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

cadet blogs

Recruiting Leave Epiphany

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Mills Photo I had the opportunity to go on recruiting leave for the first time this past November the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Walking into a high school after being away from one for six years was to say the least very thought provoking. I began to think about myself in high school and what I valued most and how it compared to my values now. High school Sydney was uninterested about academics for the most part, concerned more about what I was going to wear than what I was going to learn in school. My passion was performing with the band as a member of color guard and spending crazy amounts of time after hours with the program. Seeing the high schoolers before me, I imagined many of them had similar values as I once had. Not focusing too much on academics or the future but enjoying extracurricular activities in the present.

 

Although I thoroughly enjoyed my high school experience and living in the present is so important, I am so glad I found the Academy, which has evolved my values. My interest in education has increased immensely and I have the best study habits I have ever had (not saying they are good now, but compared to before). I am more focused on my future, choosing my extracurricular activities based around those future goals. Being able to go back to a high school and promote the school I love so much was a great experience. I have so much pride in my school and I want everyone to know how valuable it has been to my growth as a person, a student, and a leader. I secretly implore all the young adults I saw in the high schools to focus on what really matters, filling their brains with the knowledge that they gain in class. Nothing will take you further. Knowledge is the key to growth in all aspects of life and the Coast Guard Academy has just opened the door for me to grow into the person I want to be. Go Bears!

 

More about Sydney.

 

Sharing the Dream

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Kokomoor Photo The Academy is hard. There’s no question about that. And there are definitely times that I sit back and think, “Why did I choose this?” There were so many options for me in high school, as there are for any senior, but for some reason I chose the early wake-ups and the military obligations, the uniforms and the late nights of homework and tea (I don’t drink coffee, but I need caffeine!). I chose this life because of the drive that I saw in the cadets when I was in high school, the will to do so many things because the reward is just so invaluable. The Coast Guard Academy spans far beyond an educational institution, as I have learned during my time here. It prepares cadets for the real world and the real life of an officer in the United States military.

 

That’s why I’m blogging, because I wish I knew then what I know now. It would have made my decision to come here far easier. Knowing myself, I may have entered any other civilian college with prospects of being an engineer, an athlete, and a social butterfly; juggling the three with ease and poise. What I know now is quite contradictory. If it were not for the Coast Guard Academy, I very well may have given up on one of those dreams in order to compensate for another. It is the environment and the people at the Academy that push me to work hard in every aspect of my life, never settling for what could have been or for the easy route. Anywhere else, I may have sacrificed my school work for my swimming, or my swimming for my social life, but here, none of that is an option and for that I am grateful. This school is tough, but I know that I would not be where I am today without it, and beyond that, I know that the prospects for my future are boundless as a result of it. This is why I blog, so that others know now, what I wish I had known then.

 

More about Jacklyn.

 

Going to College…And Then Some

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Horacek Photo Being afforded the opportunity to attend the Coast Guard Academy is a great deal. First and foremost, it is a fantastic school. Having small classes allows us to spend more one-on-one time with the extraordinary faculty, a luxury I now take for granted that many of my civilian college counterparts don’t share. That, among other things, makes for a remarkable degree program in whatever discipline you choose at an even better value ($0!!)

 

However, most of us don’t come to Academy just to be excellent engineers or managers, we are here for college plus a little (maybe more than a little) extra something on the side. That more than a little extra something is what takes us from college grads to competent Coast Guard officers. During my time at the Academy, I’ve experienced being pushed to my limits during Swab Summer to skippering a million dollar sailing yacht around Martha’s Vineyard, with a whole lot in between.

 

That’s why I decided to start blogging, to tell all you cadet hopefuls out there about the little extra something that really makes the Coast Guard Academy special to us, and what makes it all worth it at the end of day. I hope y’all enjoy whatever crazy ride this blog goes on. Semper Paratus and GO BEARS!

 

More about Brandon.

 

Why the Coast Guard Academy?

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Holland Photo When I was a junior in high school looking at where I wanted to continue my education, it was evident to me that I should be in the military. So my applications to the service academies went out and though I was double nominated, the rejections came rolling in except for USAF ROTC and the USCG Academy. I was on the waitlist for nearly four months until I was told that I should just accept my ROTC scholarship…so I did; however, I kept reading cadet blogs.

 

After I accepted my ROTC scholarship, I kept being drawn to the Coast Guard Academy by reading about the awesome experiences cadets were having through their blog pages. Surely enough, I was lucky to be plucked from the waitlist and appointed to the great Class of 2018. My time here at the Academy has been a dream come true, and I want to be able to inspire other prospective cadets to live out their dreams here in New London.

Very Respectfully,
2/c Holland

 

More about Taylor.

 

With High Risk Comes High Reward

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Gerton Photo As I mentioned briefly in my profile, the Academy is an extremely rewarding place. This comes from, as the saying goes, the high risk associated with it. It however is not a bad sort of risk. The risk comes from entering a life that you probably don’t know much about beforehand. The risk of coming here was a world of unknowns, but I have been rewarded so greatly that I want to share those rewards and experiences that have led me to where I am today and those that have helped shaped me into who I am today.

 

I want to blog to be able to share my experiences from my time at the Academy with those interested in coming here. I hope that through sharing my experiences I can possibly decrease the risk of coming here for those interested, without decreasing the reward. Honestly, I have gone through so many amazing but also some very challenging experiences while here at the Academy and I am still very happy with my decision to come here and hope that I can influence the cadets of the future.

 

More about Gillian.

 

I Have Never Been So Enthusiastic About School!

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chen Photo Hi there,

 

So, I’m new to this blog. I’ve decided to become a cadet blogger to tell you all about the Academy and share my experiences on what it’s like to be a cadet. Currently, I am a 2/c, a.k.a., a junior. This fall I’ve decided to join the cheerleading squad. Cheerleading has been a blast so far. I never thought I would ever become a cheerleader, but it’s a great workout. I’m a base in our pyramid formations so I get to lift and throw people. I’ve also tried out for the Glee Club and got in. It’s a great way to socialize with people you usually don’t get to talk to.

 

Classes this semester are very enjoyable. I get to take more major-specific classes. I am a Government major in the Security Studies track. I take classes like Intel and Democracy, International Relations, and Public Policymaking. We get to debate in class as well as practice our public speaking skills. I have never been so enthusiastic about school!

 

On another note, my family is visiting me this weekend; it’s Parents Weekend. My family will be going to class with me, watching me during drill, during our glee performance, and our cheer routine at the football game. I feel so busy but excited to show my family what I do. I can’t wait!

 

More about Sarah.

 

Parting Words

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Daghir Photo So not to be too sad or morbid, but this may be my last Academy blog post. I guess we really should stifle the sniffles and see it for the jubilant occasion that it is: I AM GRADUATING. After 4.5 years of blood, sweat, tears, and hard work, countless friends, marching, and emails, I have to say that I am finally coming to the golden butter bar light at the end of this brick tunnel. I am sad to leave but entirely satisfied with the time and more importantly the relationships and accomplishments I will be packing up and taking with me. One of the first things to go will be the laptop that I am currently typing this blog on: the thing has a 50/50 chance of not deleting whatever document I am procrastinating my way through. But in addition to the struggling electronic systems, parade dress uniform items, and tattered bedding, I will be leaving behind the days of communal bathrooms, classroom naps, team sports, and wardroom food. I have become my own person through this crazy process and I have to say that I am still a work in progress but a lot sturdier than I was when I came in as a freshman, fragile and shiny and breakable emotionally (and physically?) but I have learned how to be mentally tough, and learned how to handle stress and even to lift a little in the gym. This experience was one in a million.

 

I guess I will leave some advice, sort of like what I left for the fourth class when I made it to the esteemed title of third class, but this is more for the second class, or the seniors looking into the kaleidoscope of their upcoming last semester. They all experience a beautiful tunnel vision that keeps all of reality from resembling anything more than brightly colored patterns in the eyes of anxious excited first class. I’ll start with a thank you: to all of my lacrosse teammates, Delta Company, and my Marine and Environmental Sciences people. I will never forget the kindness, motivation, and fun I found in spending the last four.5 years of my life with you in some capacity. I think that it is important to stay well rounded and I felt supported from every angle.

 

Okay, time for some advice:

 

  1. Smile. Don’t ever forget: no matter how rough school, drama, military, family, or friends seem, you can always take a breath, smile, and remember that life is all about perspective. You will have time, and the stuff will get done. Smiling is contagious and it actually will make you and other people feel better :)
  2. Go for it. Take every opportunity. Don’t sit on the sidelines of life. The things that we regret are those that we did not do. Be adventurous and go outside. Appreciate your ability to be in the wild, to be with friends, and with the world. Offer to help people, be adventurous – you never know what you will find.
  3. Connections are key – to next jobs, to finding fun things to do, to meeting new people and learning new things. It is important to network and to have a story about yourself that will capture all who are lucky enough to bump into you. Be unforgettable and don’t forget the people you meet. (As a side note, people really appreciate thank you cards.)
  4. Stay open minded. Remember that you are never going to have full control. Be able to stay on your toes and be adaptable. Change will happen and if you let it ruin your day it will, or it could make you stronger and better at what you do.

 

There is probably more to say but I write too much as it is. Being in the Coast Guard is cool and it teaches you a lot more than how to drive a boat.

 

More about Lucy.

 

Staycation

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Pavan Photo From what I hear, the summers here at the Coast Guard Academy are a blast! You get to go out in the fleet, experience the Coast Guard and apply some of the salty knowledge you learned throughout fourth class year, and go some pretty rad places… Well, so I’ve heard!

 

Unfortunately, in the spring of my fourth class year I had to undergo knee surgery to reconstruct a torn ACL, leaving me not fit for full duty for the entire 11 weeks. This summer, my classmates had the opportunity to do half of their summer aboard our training ship USCGC Eagle and spend the other half either somewhere else in the country experiencing the operational Coast Guard or attending summer school to fulfill academic requirements. This year, my classmates got to take the Eagle to Europe, which is an amazing opportunity, and if you’d like to read more about that feel free to dig around for their blog posts on it.

 

I spent the first five weeks focusing on getting strength back in my leg enough to be able to ditch my bulky brace and the second half I joined my classmates and attended summer school for six weeks while I was still doing a physical therapy program. Although I wasn’t about to share any crazy nautical experiences with my classmates, I was able to enjoy looking at my food and finally finding my way around Chase Hall! I was bummed at first, but I believe that everything happens for a reason and I could not be more thankful to have such a great on-base clinic with a physical therapy staff that is so flexible and knowledgeable! I’ll be back on the rugby pitch soon enough.

 

This winter, I am taking the opportunity to do something called “Winter Fleet,” where I will spent part of my winter leave doing similar training as my classmates did this summer (*completely optional*) just so I can experience the fleet and get a sense of what awesome things I have to look forward to. Since I live in Fort Lauderdale, the officers over in Cadet Training have helped me a ton in planning out a perfect schedule so I can work in the nearby station, go underway on some fast response cutters out of Miami, and still be with my family on the holidays so I am extremely excited for what is to come! I am stoked to be able to apply the knowledge I learned from fourth class year, as well as the things I am learning this semester and apply it in the fleet. Can’t get too carried away though, it’s not even winter yet!

Semper Paratus!
Bruna.M.Pavan@uscga.edu 

 

More about Bruna.

 

Why Did I Sign Up to Blog?

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Hepler Photo I signed up to be a cadet blogger for two main reasons. Number one: I love the Academy! It definitely kicks my butt at times but the challenges it brings has brought me close to some of the best people on the planet. The Academy is not an easy place but having the right people around you makes it a hundred times better. Number two: I love the Coast Guard! I have done some incredible things since I have been at the Academy that I would not have had the chance to do had I been somewhere else and the best part is many of these were surprises for me. I had no idea when I accepted my appointment what unexpected excitement was ahead. This past summer, my third class summer, was absolutely amazing. I spent five weeks working in the fleet on CGC Cypress and six weeks on CGC Eagle. While I had fun all eleven weeks, the best part was being able to see what the real Coast Guard is like. Now, knowing what I have to look forward to when I graduate (a humanitarian mission, truly wonderful people, traveling the world, boats) has me more excited than ever and more appreciative of the Academy, which allows me to obtain a Bachelor’s of Science and undergo training to be an officer simultaneously. At this point there’s not much more I can ask for!

 

More about Mikki.

 

The Night Everything Changed

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Harrison Photo On May 7th, 2015, the stadium went ballistic. People in the stands were on their feet, yelling and stomping as the night continued on. The cold night air did not suppress their screeches and cries for the players who were rounding the bases. Except, these minor league baseball fans weren’t exactly cheering for their team. In fact, the Trenton Thunder baseball team had been on a severe losing streak, only giving the fans another reason to be angry while waiting on their hot dog order. Yes, the fans’ were not making cheers of exclamation for their favorite hometown team, but rather yelling incoherently at the redheaded girl behind the food stand who keeps messing up their nacho order. My name is Kiera Harrison and I have no idea how I made it this far.

 

This night started off as usual for your favorite hot dog girl. I took order after order and spilled soda after soda until the register was full but somehow my tip jar was somehow emptier than when I clocked in. As the fireworks went off to signify the end of another tragic Trenton Thunder loss, I took off to my car with a leftover stale pretzel in hand for dinner. I unlocked my car and stared out at Highway 9, thinking that New Jersey wasn’t going to be my home for much longer. I was on my way to becoming a Pittsburgh Panther and leaving in only a few short months. I pulled out my phone to let my mom know I was on my way home and I noticed I had a bunch of new unread emails. Thinking I missed an assignment in physics, I quickly checked through. The first email read “Save at Petco!” and I was wondering how they got my address. Highly anti-climactic. The next email, however, said I had gotten off the waitlist and had officially gotten an appointment to the United States Coast Guard Academy. There I was, a small redheaded girl covered in nacho cheese who was now the future of our country’s military. It could only go up from there.

 

The next month and half was a blur. A weird combination of graduation parties, paperwork, high school “lasts,” pitiful attempts to get in better shape, and goodbyes to good friends. Needless to say, when R-Day rolled around, I was very unprepared. I knew an appointment to a military academy was a once in a lifetime opportunity, but I had no idea what to expect. I went in completely blind, but it ended up working out for me. I know this is the case for many students who have no connections to the military. I want to be a blogger so these people can relate to someone who was in their shoes not long ago. My goal is to deliver relatable posts that will help prospective cadets get a glimpse into Academy life while having a few laughs along the way.

 

More about Kiera.

 

Connecting With Others

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Andrews Photo Throughout my life, I was always told by my parents to be a leader, not a follower. This stuck with me for the most part. I mean, it is hard to be a leader at five years old but that didn’t stop me from trying.

 

My dad coached my pee-wee basketball team and I wanted pink converse to wear as my basketball shoes. I remember wearing them at my very first game. By the second game, the entire team had pink converse. This made me realize the direct impact I had on others. If I was able to influence others with my bright pink sneakers at five years old, then who knew what else I was capable of doing?!

 

In high school, I was involved with mentoring elementary students. I loved being able to connect with the youth and set a good example for them. Giving advice and making others feel important is what I was strongest at.

 

Through cadet blogging, I want others to feel connected and have access to any information they need. I want to contribute to the Academy’s visibility to the public eye. This way, we can all be connected.

 

More about Cassidy.

 

Crunch Time and Thanksgiving

(Academics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Hosley Photo Well it is finally that time of year again and I can’t wait! Thanksgiving is absolutely my favorite holiday. I can’t wait to finally relax, see all of my family, and of course eat Thanksgiving food; but before the holiday leave period rolls around we have a couple weeks of crunch time. That is when, all of the sudden, you are just overwhelmed with major projects, tests, and papers that the teachers have to squeeze into their class schedules before Thanksgiving leave. This week has been a total whirlwind and I still have two days left to get through before leave. It has been especially hard now that a lot have my friends have already gone home early on recruiting leave, Chase Hall feels a little extra lonely and quiet. Plus they also love to send me pictures of them relaxing at home or with the new Starbucks holiday drinks in their fun fall civilian outfits, how insensitive! Just kidding really, we’re all just a little antsy to get home to our families.

 

I am very lucky to live so close to the Academy, but since some of my classmates aren’t as lucky they can’t travel home for this holiday. I always extend an open invitation to anyone who can’t go home for Thanksgiving; no one should miss out on the good food in my opinion. Now, the only thing standing in the way of me and that turkey is a five-page paper on the subject of a world without mangrove forest habitats in Southeast Asia for my fisheries biology class and a massive rough draft poster presentation for our marine GIS project (or geospatial information systems). For our GIS project we are correlating NOAA sighting data of right whales to the acoustic detections of the DMON buoy located off of Martha’s Vineyard that I have been working with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute on for my directed study as well. The importance of the project is crucial for the conservation of the species and will be presented to District 1 and hopefully Headquarters so that the Coast Guard will take on the buoy project and continue with this valuable research. The whole project is very interesting, but also very complicated so it has taken a ton of focus, research, calculations, and mapping to put it all together so far. Anyway, I should probably get back to working on that… Happy almost Thanksgiving everyone!

 

More about Cece.

 

Coast Guard Family Month

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I am going to take this blog post to write about what I am thankful for. Cadets are often too busy to take the time to reflect about how lucky we truly are, but when you take a pause from the craziness of day-to-day life it is easy to see how amazing this opportunity we are being given truly is.

 

The Coast Guard family is what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving. I came to Connecticut not knowing a soul. I’d been in Colorado for the year prior to my fourth class (freshman) year, and I was worried about starting over again. I had made amazing friends at college, and I didn’t want to have to start from square one. Thankfully, the Coast Guard Academy welcomed me with open arms. The best thing about the Academy is that no matter who you are, when times get tough, people will be there to support you. Everyone cares about the well-being of their shipmates, and while cadets are competitive, it is friendly and good-natured and encourages you to be the best you can be. Through my teachers, sponsor family, command staff and, most importantly, my classmates and peers, I know I have people I can lean on and I hope that they feel the same way.

 

The Academy, people say, is a great place to be from but not always the most relaxing place to be. With the challenges we are faced with here, having a strong support network is important and thankfully I have found that.

 

More about Hannah.

 

A Writer at Heart

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Wheeler Photo I have always loved writing! English and history were always my favorite subjects in high school, the various essays we would be assigned I considered to be a welcomed challenge and overall really fun. I oftentimes wrote for fun in high school, sometimes just recounting the events of the day, other times creating adventure-filled short stories purely for enjoyment. My senior year of high school, I wrote the daily paper for the student body (my first period was journalism and I was the only student in the class, so I had about an hour each day to create and distribute my school’s paper; my school had 95 students in total), so writing well and writing fast were skills I acquired VERY quickly. Once I discovered the Academy had a Cadet Blog Club, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t sign up for the club fast enough. I am eager to begin submitting monthly contributions about the Academy and all it has to offer! I remember being that high school student reading about all of the exciting activities at the Academy in the cadet spotlights on the Academy’s home page, now it feels almost surreal to be writing those articles myself.

 

More about Pat.

 

Continuing My Academic Journey

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Turner Photo Reading the cadet blogs is an excellent way to know if the Coast Guard Academy is right for you. It features entries from all types of cadets. By having each class provide entries into the blog, one can get a fairly well-rounded picture of life at the Academy. The blog also provides insight into life outside of the Academy, and into the mind of a cadet. While these experiences will differ for everyone, they can help an applicant figure out what might be in store for them.

 

That one such applicant was me. When I was applying to the Academy, I would read a blog entry nightly. Reading about the rigor of the academic year, the mental battle during Swab Summer, and the epic 3/c summer, I was even more excited to come here. Hopefully, I will be able to do the same for the future classes.

 

The Cadet Blog Club is much more than a small club. It’s the best way to recruit future cadets. I say this because, it’s always available and it’s from the cadets, to the prospective cadets. There is no other way to know about the Academy than to hear it from the people that are part of the program. Since each cadet has a different background, they can give a different insight into life at the USCGA. I want to provide a little more diversity to an already diverse program, and hopefully help a future cadet figure out that the Academy is a major gateway to success.

 

More about Anthony.

 

On Taking Advice from Strange Cadets on the Internet

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Swift Photo Cadet blogs were my first experiences with the CGA, really. I can remember, before I had even decided to come to the Academy, my mom and I would read the cadet blogs. We had discovered the blogs, sitting innocuously on the left side of the CGA webpage, innocently enough. There was a picture of a smiling cadet and an intriguing tagline. It drew us in. Those cadets became the face of the Academy. When the pressure to decide on a college got pretty intense, I tried very hard to stick my head in the sand, and any conversation between my mom and I went about like this:

 

Mom: “So, where are you going to college?”

 

Me: “I don’t know. I think I’m joining the circus. Leave me to my existential dread.”

 

Mom: “You should read this cadet blog…and maybe go for a run.”

 

Me: “MOTHER. EXISTENTIAL DREAD TIME. NO DECISIONS ALLOWED.”

 

In a way, I think my life was pretty influenced by those blogs – and the advice of the bloggers. Swab Summer would’ve been vastly different had I not known what little I did about the Academy. This place pretty much runs on cadet advice, firstie to fourth class and all in between. More than anything though, the blogs gave my family and I the peace of mind that we needed; these were living, breathing cadets who lived and breathed their way through Swab Summer and turned out just fine.

 

Though my summer was rough, and switching from “swab mode” to “student mode” is confusing for most all fourth class, the advice of people who’ve been in our shoes gets us through. From tips and tricks on how to wear the uniform, to how to avoid getting in major trouble, upper class cadets run the show and run it well. They look out for us, and look out for each other, too. I know parents always told us not to listen to strangers on the internet (and that was actually excellent advice), but I’m glad that I did in the case of cadet blogs. It’s strange to think that I was taking cadets’ advice long before I ever met them – before I could’ve ever imagined that I would be living a few doors down from them – before I considered them siblings.

 

I wholeheartedly believe that the Corps of Cadets is a family. Sure, siblings squabble, but I have seen them come together and it’s a powerful force. Cadets can do anything when they put their heart into it, whether that be finding harmless loopholes in the wardroom rules or getting a struggling fourth class through a tough academic semester. Remarkably, their kindness isn’t reserved just for cadets – it extends to CGA families, to potential cadets, and to anyone they meet. We’re the Coast Guard, a family who makes it their mission to help where they’re needed most. Blogging might be the one small way in which I can lend a hand, like the advice prior blogs helped me. Even if I am just a cadet on the internet.

 

P.S. You can trust me. I’ve had a background check!

 

More about Delaney.

 

The Experiences of Real Swabs, Real Cadets, Real People

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Stanchi Photo I sit in my room anxiously thinking about reporting in to the Academy. I imagine the cadre yelling at me, my shipmates and I doing push-ups, what the food will taste like, and what uniform I will be wearing. My mind races. I am very much of an over thinker, and I rarely like to be surprised. And then it occurs to me. I YouTube “Swab Summer United States Coast Guard Academy” and am met with many videos from the previous summers. I extended this search by going online to the CGA’s website and read the cadet blogs. Real swabs, real cadets, real people. Real people who have done what I am about to do. Suddenly, the Academy doesn’t seem as scary.

 

This happened a lot. Whenever I felt nervous or scared, I tried to find new resources of people talking about their Academy experiences, which was often accomplished by reading more cadet blogs. Hearing cadets’ stories and struggles made me realize that I too could make it through the challenges of the Academy. This is what I hope to accomplish for others by being a cadet blogger.

 

It is truly overwhelming to think about what you are about to get yourself in to by accepting your appointment to the Academy. I hope to lessen those anxieties for prospective cadets by sharing my experiences. I want them to realize what I came to realize, that the Academy is filled with people who have been tested in so many ways. Many people have made mistakes, some have been sent home, but most are still here. No one is perfect. The challenges you face at the Academy are miniscule compared to the challenges you will face in the fleet and in life. Everyone grows and learns here, and among the challenges are the amazing and unique opportunities you can’t find anywhere else. I have already experienced so many positive and rare things in my few short weeks here. It takes a certain kind of person, but if I can do it, I believe you can, too.

 

More about MegMarie.

 

From Curious High Schooler to 4/c: Why I Want to be a Blogger

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Smith Photo It felt like just yesterday I was stepping foot on campus for the first time on a beautiful October day in 2015, and now it’s nearly September of my 4/c year at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. I knew next to nothing about the Coast Guard Academy, besides the fact that it was an institution that graduated officers in the Coast Guard. It was mostly because of cadet blogs that I was able to understand what the Academy was, who the cadets were as people, and what kind of opportunities and adventures the Academy would set me up for, should I get in – and very thankfully, I did!

 

I want to be a blogger because in a time long, long ago, I was a junior in high school having a talk with my parents and teachers about where I wanted to apply to college. Of all the places I inquired about, it was only the Coast Guard Academy that had real blogs written by actual students about life at the Academy and their experiences during the academic year and the summer. It was those stories that solidified my interest in making the trip up to the Academy and visiting, which then lead to my decision to apply and accept my appointment. I am incredibly thankful for the cadet blogs, because without them, I don’t believe I would have decided to even visit or apply. I would love to give back what cadet blogs gave me, and inspire others to consider the Academy just as they inspired me to.

 

More about Sarah.

 

Blogging as an International Cadet

(Athletics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Ramos Photo Hello world! I am 4/c John Ramos from the great Class of 2020. I am currently in Golf Company and one of our company’s focuses is aviation. There are countless reasons why I decided to join the Cadet Blog Club. As an international cadet, I believe there is a greater reason why I am here right now. I am here to let everyone know what my country and its culture is all about. There is no better way to share my experiences than writing about them for the Academy’s website.

 

Additionally, what I will bring to this prestigious Academy program is a demonstration of the unwavering work ethic of the Philippines. I am thrilled and excited to be at the Academy and am planning to major in Operations Research and Computer Analysis. I will also continue to share the knowledge and experiences of my teammates in the rowing team, my shipmates in Cyber Team, International Council, Asian Pacific American Council, and Officers’ Christian Fellowship. I am so happy to be here and there is no place I’d rather be.

 

More about John.

 

And Let the Games Begin!… Again…

(Academics, Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Purrington Photo Exactly nine weeks ago today, June 25, 2016, my parents and I arrived in New London, Connecticut, to the city that I would call home for the next four years. Swab Summer came and went in a whirlwind of yelling and commotion and now we are one week into the school year. And even though I am now part of the corps, that I am a “basically trained coast guardsman,” I feel no different.

 

Classes started this week and, just like high school, some are harder than others. Statics and Engineering Design is a pretty tough class, Leaders in U.S. History is practically a repeat of my AP U.S. History class (this is certainly not a bad thing since I loved my APUSH class, simply something I’ve noticed). While we are on the topic of things I’ve noticed, another thing I’ve observed is that life here at the CGA is very, very similar to high school (kinda backward right? Most people have told you differently, haven’t they?). My high school experience was very busy, 20+ hours a week on the water with my sailing team, rigorous academics with many AP classes, participation my school’s choir and a cappella group as well as my church’s choir, Girl Scouts (including earning my Gold Award), DEV Team, and working on the tech crew for my school’s theatre department and occasionally another theatre group outside my school. Do I say all this to make myself look good? No. I say all this because I read the cadet blogs all through high school and everybody said something to the effect of “it’s so much harder than high school ever was,” and I spent a good portion of my time worrying about how on earth I would ever survive in a place with even more demands on my time. I want to dismiss that thought for anybody who’s schedule was a jam packed as mine. In high school, I got up around 5:30 every morning, didn’t get home until after 7:30 every evening, and then did homework until at least 12 if not further into the night. Here at the Academy, I get up at 5:45 (Wooo! Sleeping in a bit!), I go to classes, some days I even have a free period where I can do homework, I go to sailing (which always ends at a set time), I eat (squaring my meals of course), then I either practice with the Glee Club for an hour or finish my homework and am in bed by 12 (unless there’s a Formal Room and Wing, then all bets for sleeping are off).

 

That was long and tangent-y so I’ll hop off here and let you continue with your day.

 

Very Respectfully,
4/c Darden Purrington

P.S. I am always available to answer any questions or talk to anybody about the Academy! Just email me at Kathlene.D.Purrington@uscga.edu.

 

More about Darden.

 

I’m Here to Serve

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Opas Photo I knew from the get-go I wanted to be in the armed forces. I applied to scores of civilian schools, as well as Coast Guard and the Naval Academy, but almost every campus visit left me feeling unfulfilled. With the exception of Annapolis, the merits and programs of the colleges I looked at presented excellent academic opportunities and generally heralded solid career-starting positions. But they all lacked something the Academy has in immeasurable quantity: a body of individuals passionate about their profession. More specifically: who they are, who they serve, and how they serve.

 

Not only was this passion evident in every cadet I met when I attended Cadet for a Day, but it resonated in these same cadet blogs that I read as an unsure high school senior, looking to make one of the most significant decisions of my life. Each blog post was as honest perspective into the details of cadet life that one doesn’t necessarily get during an admissions brief. I liked that candor, I liked the diverse array of opportunities, but best of all, I liked how everyone shared a similar vision of service and success.

 

I would love for my blog to work as a recruiting tool in the same manner the blogs of others worked for me. I feel like if sharing the highs and lows of my journey as a cadet can influence someone else to follow the path I’ve taken, I’ve succeeded as a leader in guiding future generations and setting an example for them to follow. Just maybe, I’ll learn a little more about my shipmates and myself and in the process share that knowledge and wisdom.

 

More about Leah.

 

Climbing Skjeggedal

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Noble Photo As I hiked the mountains of Scandinavia, I looked back into the relentless past, marveled at the unraveling present, and speculated about the mysterious future. Life is really a great climb.

 

It was my first time to hike and climb a real mountain. It was no fun. I only did this because of peer pressure and how it is seen as something that one must do in Norway. This mountain in Skjeggedal is called Trolltunga or the “Troll’s Tongue.” An iconic mountain that was very famous to Vikings since the late 11th century. It has always been featured in travel magazines and adventure blogs due to its scenic cliffs and spectacular views.

 

But in all honesty, I would never climb this mountain again after experiencing the impetuosity of this 12-hour up and down and 4 degree Celsius night hike. I would rather go to the driving range, hit some golf balls, then head out with my golf cart and play a simple 18-hole golf match with my friends from the United States Coast Guard Academy. I could head out to the 5th Deck of the Roland Hall and play a pick-up game of basketball with my classmates. If all else fails, I can head down to Groton to my sponsor parent’s house and watch Netflix and probably take a nap. I would rather do things that make me feel relaxed rather than things that will make me feel danger and fear. Relaxing for me is the best feeling in the world.

 

During that difficult hike I had in Norway, zoned out several times and told myself that I want a big change in my life. I wanted to be a part of something huge just like the big icy mountain. I want to represent my country at the United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA). It was a heartfelt wish and a prayer to God. Soon after, I applied to the USCGA and eventually got appointed. I always wanted to become a Philippine Coast Guard attaché that works in our Foreign Affairs Department so I can see the world. I love the fact that they get to travel across the earth, and help out with global issues and transnational affairs. Now, how is this related to wanting to be a blogger. The simple reason I have is that I want to open myself up and travel to the minds of my readers. I want to enter the mighty seas of their thoughts. As I share what we cadets are going through, I believe I could leave an indelible mark in their hearts and minds.

 

Blogging is also an avenue to influence people and tell them what are you going through. It is indeed an essential tool for people to share their ideas and lifestyle. It is a means of sharing personal messages and insights. One can get to imagine what it is like in the shoes of the blogger. In the case of the reader, it is easier to react to blogs than formal articles. This is the reason that I have always been a fan of blogs. I love reading them because I sense the person to person interaction.

 

Blogging encourages amateur writing that could lead to professional writing. If blogging is not encouraged, there will be fewer sharing of ideas and insights. Blogging is a great tool to express oneself that could benefit other people in very simple, practical, fun and honest way.

 

More about Eric.

 

From Prep School to Life as a Cadet

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Mau Photo The purpose of my blog is to help and maybe inspire others to be open to new things and consider alternative educational options, such as a military academy. When I was a junior in high school, my mom first presented the idea of the Coast Guard Academy to me and I thought she was crazy. I couldn’t picture myself wearing a uniform, marching, being yelled at and becoming a member of the military service. However, after talking with my parents and weighing my options, I decided to accept the scholar position and underwent two and a half weeks of summer training at the Academy, before heading off to Milledgeville, Georgia.

 

Honestly, I thought prep school was really difficult. As scholars, we took 22 to 24 credit hours each semester, and classes included Calculus, English Composition and Speech, Physics, Chemistry, World Literature and American History. No easy A’s here. However, earning my appointment in the end was all worth it.

 

As I reported in for Swab Summer (“R-Day”), I could not help but feel a mixture of sadness, anxiety, and relief. Sad to say goodbye to my family, anxiety at having to face seven weeks of yelling, and relief that I had actually earned my place in the Class of 2020. Looking back at it now, Swab Summer went by really quickly – mostly what I remember is that it was hot, sweaty and loud!

 

Transitioning from being told what to do by cadre to the academic year was a big adjustment for me. I knew that the academics here would be challenging, and even with a year of prep school under my belt, I still find them difficult. The semester has actually been going by pretty fast though; I’m really looking forward to the start of fall, Thanksgiving break, and sharing my experiences here at the Academy as a cadet!

 

More about Kacie Ann.

 

Branching Out

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Lorence Photo The first weeks are the hardest trying to get adjusted to normal cadet life. I came out of Swab Summer energized and ready for the school year. I still have that same energy every morning when I wake up. I have noticed a lot of fourth class cadets stay within their own companies aside from participating on a sports team, but with my experiences during Swab Summer (switching companies for two weeks) I have made great friends throughout the Corps of Cadets. This gives me the ability to help introduce people from other companies to mine, and vice versa. With these friends (in company and out) I have had countless opportunities to do amazing things, such as providing assistance for runners in a youth triathlon.

 

I will also be able to do many more amazing things in the coming months. October 7th I will be departing from the Academy with the Rifle Team to shoot against the Naval Academy. The team is also traveling to Colorado to shoot against the Air Force Academy very soon! I am sure my scores will only continue to improve under the guidance of the excellent coaching staff we have. The environment of the team only adds to this positively, and would recommend anyone to come try it out!

 

Finding something to do after shooting became simple for me after I made a mini schedule. I eat, workout for an hour and shower, and then it’s time to attack homework. I found the course load very difficult to manage in the beginning, but after timing my homework in sections I have found it to be quite easy. There are still times when I will not finish a homework assignment, but the teachers are understanding and can extend the deadline, or give partial credit where it is allowed.

 

Overall life at the Academy has been a blast! I’m sure it will only raise the bar in the coming months! If you would like to contact me with any questions on the Rifle Team, or really anything, my email is always open: Dylan.M.Lorence@uscga.edu.

 

More about Dylan.

 

Passing on the Influence

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Kim Photo The AIM program had just ended and I was on my way back home to California. This was the summer of 2015. I was absolutely hooked on the Academy. Although it was my first time visiting the Academy and, at that, only spending a week there, I still felt as though I could call it my home.

 

Once I got home, I did some exploring on the Coast Guard Academy website. I pressed on every tab and on every link. Eventually, I stumbled upon what I thought was the coolest thing on the website – cadet blogs. That’s when I read every blog by every blogger. From reading about what the 4/c cadets did to what the 1/c cadets did, I was excited. Everyone seemed to have a natural, honest view of the Academy and reading about what they have accomplished while in the Coast Guard was motivating. The most inspiring bloggers, though, were those who have started their 4/c year and have continuously updated their blogs throughout their Academy career. It was a strange feeling for me, the reader. Although I have never met the person, I felt as though I was growing with them. I was struggling with them as they described the tough environment at the Academy. I was in awe of them when they were describing what different experiences they had at Coast Guard sectors and on cutters over the summer. I had so much fun reading these blogs because they pushed me to work harder. They gave me hope that one day I would be able to attend one of America’s finest military institutions. That’s the kind of influence that I would like to pass on.

 

The cadet blogs have inspired me and now that I have made it to 4/c year, it is time for me to pass on that same inspiration to others across the nation. I hope that through my blogs, prospective cadets will be motivated to work their hardest and remain concentrated on one day becoming a cadet at the United States Coast Guard Academy.

 

More about Matthew.

 

From a Nervous High-Schooler to a Blogger

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Just for Fun, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Hill Photo I want to be a blogger because I want to be there for the kids who are undecided and really nervous about the possibility of coming to the amazing Coast Guard Academy. I was one of those high-schoolers who was anxious at not knowing what to actually expect. Further, I want to provide an accurate and positive (because it’s true!) representation of the Academy. I love being here and I want to help others.

 

I made it through Swab Summer and have completed my first few weeks of school. By the way, my one week aboard the USCGC Eagle was super fun! I enjoyed getting to know enlisted members of the Coast Guard, learning more about ships, what it REALLY means to be a shipmate (teammate), and about navigation. I also, weirdly enough, enjoyed cleaning the ship. I have developed a knack for cleaning places I never knew existed thanks to the tutelage and guidance of my Swab Summer cadre. So, yes, sometimes things get a little overwhelming during Swab Summer and at the Academy, but if you just keep a calm mind and develop a practical approach to each task, nothing is "hard." I realize that all of the intense situations that I do experience are meant to prepare me for life as an officer in the fleet. I am never truly afraid because I know I have my friends (shipmates), and all of the Academy staff and Coast Guard men and women supporting me and I am there to support them as well.

 

I have had so many positive experiences here already, a lot of inside jokes and just funny moments with my classmates—whom I have gotten to know super well (it just happens during Swab Summer; trust me).

 

Okay, so this thing about “Oh 4/c cadets don’t get enough sleep” is not completely true. I make time for sleep. End of story. I do my homework when it is assigned in an area where I can concentrate and then I have time to go to bed by 2200. I have my whiteboard and giant desk calendar to organize myself so that it makes it easier to budget my time. However, I am a really light sleeper, so it is kind of difficult when my roommate decides to stay up later to do her homework and then comes into the room (I still love my roommate though—she gets me). For this, I have invested in some ear plugs, an OBJEE the Bear PillowPet, and a sleeping mask. I am definitely nervous for upcoming assignments, but it is nothing that with organization and effort, I can’t handle. I AM excited, though, for Spirit Week coming up—it’s my debut as a cheerleader during the pep rally so I hope I don’t mess up, but I will just have fun with it. The girls on the cheer team are actually really sweet and nice and many of them had never cheered prior to coming to the Academy either. I decided that doing a varsity sport like softball would take up too much of my time, plus I am kind of tired of playing the same sport since I was five years old.

Smile and stay goofy y’all!

 

More about Kelly.

 

The Reality of a Dream

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Heinrich Photo Screaming, sprinting, gasping for breath and living one day at a time is not how I imagined “living the dream” would be. That’s what tends to happen when you have a dream: you never fully realize the hard road you will have to take to get there. You think of the benefits, the beautiful sunset at the end of the day, but the sweat, the courage and strife needed to get there is often an afterthought if it is even a thought at all.

 

Swab Summer changed me for the better; every person who successfully completed the training program will tell you the same. Although I endured hardships like nothing I’ve ever faced before, I would do it again. I would relive every sweaty, funny, tough moment of this summer, because CGA is my dream, and the reality of my dream is far better than anything I ever imagined. I and every fourth class will need to earn their place at the Academy and as officers in the Coast Guard every day for the next four years. This is no cake walk but like anything that is worth something in this life, you have to fight for your dreams.

 

I want to be a blogger to report the reality of fourth class year: the tears of joy, the tears which stream down your face from laughing too hard, and the tears from struggling through the challenges of the CGA. The 2016-2017 year is going to be yet another amazing experience and I can’t wait to share mine with you.

 

More about Michaela.

 

The Escape of Writing

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Gilliam Photo The reason I will want to be a blogger is because I believe I can really make a difference and help prospective students interested in the Academy. I used to read the cadet blogs constantly, trying to see what life was like at the Coast Guard Academy and they provided a lot of helpful information and comfort. Through email, I was even able to talk to some upperclassmen. I would like to be that help for people and an Academy connection. In addition, I have always had a love for creative writing and blogging, and to be a part of the Blog Club, would allow that piece of me to still grow, and be alive through the chaos of 4/c year. I feel that I need the escape of writing as it is important to me and I miss blogging, all of which makes this club a perfect fit.

 

More about Courtney.

 

Why I Want to Blog

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Gavin Photo The past three summers of my life I have spent here at the Academy in one way or the other, through AIM, CGAS, and now Swab Summer. I came for an overnight visit during my senior year; I spoke with the swim coach and my admissions officer on a regular basis. I knew people who were at the Academy and people who had already gone through. I spent nearly every day leading up until when the application was released pretty much obsessed with the Academy. One of the things that I obsessed about was the Cadet Blogs. It became routine: check my email, check the blogs, google other blogs.

 

Even when I was at prep school, these blogs give a sense of connection to the Academy that newspaper articles and stories don’t. The connection to cadets, some of which were eventually to be my cadre, helped make Marion, Alabama seem not too far away. The reason I chose to blog is because I want to be of help to those prospective cadets and to feel that connection that I relied on so heavily. I want to be their reminder that while the Academy, however ominous it may look beyond the gates, is filled with normal kids with the same goals as them. I would love to be able to answer questions or advise both students and parents about all the different opportunities and ways to get your name remembered to help with the admissions process.

 

Additionally, writing has always been sort of second nature to me. At prep school, I got the English award in a class were all we did was write different types of essays. It’s both relaxing and a very effective stress outlet that I would love to be able use productively.

 

More about Julia.

 

A New Adventure!

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Farlow Photo My name is 4/c Francesca Farlow from Dallas, Texas! After completing Swab Summer, my shipmates and I became members of Alfa Company where we have continued to push through the beginning of 4/c year together.

 

I think the cadet blog program is a great opportunity for prospective cadets, parents, and friends to get a glimpse of what cadet life is really like. As a prospective cadet I was constantly checking the USCGA website for updated blogs; I loved them. In fact, I always wondered if I would have the opportunity to become a cadet blogger when I got to USCGA, and here I am. Other reasons I wanted to become a cadet blogger are that I love the Academy and I want to share my experiences here with anyone who is curious about attending. Finally, I have heard how tough life here can get and I hope that writing periodic blog entries will help remind me why I came to the Academy and encourage me to enjoy my time here as much as possible.

 

As a blogger, I hope to give insight on my involvement with the softball team and Cadet Activities Council. I also hope to share any general information I learn about the Coast Guard. Being from North Texas I did not know too much about the service before arriving on R-Day, and the more I learn, the more I love it. I am truly excited to be a cadet at the United States Coast Guard Academy and cannot wait to share my experiences!

 

Feel free to email me at any time: Francesca.A.Farlow@uscga.edu.

Go Bears!

 

More about Francesca.

 

Thinking About How Far We Have Come

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Chamberlin Photo Hello future cadets! My name is Amy Chamberlin and I am from Wakefield, Rhode Island. I love to sail, hike, go on adventures, and hang out with my family and friends. I love dogs and have a Bichon Frise, named Alice. Attending a small college with engineering were two major focuses of mine. I knew that the Academy was right for me because I wanted to be challenged, close to home, and in a close-knit environment.

 

During the short time here at the Academy, I have learned much more about myself than I would have at any other school. Swab Summer was mentally and physically challenging for me, but when it was all over, I looked around at all of my shipmates, thinking about how far we all have come. The academic year has a very different “feel” to it, but in its own ways, it is still very demanding.

 

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at Amy.M.Chamberlin@uscga.edu Have a great day!

 

More about Amy.

 

Putting the Pep in your Step

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Caminske Photo Ok, let’s be honest. It’s pretty plain to see that the entire corps walks around like zombies about 99.999% of the time. Everyone wakes up, goes to class then sports then does homework until 2 a.m. and the cycle just repeats itself. Getting lost in this cycle seems like the easiest pitfall for a cadet to stumble into. Never fear, various blog readers, I’ve assembled my top three tips to ensure that you break out of that zombie mentality:

 

1. Don’t forget why you’re here. Everyone always says this but REALLY sit down when it all gets too crazy and think about why you chose to come here.

 

2. Make your room fun. After a long day you don’t want to have to come back to gray walls and nothing but cabinets to look at. So make that personal shelf as epic and happy as you can…as long as it’s in regs….

 

3. SMILE!!! This is the easiest tip to follow. When you wake up tell yourself that it’s going to be a great day and that you are going to accomplish whatever it is you have to do that day. You set your own tone, so why not make it positive?

 

So, what are you gonna do? Will you be a walking through Chase in a daze or will you walk with that extra pep in your step? You decide which one you want.

 

More about Corinne.

 

Why Coast Guard Blue?

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Boyd Photo "So, where are you going to school?" "Are you excited about college?" "What are you going to major in?" "Wait; tell me again – what is the Coast Guard?" Like every graduating senior, I got all too familiar with the "hot-seat questions." And because I was interested in the service academy to be in – I'm talking about the United States Coast Guard Academy, you'll understand – I was very well acquainted with the polite, yet quizzical crooked-eyebrow questions, too. "Are you sure?" "Really? The military?" "You're gonna jump out of helicopters and stuff, like Ashton Kutcher, right?" Truthfully, I can't hold the ignorance of my well-wishers against them. Even now as I am attending this fantastic institution, I find I am constantly expanding my definition of what being a Coast Guard Academy cadet, and a member of the Coast Guard, really means. As a senior in high school applying to come here though, what I knew about the Coast Guard didn't stretch much farther than what I saw on NCIS, when Gibbs and his team had the occasional joint case with CGIS, Coast Guard Investigative Services. In fact, I wasn't exactly gung ho about joining a service academy at all. Anyone who knows me well knows that I love sleeping in late, my Converse and flannel, and of course, my big hair. I love my afro – I had been working on getting my curl pattern just right all of my senior year – and if I joined the service I'd have to put my hair in a bun. A contained, conservative, neat and predictable bun. On top of all of that, I'm what some might call a tad bit headstrong; I tend to look at what everyone else is doing, and do the opposite because I hate being just like everybody else. I knew that more than ever after a visit to the Naval Academy. Don't get me wrong – they have a beautiful campus with outstanding professors, and I am proud to be friends with some of their midshipmen and graduates. But it made me want to pack my gear up and run in the opposite direction. I knew that I would become just another face in a crowd of geniuses and talented athletes if I went there, and I couldn't spend four years as a number.

 

It was a miracle the Coast Guard found me. My guidance counselor told my parents about the school after she heard my parents talking about the Naval Academy visit, and my dad had me signed up to be a Cadet for a Day not long afterwards. The night before the trip I had my tough girl mask on already secured on my face. I was only going to humor my dad; after my trip to Annapolis there was no way I was giving up my freedom of hair expression to be a part of a gray, impersonal organization that made me march to and from class in a scratchy, stiff uniform.

 

We drove on campus, and my mask started to crack immediately. I saw the track right next to the Thames river, and I had to bite my lip and clench my fists to keep from completely losing control. It. Was. Gorgeous. I didn't even notice how cold I was. (Okay, I definitely noticed it. Here I am, a Georgia peach in New London, Connecticut in the middle of December. I was freezing!) But, as I went from small class to small class, and then to family style lunch and had conversations with inviting, passionate people, I couldn't help but start to picture myself coming here. Of course, I'm extremely stubborn, so I didn't let myself admit it until after a meeting with admissions the next day.

 

No other college ever said that to me. I felt like I already had a home, and I hadn't even finished the application completely yet. I didn't know it then, but I had already made up my mind that I was born to be a Bear. I was born for Coast Guard Blue.

 

Since then, I've completed two and a half weeks of CGAS training, one rather interesting year at prep school in Marion, Alabama, two months of Swab Summer, almost half of a semester as a fourth class cadet, and turned 20 years old. It's nothing like I expected, and everything I've hoped for all at the same time, and I haven't even started taking my major-specific courses yet. The mission keeps me driven, the people keep me grounded, and the stories I keep hearing keep me inspired. Nowhere else on earth are there so many young people who revere honor, honor duty, and are dedicated to serving people now , not sometime in the distant future. I've been adopted and grafted into a community of people who look nothing like me, sound nothing like me, enjoy cold weather and think it's cool to wake up at 0545 to scream at a clock. It sounds cliché, I know, but these people know what it looks like on the outside and have hearts that beat for those in peril. The cadets here care about the welfare of the people around them. They care about life, and giving everyone the opportunity to live it to the fullest. Our differences, though numerous, are what make us that much more amazing when we put on the uniform. And that is why, when anyone asks me what is so special about the Coast Guard, I have to laugh. The Coast Guard is made up of brilliant, talented, honest human beings who sincerely care about protecting the earth and the people in it. I could sit here all day long telling you how great the Academy is, how strong the men and women of the Guard are, but you wouldn't really understand until you saw us in action. I think about my experience every day, and it reminds me why I couldn't be anywhere else.

 

More about Jordan.

 

The Biggest Adventure of My Life

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Beckert Photo My parents have always referred to me as the brave one in the family, the one who was willing to move to a tiny country in South America for a year, and now I am the one who is attending a military academy. I, however, don’t feel I am brave; in my mind, I just was seeking an adventure and some way to make a positive difference in this world. That is what attending the Academy is about; it’s preparing me to someday make that difference. It’s not easy being here, by any means, and trust me that you have to want it. You need to find the motivation that helps you get through Swab Summer and the academics that come after.

 

That being said, I honestly love it here. While only having been here a few months, I truly feel that I have had so many amazing experiences, and it is my happiness being here that I want to convey through this blog.

 

I took a year off before coming here and spent it living in a small town in Uruguay as an exchange student. Taking that year off, I feel, truly helped me become ready for college and taught me how to fend for myself when I didn’t have anyone else to support me. It was also the greatest year of my life, and if you are interested in taking a gap/exchange year, I fully recommend it. Second to choosing to come here, spending a year in Uruguay was the best decision of my life.

 

Well, if you have any questions about the Academy, Swab Summer, or just my life in general, feel free to shoot me an email at Clara.I.Beckert@uscga.edu and I will be glad to respond to you!

 

More about Clara.

 

Every Angle of the “College Experience”

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Mills Photo As I looked on at the excitement that the first class cadets had this past Billet Night when they received orders to their first unit, I began to examine my college experience while closing in on only a year left of my undergraduate degree. I have been fortunate enough to attend civilian college, preparatory school and the Academy. All three of these institutions offered different skills and lessons that have shaped me into the person I am today. My first college experience was at the University of South Florida. I knew that, being a shy person, I should join a small team to make friends at this huge college of over 48,000 students. I joined the crew team and a few clubs I found interesting around campus. I started by taking 15 credits and was in charge of my own schedule, which was pretty great since I had a job a Walgreens. This was my first taste of independence and it felt great. Being in control of my own schedule allowed me to make social plans and explore Florida’s vast array of theme parks and tourist traps at my leisure. As the semester progressed, I began to realize just how much independence I really had. Since I was paying for school, teachers did not really mind if I did not show up to the auditorium lectures of 500+ students and I was never forced to see the teacher if I did not understand a lesson and I mistakenly, in hindsight, did not have a study group of people from my classes. These conditions ultimately led to my grades not being the best reflection of my capabilities. I really did enjoy the beautiful lawns full of people playing ultimate Frisbee and enjoying the sun, climbing campus trees and being exposed to so many different types of people and ideas on a daily basis. However, I knew that if I wanted to make the most of my college experience and of my potential, I needed to find a place that I was invested in enough to want to do my best every day, both academically and morally.

 

I reapplied to the Coast Guard Academy and received an appointment to one of the Coast Guard Academy’s preparatory schools, Georgia Military College. This was such a great year! My best friend and I reminisce about that time frequently. I was able to learn about the Army and their missions and start creating good study habits with a prescribed course schedule. This experience forced me to be more accountable and think about my actions because now I was gaining an education off taxpayers’ dollars; I wanted to make them proud and show that the Academy had made a good choice in choosing me. This time in my life also allowed me to start deciding what was important for my future and allow me to better acquaint myself with what the Coast Guard actually does and how I could see myself fitting into this organization. One short year later, I made it to the Academy. What a challenge I faced! Some of the hardest things I have had to deal with professionally, emotionally, and mentally have occurred while I have been at the Academy. My time is no longer my own, as I have a short 200-week program to turn me into a service-ready ensign in the Coast Guard fleet. I have matured greatly in these past few years because I have learned to also consider others that I work with and affect, as well as understand the great opportunity I have been given, which I have been very fortunate to receive.

 

To sum it all up, USF allowed me the most autonomy and I was able to practice my independence. But, my successes and failures were my own and there wasn’t necessarily anyone there to back me up if and when I needed it. Preparatory school was a great way to get to know other services and affirm my decision in choosing the Coast Guard. The Academy is one of the most challenging but rewarding experiences I have had thus far. I am learning each day and it is a continual process. I am also a part of a community and we succeed and fail together; I do not have to do anything alone. And although the Academy owns most of my time, it really allows me to think of how I will use the time I do have to myself and to make better use of that time. I am so fortunate to have stumbled upon the Academy. It is a unique experience and it may not be for everyone, but I hope my insight to both civilian and military college gave you some food for thought!

 

More about Sydney.