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cadet blogs

Mr. Friedman Visit

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Stowes Photo Hey, CGA blog readers! It is almost spring break time here and that means a flurry of trainings, corps-wide lectures, and, most dreaded, midterms! Despite everything on our plates as we approach break, spirits have been pretty high at the Academy. This past week, we had health and wellness week, so we got to try out some awesome smoothies in the wardroom, sleep in a few days, and we even had a dodge ball tournament. Also, the fourth class are starting to take Boards, their cumulative indoctrination test, and many of them passed on the first time around!

 

With everything going on, I could write forever. However, I will focus on one day that I thought was very interesting. Mr. Thomas Friedman, an internationally renowned columnist for the New York Times, came to the Academy to give a lecture. Mr. Friedman has written six books, mainly about globalization, which is the increasing inter-connectedness of world affairs. He is a very engaging man and his writing provokes you to think about how technology is bringing the world closer together than ever before. If you haven’t read his work, I recommend skimming some reviews on the internet because it is definitely worthwhile.

 

During Mr. Friedman’s visit, I had the pleasure of sitting in on an exclusive lecture for some government majors. During that class, I was really impressed with Mr. Friedman’s work, his character, and humor. His public speaking and writing are presented in a manner that anyone can understand and he is very in touch with his audience.

 

After the class, I had the privilege of leading Mr. Friedman on a tour of our barracks. Needless to say, I was very nervous. I spent most of the morning before the tour familiarizing myself with his work, because I anticipated having to answer questions about what he had written. However, Mr. Friedman was more interested in learning about the Academy and the cadet experience. Like many of our visitors, he was not intimately familiar with what the Coast Guard does and he didn’t know much about the Academy. It was a pleasure leading him around the barracks, discussing cadet life, our opportunities, and mission. He was very attentive and interested in learning everything. I hope he will write a column about us!

 

During the evening, the corps gathered in Leamy to hear Mr. Friedman speak. I was drawn in by his presentation, and it made me think a lot about the United States’ role in the future and how the Coast Guard will factor into the accelerating pace of globalization. The cadet reaction to Mr. Friedman was impressive. Cadets, even non-government majors, seemed to like his lecture.

 

I am so thankful that I go to the Academy because I realize that we have outstanding opportunities here. The Academy does a great job developing us into well rounded officers, with knowledge in issues outside of our majors, and, as always, the Academy is dedicated to molding us into the officers of the future.

 

If you want to know more or have any questions about my previous blogs, please feel free to email me at Hunter.D.Stowes@uscga.edu.

 

I wish the best to applicants, prospective cadets, and parents!

 

More about Hunter.

 

Class of 2015 Billet Night

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo Although this month was full of schoolwork and fun adventures there is only one thing on my mind and that is BILLET NIGHT. Billet Night is only four days away and I can barely sleep or think straight about anything other than Thursday night.

 

Now, you may be wondering, why is she so excited about Billet Night? What is that? Well, for anyone asking themselves these questions, Billet Night is the ceremony at which the first class cadets (seniors) find out where they will be stationed after graduation for either two or three years. I don’t know all of the details about what exactly happens that night because they try to keep it a secret to make it as exciting as possible. I know that there will be a dinner before, then our names are called and we walk up on stage to open our billet in front of the rest of the class. It is going to be such an exciting and nerve-racking night for all of us in the Class of 2015. I personally am hoping to go to Portsmouth, Virginia on a 270’ cutter. Some of my friends want different types of cutters located all over the country, from Hawaii to Alaska to Florida. Some want sectors and some want flight school.

 

For me, Billet Night will be very exciting, but also a little bit sad. The only reason I say sad is because it will be a definite reminder that after graduation, my best friends who I have been able to live with for four years may be across the country. We have already planned to take a girls’ trip once a year, but the reality of it, with everyone on different cutter schedules and all over the country, is it may not always happen. No matter where we all end up, I know I will stay up-to-date on their lives and how they are enjoying their first units, but it will be hard to not get a hug from them on a bad day.

 

As Billet Night quickly approaches, I wish everyone in the Class of 2015 luck and hope we are all happy and make the most out of our first experience in the fleet.

 

More about Sara.

 

Pumped for Cadre Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Tousignant Photo Cadre summer can be a captivating experience because so much power is given to the cadre in a short time frame. I am not excited about the power I will have, but about the opportunity I will have to help shape these high school kids into leaders of America. This summer I will learn what it means to serve those I am leading. I will be able to try out different leadership philosophies with the desire to give my very best to the incoming swabs. By making the environment rigorous for the swabs, we are preparing them for the Academy and the fleet. My goal is to help them see the necessity of time management. I want them to see the value of their hard work. Most of all, I want to instill in them the importance of truthfulness and respect. This summer I will become a leader and the swabs will become part of our family.

 

More about Jackie.

 

Finding Your Focus

(Academics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Johnson Photo Another year and another semester, and would you look at that, I’m almost halfway to graduating from the Academy. It seems like only yesterday that I was telling my friend in English class during my senior year of high school that I was going to visit the Coast Guard Academy and I really wanted to attend school there. It feels like I have accomplished so much in the little time since graduating high school. Trust me on this; time goes by quickly when you have something you’re working your heart out for.

 

I know I didn’t write much my first semester as a sophomore at the Academy, but I can definitely say there wasn’t much going on. First semester was pretty much me buckling down on school and military performance. I had heard advice from senior ranking officers that sophomore year is a great year to pick a focus; for example, if you didn’t work out very much and cadre summer is coming up, you should work out to be fit for training the incoming swabs, or if you lacked in grades, focus on that a bit more because there isn’t an overload of responsibility as a 3/c. Don’t get me wrong, there are still responsibilities like being the role model to the freshmen, but there isn’t as much as, say, a junior that is in charge of the development of the 4/c. Last semester my intent was to work on military performance. I wanted to be able to teach the 4/c things that I wished my 3/c taught me last year about the Academy in all aspects.

 

Now that I worked on that, I earned my first Silver Star! By the way, the Silver Star is similar to an award for being in the top 25% of military excellence for that semester. It was extremely exciting. Now this semester, I am working on my academics a little more. So far, it’s been much better than last semester. My first three quizzes in Differential Equations have all been 80-90%.

 

Hope all is going well and if you have any questions, feel free to email me at AngelaRuth.A.Johnson@uscga.edu!

 

More about Angela.

 

Winter Triathlon Training

(Athletics, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Frost Photo So, somewhere along the way last semester, I decided to sign up for Half Ironman Florida this coming April. I was on the triathlon team at West Point and I had fallen back in love with the sport. What better way to push myself in a sport I love than to sign up for a race that I had never done? All semester I trained and raced with the team at West Point, but never did it dawn on me just how hard it was going to be to train in the Connecticut winter. One thing is for sure; training for a triathlon in Connecticut is not the same as it was back in high school when I was first introduced to the sport. Sunglasses and tank tops are replaced with beanies, gloves, leggings, and fleece. Instead of walking down the beach in Florida for an open-water swim, I must trek through the Connecticut snow for morning swim practice before sunrise. Biking along the Intercoastal Waterway is replaced with the steamy bike room. It is nice, however, to go for a run and not come back drenched in sweat and boiling from the Florida sun, and up until the past snow storm we were able to get in some long runs.

 

While practicing in Connecticut in January cannot compare to the weather my parents say we have back home, I still find joy in the little things, like the pool water being the perfect temperature and the chance to ride my own bike on the trainer. However, Florida simply cannot compare to training with a team and alongside my best friend who will race with me in April. This offers me that stress relief at the end of the day, but without friends to share that with it would quickly get lonely. I am so thankful to be able to train with others and that is priceless.

 

More about Christi.

 

Fingers Crossed

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Haerr Photo Hi, again!

 

It’s finally spring semester, though it doesn’t really look like spring for there is a LOT of snow on the ground! These past weeks have included many snow days due to the winter storm, Juno! I’ve never experienced such large amounts of fluffy snow in my life! In Texas, we usually get ice.

 

During some of our snow days, we got to go outside. We went sledding and had plenty of snow ball fights. Some of my shipmates even made huge tunnels on the football field! One of my good friends here is from Panama, and you can imagine her surprise with all the white on the ground—let’s just say she couldn’t stop making snow angels!

 

Other than all the bizarre weather, 4/c life at the Academy this semester has included much preparation for our Boards. This exam concludes life as a 4/c and when everyone in our entire class passes the verbal indoctrination exam, we finally get “carry on,” which means no more squaring and bracing up! Fingers crossed and plenty of prayers for the Class of 2018!

 

More about Kathryn.

 

Snow Days on Snow Days

(Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Stowes Photo I hope you are staying warm, CGA blog readers. New London has been freezing cold and snowy for the last two weeks! Last week, base was closed for two straight days, which is almost unheard of. Then, we got another snow day this week!

 

Last week, the snow was so bad that for the first day, we weren’t allowed out of the barracks until midafternoon and that was only so we could go workout. For the morning, we were stuck inside. Luckily, since base was closed, we were able to sleep in, relax, and do work uninterrupted. On our second day off, we were able to go outside and play in the snow. I always enjoy the first big snowstorm because some the 4/c from the South have never seen snow before. It’s funny to watch them have snowball fights and build snowmen. Personally, I went out and enjoyed an awesome game of rugby in the snow or snugby for short. I was able to get a bunch of the rugby team together and we went down to the football field to play in about two feet of snow! It was really fun and tiring trying to run through all the snow. I had a great time overall, except the times I got tackled face first into the snow. That was cold!

 

This week, the snow day could not have come at a better time. I was away all weekend in Boston for a mock trial competition and when I returned the Super Bowl was on. I got back from Massachusetts just in time to watch my beloved Patriots win the game. Sorry Seahawks fans! What a game! Anyway, the snow day was great because I had all day to catch up on the work I didn’t do over the weekend. We were stuck inside the barracks again until the midafternoon, so it was nice to have free time to work at my own pace.

 

On a different note, while snow days are a great time to relax, it is important to keep the big picture in mind. Our senior leadership at the Academy has a tough decision to make every time there is a winter storm in the forecast. Our leaders have to be aware of the faculty, staff, and base employees that work here in addition to cadets. Their safety is very important, so I appreciate that they are considered when the decision to cancel school is made. Also, our leaders show that they care about us because they have to make sure we are fed and that there are personnel here to take care of us if someone has a medical emergency. Furthermore, it is difficult to cancel school because we have to cover a lot of material in our courses and snow days usually mean playing catch-up. With so many days off, we are all pushing hard to cover material.

 

Overall, I’m happy to have a snow day but I also appreciate that our leaders are so conscientious about the other people on base. It can be easy to forget the big picture.

 

If you have questions about my blogs, feel free to email me any time at Hunter.D.Stowes@uscga.edu.

 

More about Hunter.

 

So Close to Freedom!

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Auzenbergs Photo I am currently sitting in the library looking at a soccer ball with a sharpie face drawn on it, wrapped in one of my extra bed sheets, wearing my issued nanook, and I must admit… it really does resemble a baby! My job this week was to take a regular soccer ball and pretend it was a baby that I should carry around with me to classes, meals and basically anytime I wasn’t in my room. I needed to make up random Coast Guard facts about it and introduce it to anyone who asked as “Bobby.”

 

Why, you ask!? Well, this upcoming Sunday is 100th day, or the day the 4/c must relive Swab Summer with our old cadre (now 2/c) for a few hours. Logically, that makes this Monday 101st day, better known as the day that the 4/c are supposed to switch roles with the 2/c, and watch them brace up, square around and greet us. We know that this will not happen as expected but in order to even earn the possibility of carry-on for a day, we as 4/c need to earn the 2/c shoulder boards! This can be accomplished by completing physically challenging, mentally challenging, or just plain embarrassing tasks. I have seen some 4/c doing pushups in the P-ways, riding around Chase Hall on broomsticks, performing spirit missions on the upper-class, and spouting off indoc facts to prepare for Boards at the end of this month. To me, my challenge falls in the embarrassing category and most of my fellow 4/c get a kick out of it at my expense… but it’s all in good fun.

 

Boards are the indoctrination test that all 4/c must take toward the end of the spring semester to earn carry-on for the entire class. This is a very exciting time but also extremely nerve-racking. No one wants to be that kid who can’t pass and holds the whole class back! Plus, when you pass as an individual or company, you slowly earn more privileges before full carry-on is granted. Studying the 64-page packet of facts about Coast Guard heroes, flags, cutters, aircraft, rates and ranks, and historic events won’t be fun, but every single 3/c, 2/c and 1/c cadet had to do it, so it’s definitely possible.

 

More about Gabrielle.

 

January Snow and the Most Memorable Diving Meet

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo The month of January was filled with snow! Really only the last week, but it was enough for a whole season. Every time I see the huge piles of snow I wish it could be sand. I guess it’s because I am a Florida girl at heart. We had a normal day of school on Monday, but by Monday afternoon the snow had started. It was beautiful to see the flakes falling down, but then it started sticking and it got scary to walk around base. It looked like I was learning how to walk because I was so scared I would slip on ice.

 

Storm Juno gave us two days off of school mid week, which was a great surprise. It was also the first time I’ve shoveled snow. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want to shovel a long driveway, but shoveling out my car with my friend Carolyn was pretty fun. It also wasn’t as bad as I thought.

 

Other than this month bringing storm Juno, the schoolwork is in full swing. I had my first paper due this past week and have my first test in a couple of days. Quizzes and homework are regular tasks.

 

We also had our last home meet ever. It was against The Merchant Marine Academy, which is our biggest rival. It was an amazing meet and will be my most memorable meet of my diving career.

 

More about Sara.

 

Hectic Days Leading Up to Spring Break

(Athletics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo January came to a cold end with over a foot of snow falling on the Coast Guard Academy’s grounds. We got two days off of school and got to spend our time going sledding, catching up on homework, and sleeping. Foxtrot Company even had a snowman building contest and some friends and I drew a giant “2018” into the lower field overlooking the river. Overall, it made the end of January very enjoyable.

 

Since second semester started, life has been incredibly hectic. I am trying water polo this semester for the first time. It has been awesome getting to know a new group of girls and everyone has been very welcoming. The sport is hard though. I never swam on a team in high school, but I am doing my best to learn the rules of the game and be a beneficial member of the team. Our first tournament is the end of February, so we’re all looking forward to that. Chief Stevens (our coach) has warned us of the competition we’ll be facing, but we have all been working hard to get in good shape, so hopefully we can give other teams a run for their money.

 

Glee Club is starting to prepare for our spring break trip to Germany! We’ve got some new medleys to work on, and I am counting down the days until this trip. I have been to Europe once (London), but I’m looking forward to exploring a part of the world I have never been to before.

 

More about Hannah.

 

Golden Glove Champion

(Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Hazen Photo For one of the top 10 coolest moments in my life, I have to thank my coaches for leading me to a New England Golden Glove Championship victory. When I made the decision to box last August, I was just looking for something new and exciting to do, while still getting in a great workout. I never imagined I would be the 132 lb. New England Golden Glove Novice Champion, let alone be fighting in the tournament. After the final bell rang, I ran back to my coaches and I knew I had done something right when Tom hugged me and lifted me off the ground. “You just won the New England Golden Gloves!” It didn’t seem real. That was until the ref called my opponent and me back to the center of the ring. “And the winner, by unanimous decision, coming from the blue corner is Coast Guard’s Mary Hazen!” It was unbelievable!

 

The day started off like any day of one of my fights. I would go through moments when I would be so nervous my stomach would cramp up, and then the cramps would slowly fade away as I didn’t think about what was ahead of me. This happened frequently throughout the day. At 1600, LT Webb, Trevor, and I loaded into the van and I quickly fell asleep, more or less to keep my mind from wondering. When we got to the venue in Lowell, Massachusetts, I weighed in and got checked out by the doctor. After being herded around, we were finally directed to the locker room, where Tom wrapped my hands and gloved me up. I warmed up, starting out with relaxed and easy movements, working up a little sweat, and then Tom had me work on some combinations. Once he was pleased, he sent me off and I said my three Hail Marys (one for each round) and tried to clear my mind.

 

When the second bout of the night made their way to the ring, my opponent and I stepped up on deck. Tom kept telling me to relax and stay loose. I was so nervous! But was able to keep relaxed by jumping around and reminding myself that Tom, Mike, and LT Webb had prepared me for this fight! They all knew I would succeed; I had to have the same confidence. The winner of bout two was announced and Tom and LT Webb escorted me to the ring.

 

My nerves subsided as the ref touched my opponent’s and my gloves, and the first bell rang. I went in full force, just like Tom had said to. I fought behind my defense and used my jabs to my advantage, mixing up different combinations and combining head and body shots. The bell ending the first round rang. I returned to the blue corner feeling pretty good, as Tom and LT Webb told me to keep up what I was doing. The second bell rang; round two had begun. Much like the first round, I went out strong, using mainly defense and my jabs. The bell ending the second round rang. Again, Tom and LT Webb told me to keep it up. The third round went similar to the first two and at the sound of the final bell, I ran back to the blue corner to get my headgear removed, where Tom picked me up and was the first to unofficially announce me New England Golden Glove Champion!

 

I was on cloud nine! I have won games and races in my day, but I never fathomed the idea of winning a Golden Glove Championship title! It is an amazing feeling! If there is one last thing to say, it’s that I have been incredibly blessed and would be nowhere near the person I am today without every single person in my life. I am so grateful for the relationships I have built over the years and am so appreciative of my support system. I love you all and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

More about Mary.