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cadet blogs

AIMster Chang

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo So, attending AIM was a good experience. It was only a week long, but gave me insight as to what it takes to make it at the Academy. Teamwork, motivation, grit—all the small things that make up Swab Summer and beyond. There are even a few people in my class right now who were in the same AIM section that I was. Granted, we were all high school kids running around being told what to do, and I didn’t even know what I was getting into coming to AIM, but it was something that encouraged to me to try my hand at this place.

 

I’m glad I went to AIM. It definitely helped me through prep school and Swab Summer, and I’ve even seen some of my old AIM cadre out in the fleet! I didn’t expect to come to a service academy at all but AIM happened to be a trial run that went well. Even if you go through AIM and decide not to come to the Academy, you at least learn some pretty good life/leadership lessons, and come out with some awesome memories.

 

More about Olivia.

 

So You Want to be a Cadet Tour Guide?

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Noble Photo The U.S. Coast Guard Academy has a beautiful campus. Founded in 1876 and located in the shoreline of New London, Connecticut, the Academy has a lot of history and visual treats to offer. As a matter of fact, many visitors come to the Academy throughout the week. They come from various backgrounds: from the parents of cadets; prospective cadets; visiting athletes; guest speakers; and previous Coast Guard personnel who drop by from time to time. We also get a good number of international tourists aside from the regular influx of domestic visitors. Upon observing this, I was intrigued and wanted to know how I could contribute in order to share my knowledge to these visitors, get to know them, and at the same time improve my communication skills and social engagement skills. After all, I still get nervous from time to time when I deal with a crowd. I knew I needed to improve this skill as it will be useful in both personal and professional endeavors in the future.

 

During my freshman year, I considered the opportunity and when I heard they are asking for cadet tour guides, I immediately signed up. It was a dream come true as it gave me the chance to rehearse my communication skills and improve my confidence in dealing with groups of people from various walks of life. I learned by trial and error, but fortunately for me the visitors were kind and even helped me answer their own questions. I felt that they just really wanted to interact with cadets, which is really a big part of the CGA tour. They have their own conceptions of cadet life that they want to validate. Hence, they talk to cadets and take selfies with them…it completes the experience.

 

Now, in my sophomore year, I am a regular cadet tour guide and I do tours at least once a week. As an international cadet, it is always a cultural experience for me having to interact with people from different backgrounds. I take pride in the idea that I get to be responsible for them as they visit the Academy. I do my best to influence the dynamics of the group as it is a factor in ensuring a successful tour. Every tour guide wants his or her visitors to come away satisfied instead of feeling they wasted their time. Personally, I add plenty of commentary about the history and culture of the Coast Guard, and modestly brag of the greatness of our Academy compared to other schools.

 

As a tour guide, I even have guests who have visited multiple times so I try to do something different each and every tour. It is a job that has taken me out of my comfort zone but is now becoming something that I want to master. I now enjoy talking to large crowds and can control the pace and the tempo of a group. As I look at them, I feel like I have been adopted as part of their family or group, and will be in their stories, photos and memory for some time. It will reflect my school, my branch of service and my country, the Philippines, as it states on my name plate. The latter signifies inclusivity and peace.

 

To summarize, I am grateful that I have learned another skill and taken up a new hobby that will make my stay worthwhile and memorable at the Academy. I have always wanted to be a tour guide. It has been my passion garnered from my trips to 25 countries as an exchange student and on vacations with my parents. Doing guided tours requires knowledge, attitude and practice. Additionally, it is also good training for Coast Guard officers. It teaches you to stay calm amidst unforeseen challenges and pressures. It is essential to be good with people and have a great deal of emotional awareness. Before we can save them, we have to learn how to relate to them. So please visit the USCGA and let me tour you around. Cadet-led tours are available on Mondays, Fridays and some Saturdays during the academic year. If you are interested, schedule a visit or search the event schedule to be able to plan ahead. It will be an honor and pleasure to meet you.

 

More about Eric.

 

Back to School and Billet List

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Life as a Junior Officer, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Hosley Photo Well, here we are back at school for my very last semester at the CGA! I really can’t believe it, my time here feels like it has gone by so fast and yet I have seen and accomplished so many things! The most exciting part about this semester thus far was putting in my billet list, also called a dream sheet. This is a list of all of the places and platforms (or different types of vessels/boats/jobs) that you are interested in applying for your first tour. The initial step is to look at the shopping list. This is a published list of all the jobs in the Coast Guard that are available for the newly graduating ensigns (like me!!). Once this list is published we get to go through the options and make our own list, in preferential order, based on what we would like to do our first tour.

 

For me personally, my list was a lot of fun to make and a lot of tough decisions. I was born and raised right here in New England, but throughout my time at the Academy, I have had some incredible and unique opportunities to travel and through those experiences I was able to make my list. I have traveled to, and seen more of this world and more of our beautiful country in the last four years than I ever even imagined for my entire life! Anyway, I used those wonderful experiences to craft my list. My first choice is Seattle, Washington on the Coast Guard’s polar icebreakers! Second on my list is the black hull or buoy tending vessels in District’s 17 and 14 (that’s Alaska and Hawaii, pretty far from home for me)! I know that no matter what I end up getting it will be quite the adventure. I am so excited to find out and I can hardly wait. Stay tuned for my March blog because I will know on March 8th, our Billet Night, which will be live-streamed this year!

 

Aside from the excitement of billets, life at the Academy is pretty much back to normal. This semester I have my very own division consisting of cadets from each class. We are in charge of the common rooms in our company and regimental recycling. All of the members of my division are outstanding cadets and I am so beyond excited to be able to work closely with them this semester to improve the recycling program at the Academy. So, that is what is going on now here at school, but be sure to check back in after Billet Night!

 

More about Cece.

 

CrossFit Club

(Athletics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Wheeler Photo Every cadet is an athlete; that is a simple fact here at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Whether one sails, shoots, runs, or plays any of a number of sports, athleticism is engrained in each and every individual here who wears the cadet anchors. Many varsity sports receive much of the spotlight, but the club sports are the ones with the most variety. One such activity that receives a sports credit is the CrossFit Club. This club consists of cadets who aspire to partake in CrossFit-style lifts and workouts and, eventually, compete in local CrossFit competitions. The bulk of the club are members of a gym approximately one mile from base. It is here where local instructors teach and train cadets on the various forms, techniques, and levels of CrossFit.

 

When I joined the club as a 4/c cadet, there were only four or five members. The club was tight-knit and most of us ran to and from the gym together every day. Now, the club has expanded to several dozen cadets! This immense rate of growth can be attributed to two things: one, the fact that the club now receives a sports credit and, two, the Club President, 3/c Austin Childs, has taken genuine ownership of the club and continuously seeks to expand its role within the Corps of Cadets. I personally enjoy the CrossFit Club as the workouts are extremely intense, driving us hard over the course of each hour-long session. The comradery within the club is also unparalleled; performing crazy difficult workouts every day is made better by having your best friends alongside you suffering as well! Go CrossFit Club! Go Bears!

 

More about Pat.

 

2018: A Monumental Year

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo 2018. The year is finally upon us. For most, it will be another year full of escapades marked with happiness, sorrow, and more. For a small group of people though, this is a monumental year because it leads to the end of our time as cadets as well as the beginning of a new adventure. Assignment requests, “billet lists,” were due this previous Friday. Submitting my “job application” felt dreamlike. As cadets, you imagine the day that you will get the list of possible locations from Coast Guard detailers and rank your career choices. When I got the list, the options were overflowing. My eyes jumped from job to job, and it took me weeks to finally put them in order of preference because, honestly, every billet seemed intriguing. When the mouse finally clicked submit I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. The choice was out of my hands and the waiting game had begun.

 

While waiting, I’ve started the unstoppable reminiscing regarding my time here. The Academy has taught me immeasurable lessons throughout these past four years. I’ve watched myself and every other classmate grow and change from the struggle of late nights and the overwhelming number of opportunities available to us at this institution. I would not trade it for anything. People always ask me if I stayed at University of Colorado would I have wanted to, especially when it’s a late night or mentally taxing week, but I always have the same response. Never. I think this Academy prepares you as best as it possibly can for challenges that await you upon your first assignment. Whether it is learning how to problem solve, pushing yourself to excel in your weak spots, encouraging and uplifting others, or mentoring those around you, the connections and opportunities I have experienced here are unlike any other place I have ever been in my life, and I am truly grateful for that.

 

More about Hannah.