun strumming the strings along with a few chords.

 

I want to be a cadet blogger because I feel that, like every cadet, I have a unique perspective to offer on life at the Academy. Majoring in Government, I feel that I belong to a small group that favors long essays over anything I have to use a calculator to complete. I have also been lucky enough to have the chance to play multiple sports at the Academy and to be a part of handbell choir, Compañero’s Club, St. Frances DeSales Society, Cadet Activities Council, and now cadet blogging! I’ve gotten the chance to try out a lot of new activities since I left home in Florida over two years ago, and I hope that I can share some of those experiences with prospective cadets, parents, or anyone else who is interested in life at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

 

More about Erin.

 

What it’s Like

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Rex Photo I want to join the cadet blogging program because it is a great way to give potential applicants and the general public a realistic and personal account of what it’s like to be a Coast Guard cadet. As a mechanical engineer, I do not do very much writing due to a rather arithmetically heavy course load, but I think that blogging about my life here inside the gates will help me express myself in an alternative medium and also reflect on what’s going on at the Academy. After all, one of the main points of the LEAD model is to deepen through reflection, thus writing about my experiences and lessons learned should be beneficial to my development as a future Coast Guard officer and leader.

 

More about Kaci.

 

An International Cadet Perspective

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Martorell Crespo Photo I am a fourth class cadet and am in Echo Company. You may all know my sister; she is currently a cadet blogger and many people know her already from her blogs. She is a 3/c and recommended this program because she likes sharing her experiences, helping others, and writing about being part of the Coast Guard family and how you fall in love with it, as we both did.

 

As an international cadet, I will dedicate my time to writing about the different things that may interest the person reading my blog; all the way from how my day was, to a big trip I took on Eagle, or even about a sport/club I’m in. I am very involved and am currently on the dance team (we already had our first performance) as well as in the Glee Club. As you can see, I am able to keep up with my work and I will make some time to write to anyone interested in the Academy and its corps. I am excited to start telling everyone what the process was for me and I hope, one day, it will help them, too. My blogs will not only be geared toward international students, but also American students, because I will try to let them know that if I did it, as an international, they can do it, too.

 

More about Sarahi.

 

A Different Perspective

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Llewellyn Photo When I started high school, I never would have dreamed I would spend my four years of college at the Coast Guard Academy. My father had joked with my siblings and me for years that we would all end up at a service academy like he did, partly because of the great opportunities they offered but mostly because my parents had six children, and we were on our own to pay for college. When I entered high school, I didn’t think the military was the place for me. Maybe my older sister or my younger brother who both dreamed of being pilots belonged at an academy, but I just wanted a normal college experience…not Swab Summer and military obligations. It wasn’t until the week before May 1 that I finally admitted to myself that I had simply been afraid of failing and that four years of hard work was worth it to get the chance to serve my country. Now, five months later, Swab Summer, something I had stressed about for over a year and didn’t think I would ever get through, is over and I am finally a fourth class cadet.

 

I believe the struggles I had deciding to come to the Academy will allow me to bring a different perspective to the blog program than those who have been dreaming of attending this school their entire lives. I want to be able to tell those prospective students who are in the same position that I was all of the reasons why the Coast Guard Academy will be the best decision they will ever make. Anyone can find out how the Academy molds its cadets into leaders, gives them a free education, and provides them with incredible jobs after graduation. However, in these blogs, I will have the chance to tell the candidates all of the great things about this place that one will never find in a brochure. Perhaps I will be able to say that one thing that they need to hear to tip the scale and join the best branch of the military.

 

More about Leah.

 

Learning the Ropes

(Athletics, Class of 2019) Permanent link
King Photo At the Academy, it is often said that the days drag on but weeks fly by. I would beg to differ. It really should be that the days fly by but the weeks go by even faster. I cannot believe that it is already October and it’s been seven weeks since the conclusion of Swab Summer. In this short period so much has happened: Parents’ Weekend, the Merchant Marine game, and Labor Day. Sometimes I wonder how I can even keep up! School has been hard but that was to be expected.

 

One of the biggest events for me was my first real regatta. Early in September, we did a scrimmage regatta, which was really fun. It was nothing like the real thing. We went to the Annual Off Soundings Regatta, a race from New London to Rhode Island along the sound. I was on the Seahawk, one of our L-44s. What made it really cool was that our team was made up of all 4/c (freshmen) and a mentor. On the team, I operate in the pit, which means I work with a lot of the lines and halyards. I guess you could say (pun intended) that I am learning the ropes. My secondary job is to read wind patterns for the boat and call out waves. It’s great – I think I learned more about the weather and currents in the five hours of sailing than I have in a classroom.

 

This regatta was a great experience. First, I got to learn how a race really works, which is way different than practice. I also got to bond with my teammates. You could see that by the end of the race, we were working together better than we were before the race. Finally, I got to get firsthand knowledge on meteorology. It was an awesome time, and I can’t wait until the next regatta.

 

More about Deborah.

 

Enjoying the Little Things During Swab Summer

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Kearney Photo Arriving on R-Day, I thought to myself how my brother went through all of this. I grew up with him and remember saying goodbye to him on his R-Day. I saw the ways he changed and the ways he remained the same, and I heard the stories of his experience at the Academy. Being here now, I can put together what I visualized the Coast Guard Academy to be and compare it to what I have actually done.

 

Going through Swab Summer with the company known to be the most challenging on its swabs was difficult but well worth it. Through all those difficulties also came the good moments – small things here and there, Boston and New York on Eagle, and the bonds I made with my shipmates. The workouts were tough and could occur throughout the day. Shaving every day was a first. I had to learn how to memorize information quickly; to get out of bed and put shoes on in 15 seconds; to change out of a uniform, take a shower, and re-dress within 4.5 minutes; and to properly square every corner and every meal. This may all seem daunting but, in fact, it wasn’t as bad as it may sound. It was always helpful to remember that every cadet and officer had to go through the same thing. The key point in making your way through Swab Summer is to give one hundred percent effort. The days are long but the weeks go by quickly on the track of becoming a commissioned officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. Keeping a positive attitude is vital, and I reminded myself that I must always enjoy the little things.

 

More about Alex.

 

How It All Began

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Johnson Photo In 2013, one week of summer changed my entire life. It all began with the AIM program; it was a shocking experience. Never had I ever faced such a rigorous program that tested my physical and mental capabilities to such a high extent. Initially, I hesitated to attend but as the week went on, my motive became clear. In that short one-week period, I had made some of the best friends in my life (some of which I still keep in contact with to this day). I had come to admire the family-like characteristic of the Coast Guard in addition to its various missions, which revolved around saving rather than taking lives. From then on, it had become my goal to join such a unique branch of service, through the Academy.

 

My grades in high school weren’t the greatest but they definitely weren’t the worst. Classes such as Calculus, Chemistry, and Physics often gave me trouble but that never deterred my resolve to apply to the Academy. The process of applying to Academy was terribly stressful – the anticipation of the “yes” or “no” verdict sent daily chills down my spine! As you have probably guessed, my typing here is enough evidence to bring this cliffhanger to a close, but the story doesn’t end there. While I did receive my appointment, it was on a conditional basis. Through the USCGA Scholars program, I would attend one year of prep school at Marion Military Institute in order to strengthen my academics. Afterward, I would then receive my appointment to the USCGA as long as I adhered to the academic requirements. Conditional or not, I was overjoyed for the opportunity that I was given.

 

It was events such as these that helped to shape me into the cadet I am today. AIM was the initial spark that triggered a great resolve in me. From there on it was the Scholars program that let me mature and become better acclimated to the academic rigors of the Academy. I wouldn’t trade either of these experiences for the world.

 

More about Sydney.

 

What Will I Bring to This Unique Program?

(Academics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Hosley Photo My name is Cecelia Hosley and I am a 3/c cadet here at the Academy. I grew up in Chester, Connecticut and attended the Marine Science Magnet High School of Southeastern Connecticut. I would love to bring my passion for marine science, and the MES major to the Cadet Blog program.

 

I have wanted to be a marine biologist for as long as I can remember, sparked by my love of the sea while spending my summers on Martha’s Vineyard. When I was a junior in high school, Admiral Stosz, Academy Superintendent at the time, visited the school and I had the honor of showing her around. Learning about the Academy from her perspective as well as hearing about her leadership style and the opportunities in the Coast Guard made up my mind and I have been very happy with my decision

 

I am thrilled to pursue a career in marine biology in the Coast Guard and have begun a directed study on orca whale populations in Puget Sound! I am also a member of the Equestrian Club and Women’s Leadership Council in addition to being a part of the Coast Guard Academy’s first-ever varsity women’s lacrosse team. Go Bears! Having been in the Coast Guard only one year I have already been blessed with some amazing opportunities and experiences such as my directed study topic, traveling to Hawaii and Bermuda, and sailing America’s tall ship, USCGC Eagle. I would love to share my experiences while I am here. It is an honor to be a voice for the United States Coast Guard Academy through the Cadet Blog program.

 

More about Cece.

 

Prepping to be a Cadet

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Friedman Photo I want to be a cadet blogger because the blogs helped me stay motivated in prep school, which gave me a way to communicate with cadets and I want to be able to help other prospective cadets the way I was helped. When I applied to the Academy in my senior year of high school, I was wait-listed for prep school. After emailing my Admissions Officer almost every week, I received an appointment to the Coast Guard Academy Scholars program. This left me wondering what the prep program was and what Marion Military Institute was like because I had not heard much about it until I was appointed to the program. That said, I want to provide an outlet for prep school prospects.

 

While at Marion, I would often read blogs to help stay motivated and keep the end goal of getting to the Academy in mind. Having the perspective of going through prep school to get to the Academy allows me to explain a different route into the Academy other than direct admission. Also, after prep school and before the start of Swab Summer I went to Sector Northern New England and was able to spend six weeks working with the assets there. Being the only person in my prep class to stay active gives me a unique perspective on the opportunities that are opened if admitted to the prep program.

 

More about Jill.

 

Continuing the Legacy

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Fenster Photo Originally, I hadn’t seriously thought about joining the Coast Guard. It was always just another thought in the back of my head; something that would pop into the forefront of my brain every now and then but never seemed to have a serious impact on my future plans. I always assumed that I would wind up attending a liberal arts institution, majoring in math, and finding an internship (and eventually a job) with a corporation that shared a common interest. I never thought I would wind up at a federal service academy.

 

I even spent the entire summer prior to my senior year of high school travelling from university to university exploring the multitude of potential academic tracks ahead of me. I was destined, it seemed, to be a liberal arts connoisseur—it wasn’t until I received an email in early September from the swimming coach that I even considered the Coast Guard Academy to be a viable collegiate and professional option. Even after looking briefly into the Academy, it didn’t really seem like a place that would foster my educational and developmental goals.

 

One day, however, I was perusing the Academy website and stumbled, quite accidentally, onto the “Cadet Blogs” section. Interested, I clicked through and read a few blog posts—and instantly, I was hooked. The experiences each cadet wrote about showed the ups, downs, ins, and outs of the Academy. It wasn’t a normal recruiting tool (I never saw any other college allow student representatives to discuss the more negative parts of their experience), but ultimately, it became one of the deciding factors in my decision to attend the Academy.

 

Because my decision to come here was based in part on the experiences described in the cadet blogs, I wanted to continue that tradition. I wanted to make an impact on prospective cadets, as the cadets last year did on me. I yearn to share my experiences with the future of the U.S. Coast Guard, and hopefully, learn a little about myself and my classmates along the way.

 

More about Colin.

 

A Little Picture of Academy Life

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Dow Photo As a fourth class last year, my mom would always text me saying that there was a new blog post up, (my first roommate was a blogger) and that I should check it out. She would share these blog posts with the rest of my family as well as her co-workers. I realized what a big impact these entries do for the parents of cadets (who don’t hear from them very often), as well as prospective cadets, giving a little picture of what life is really like here. I want to share my experiences with blog readers because I really do like it here. I know that the posts are not supposed to be all sugarcoated (certainly not everything here is), but I want to share all of my experiences with everyone because if I was on the other side of the posts, I think it would be cool to know what exactly goes on in a military academy.

 

More about Emily.

 

A Deciding Factor

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Dillard Photo The main reason I want to join the Cadet Blog Club is to inspire high schoolers reading my entries to come to the Academy for the challenge and to have the experience of a lifetime.

 

Throughout my two years as a cadet, I’ve been tested and stretched in practically every way possible. I’ve had the opportunity to overcome challenges I never would have envisioned myself facing when I applied to the Academy and, as a result, I’ve grown into the person I am today. I am thankful for the truly amazing opportunities I have received as a cadet, and can truthfully say that I’ve learned to be appreciative of the struggles Academy life hands you daily.

 

As a senior in high school, I obsessively read practically every cadet blog—without doubt they were one of the deciding factors in my choice to apply here. Now that I’ve made it through half of my Academy experience and can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I want to be able to reach out to others as a cadet blogger to offer some positivity, encouragement, and practical advice to future cadets.

 

More about Jonathan.

 

The Reward

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Cruz Photo Some days it all just clicks. In between the formations, mandatory open door study hour, and rigorous classes, you begin to wonder as a cadet, “Why am I even here?” A phrase noticeably just said out loud by every cadet at least once maybe twice a month. It is normally followed by a “I could totally be doing ______ at _______ right now.” The sentence is completed with words about something fun and someplace more hospitable. However, every time I hear this, I always think back to a video LCDR Millard showed during English Composition and Speech. It was of the commencement address of the USCGA Class of 2013, the new group of ensigns that my class has taken the place of. The speech itself was well prepared, with stories, anecdotes and life lessons all given from a Coastie on the edge of that thin line between Coast Guard cadet and commissioned officer. However, between all of the jokes and expressions of gratitude, one story stood out and hooked me.

 

During one of his leave periods, he went back to his high school to recruit and speak about the Coast Guard. It’s a typical thing for cadets to do. But during his presentation, one of the students asked the question, “So, the Academy’s free, but the catch is you have to join the Coast Guard afterwards, right?” The cadet had to pause for a second. “The Academy…is a wonderful and beautiful place, but it is not what I would call a reward.” The 1/c said to the crowd, “It’s not the Academy that would be the reward and the Coast Guard the obligation. It is the opposite.”

 

While many people carry the mindset of having college as the reward with the life afterward as payment, the four years we go through here serves as a down payment for the great things we’ll do in the future. Just think of all the men and women we’ll get to meet and the small chance to do our bit in changing the world. The Coast Guard is an amazing opportunity to make an impact on people’s lives, every day.

 

More about Shaq.

 

What to Expect

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Bain  Photo I signed up to be a cadet blogger to share my perspective of Academy life with whoever is interested. It is my belief that I can provide a unique view, being heavily involved in varsity sports (football and baseball) as well as a demanding major (Electrical Engineering). As a result, my view of the Academy isn’t how wonderful the USCGA is, but rather how demanding it is. I believe it takes a special person, after four grueling years, to emerge an officer.

 

When I was researching the Academy as a senior in high school, the blogs proved to provide great insight as to what I could expect. It would be an honor and my pleasure to continue blogging for the Academy in the hope of influencing those who seek acceptance.

 

More about Cody.

 

Highlights of 2015

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo As this semester comes to a close, I reflect on the highlights of 2015. This year, I was decided to switch my major to Management from Government, saw most of Western Europe, served as a Swab Summer cadre, rediscovered my love for running, organized an inter-service Academy Holocaust Symposium and, most recently, was selected to serve on the Corp of Cadets Regimental Staff for Swab Summer 2016. Unfortunately, many good friends departed the Academy, but our class also received some additions from 2015ers who were on religious sabbatical.

 

So much has changed in 2015, but so much has remained the same. I am still amazed how fast this year has gone by, and I still feel like a 4/c cadet. I was in my interview with the Commandant of Cadets when it hit me—it won’t be too long before our class begins to take the reins of leadership this coming summer. I am excited to help guide and work together with the Class of 2018 as the Class of 2020 arrives at the Academy in June. Next semester we have our work cut out for us, in terms of getting the Class of 2018 ready for cadre summer. As I depart on leave, I look forward to seeing family and friends again and relaxing. I am exempted from many of my finals, (all but one), so I get to go home early for winter leave!

 

One leadership lesson that I passed onto my 4/c as I depart early for leave is to observe your leaders. Take note of their actions, behaviors, and speech. Remember what you like and what you don’t like, because you may be in their position one day. Always stand up for what is right, even though that can be hard sometimes. Learn from the successes and failures of those above you, and always set the example for your subordinates, your peers, and your superiors. Accountability is both horizontal and vertical; that is, we must be responsible for those at our level as well as those above and below us. Never be afraid to speak truth to power. And most importantly, never give up.

 

More about William.

 

Faith, Reflection, and Meditation

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo As November comes to a close, I am reflecting on how much time has flown by. Between the exams, presentations, band practices, long runs, and the myriad other activities I do here, one thing centers it all. Since I’ve gotten here, I find myself in the chapel almost every week on Sunday mornings. I was never particularly religious before I was a cadet, and perhaps praying to pass my exams 4/c year introduced me to the greater importance of having faith in all aspects of my life. Experiencing loss here at the Academy with the passing of one of our classmates and experiencing frustration with academics and military matters in Chase Hall is what drives me to seek out a greater peace and calm on Sunday mornings. But celebrating our successes, triumphs as young people, and our enduring spirit is what also drives me to the fellowship of faith here at the CGA.

 

I also take part in Men’s Accountability Group, a club sponsored by the Chaplain’s office. MAG is a group of roughly 20 cadets who meet for lunch every Friday to discuss contemporary faith issues that face our generation or something that applies to our busy lives as cadets. We meet with Chaplain Dickens, the protestant chaplain here at the Academy. The chaplains here are actually U.S. Navy officers who are assigned to the Coast Guard and wear Navy insignia, but they wear Coast Guard uniforms. This is an all-male group, and the female counterpart is known as Women’s Accountability Group. Once a semester or so, both groups meet for lunch.

 

The chaplains here have broadened my perspectives about faith and the way I see the world. One in particular, CAPT Van Dickens, has helped me grow as a person of faith over the past two and a half years here. I am grateful that he has helped guide me to worship, faith, and fellowship here at the Academy and also being a constant source of personal and professional advice.

 

Aside from attending worship services on Sundays and participating in MAG, I also play offertories and music on the trumpet with the Academy’s organist and vocal music coordinator. This is my way of expressing my faith on a personal level with a skill that I can share with everyone. I also traveled last spring break to Ireland through a trip organized by the Chaplain’s office, which was quite the experience. All in all, I am glad I have this centering power of faith and fellowship here at the Academy. It keeps me going through the many different emotions and experiences while here as a cadet.

 

More about William.

 

Beyond 3/c Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Roddy Photo My last blog detailed my adventures in the operational Coast Guard at Station New York and onboard the Barque Eagle, so it only seems fit to continue with a discussion of 3/c year and of 2/c summer. Coming back to the Academy after summer leave as a 3/c was surreal. After one whole year of doing 4/c duties, it was so alien to see other 4/c doing clocks, squaring corners and taking out trash. You never appreciate how nice it is to have social media, be able to walk and talk normally in the hallway, and to look at your food until you have gone for a year without doing any of it. Being a 3/c was an awesome feeling.

 

Once the school year started, I found it wasn’t just in Chase Hall that life got better after 4/c year. For the first time, I could actually take classes within my major, and while the workload certainly didn’t lighten up, it became work I really enjoyed. Morals and Ethics, Principles of American Government and Comparative Politics replaced Calculus and Engineering in my schedule, and life become much more fun! The most important takeaway I have gotten from 3/c year was that life really does get better after 4/c year; you just have to be prepared to endure it.

 

After 3/c year came 2/c summer, which was so busy I could barely keep track of what I was doing. It started with 100th Week, where Cape May company commanders came in to send us back to Swab Summer for a week. It was one sweaty week of physical training, team building, uniform inspections and drill, but it gave us valuable experience into the skills and mentality needed to train the incoming swabs. After that, came a closed book navigation exam, pistol marksmanship courses, T-boat handling, and the Coastal Sail Training Program. Coastal sail was awesome – two weeks of sailing around New England with five other cadets. It was a blast and I got to see parts of the region I’d never had before, such as Nantucket! The highlight of the summer though was my experience as AIM cadre. As AIM cadre, I gave three groups of rising high school seniors a weeklong introduction to Swab Summer and the Academy. AIM was a challenging program, and not everyone stuck through it all, but those that did called the program rewarding and motivating! It felt good to know I was having an impact on so many young lives.

 

More about John.

 

Holiday Sandwiched Mayhem

(Academics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Daghir Photo Hi. It’s weird. Driving back to school this time, I did not really experience that stomach drop. At this point, my closest friends are those who walk the halls here at school. Thanksgiving was nice, and it was a chance for me to be completely off guard prior to the most strenuous week of the semester. Funny how that works. I have to say though, the break was nice. I went home to Maryland and was able to get some quality family time in. I was able to depart early for recruiting leave, which was nice. I got to leave the Academy on Friday instead of Tuesday! I went to four high schools but unfortunately the students in my county were already on break, so I met with some teachers. I also did an informational session at a library, which was attended by a variety of people, so I guess I did get some recruiting in.

 

School is about to be crazy in the coming four days. I have two papers and a poster due, and two tests. And then our military scores are also due in, plus we have to attend military trainings. Additionally, I have a take-home test due and another test on Monday. Soooooo, when I finally make it to finals week, I will be one happy camper.

 

OH! Last week, our “shopping list” came out for all firsties!! I cannot even begin to believe that I have made it to this point in my cadet career, but at the same time, it feels natural that we are all considering where we will be spending the next chapter of our Coast Guard lives. People are starting to get sentimental, which may seem premature but honestly I could not tell you where the month of November went!

 

I hope that you continue to follow my journey as it sure to stay interesting!

 

2/c Year Academics

(Academics, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Seaman Photo Hello, all! As I’m getting ready to go on Thanksgiving leave, I’d love to tell you a little bit about my semester so far. It has been filled with academics and swimming, but also some very exciting milestones, like designing our class rings that we will get in April.

 

As an Operations Research major, I take mostly math and computer classes and a few humanities and navigation courses. I really enjoy the math and computer courses. This semester we are being introduced to computer programming in Java, which I find both pretty difficult and fun. The other math classes I’m taking are Probability Theory and Networks and Non-Linear Optimization. I think both of these are very interesting. (If you would like to know more about these courses feel free to email me). As far as non-major classes, I am in Morals and Ethics and Maritime Watch Officer. In Morals and Ethics, we learn about the different moral theories that exist and how they apply to everyday situations. Maritime Watch Officer is our navigation class. All cadets must take one navigation course each year. This year, it teaches us basic ship driving, how to use different modes of navigation, and conning skills. It is very applicable to the work we will do if we graduate and are assigned as a Deck Watch Officer on a cutter. We get to go out on the river and drive the Academy’s T-boats once a week during our lab and perform different drills like a man overboard recovery.

 

This is just a glimpse of 2/c year academics as I still have one more semester to go, but hopefully you now have some insight into what a typical semester is like for us here. Thanks for reading, and as always, email me if you have any questions!

 

More about Rachel.

 

Fall Goes Flying By!

(Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Engelhardt Photo Hello all! A lot has happened since my last blog, and as I write this blog winter appears to truly be descending on New London. However, this fall has truly been a blast; from times spent with friends, watching a successful football team, and getting to participate in some truly remarkable events, the first semester of my senior year at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy has truly been enjoyable!

 

When you are an underclass at the Academy, you do not have the privilege of having a car on base. However, as a senior, your car privilege opens up opportunities to travel and get out and about on the weekends. I have taken full advantage of this, exploring new restaurants in nearby Mystic; getting a chance to tour the mansions of Newport, Rhode Island with my girlfriend; and visiting friends at the relatively close U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

 

While the extra privileges have been nice, as an avid sports fan it is always great to see the Bears do well. Our men’s soccer team made the NCAA tournament last year, and our women’s volleyball team is always a force to be reckoned with in the NEWMAC, our athletic conference. Our football team, largely due to weight restrictions that limit the players’ size, always seems to lose the close games. However, this season has been a different one, and we have a great team that is exceeding expectations. It is especially nice to see my classmates on the team end their playing careers on such a high note.

 

Lastly, as a member of Regimental Staff, I have gotten the pleasure to interact with high-ranking officers and speakers when they come to visit the Academy. My most notable experience was escorting the head of the Norwegian Coast Guard during a Regimental Review held in honor of the recently completed Arctic Forum. Revealing my Norwegian heritage to him and getting invited to visit his house (an offer I hope he won’t forget) was definitely one of the most memorable experiences of my cadet career.

 

As Thanksgiving approaches and schoolwork intensifies, I apologize that I am unable to write more about what has been a truly remarkable semester. If you have any questions about my stories here or my Coast Guard Academy experiences these past three- plus years, I invite you to email me at James.D.Engelhardt@uscga.edu. Thanks for the read. Until next time, Semper Paratus and Go Bears!

 

More about James.