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cadet blogs

The Academic Year Comes to a Close

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Silliman Photo As 3/c year slowly dwindles away, everyone at the Academy is looking forward to the summer. This summer, I will be cadre to help train the incoming swabs as they begin their transition from civilians to Coast Guardsmen and women. While it was a long journey for me to get through high school to the Academy, just getting to this point in my Academy career has been daunting.

 

All through high school I wanted to come here and it was not until May of my senior year that I was officially accepted. I was left wondering every day if what I was doing was enough, and here that has not changed. The days have gotten longer in both daylight and in workload. I know a lot of my friends take Friday night and Saturday off from doing anything academic-related but I have not found myself able to do that. Every day I have tried to do something academic. I feel that every day, I have to try my best here. I know a lot of people who do just enough work to keep that 2.0 GPA, or make that 200 on the PFE. I think we all need to try harder than that. Occasionally on a Saturday night I will sit in Panera Bread in Waterford and do my homework. I feel like there I can reconnect with civilization, but at the same time, do the work I need to be successful. I do not think there are any days off before that last final is handed back to the instructor. Some days are more relaxed than others, but there is always something academic to be done.

 

With the added freedom that has come with my class being allowed overnight liberty on Saturdays, I took the opportunity to head home for one night a few weeks ago. Right now I have wanted to be home more than ever. I have been talking to my friends at home about all the fun we are going to have this summer and I am looking forward to it. One program I am excited for this summer in the Coastal Sail Training Program when some of the other cadre and I take a two week yacht cruise through southern New England and we pull right into my hometown, so I’m looking forward to that.

 

Now it is all about finishing the last two weeks of the academic year strong, and, soon, summer will bring some new adventures and good times.

 

More about Derek.

 

Getting Accepted Into Prep School

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Hill Photo I attended Cadet for a Day as a junior in high school and loved everything the Coast Guard Academy stood for. The AIM program rejected me in the summer of 2014. Then, I found out on Christmas of that year that I was not accepted during the Early Action process for the USCGA. I reasoned it was because I did not take a math course my senior year (I hadn’t even taken pre-calculus). The Coast Guard Academy was the only service academy I had applied to because it was perfect for me—a Florida girl who loved law enforcement, the United States, and the coast (of course!). I decided then that I would go to the University of South Florida on an Air Force ROTC scholarship, which I was not as thrilled about.

 

I still did not give up on my dream though—I decided to send the softball coach at the USCGA my highlights video and asked people I knew to write recommendation letters for me. So, when I received an email from a LT about an opportunity for the Coast Guard Academy Scholars program—I screamed and jumped up and down with my mom and my next-door neighbor. The fact that I was given a chance, a CHANCE, a clear path to eventually becoming an officer in the United States Coast Guard, had me stoked! I was a bit nervous about the amount of effort and work I would have to put in to be successful, but I rationalized that nothing worth doing is easy. This would set me up for the rest of my life—work hard now, serve my country and have an early retirement; which seemed okay to me :).

 

More about Kelly.

 

Time is Flying

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2018, Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering) Permanent link
Dow Photo I have blinked and it is already March of my junior year! If there’s one thing that happens at the Academy, it’s that time flies. The days may be slow, but the weeks fly by. So much goes on here that it is hard to keep track of it all… you are so busy working on homework and division work, you don’t even realize it is already spring break!

 

My classes this semester are so different but still provide very useful knowledge that I will have to use next year as my capstone project. This final senior project is a culmination of everything we have learned and more. I am currently taking Ship Structures, Heat Transfer, Advanced Engineering Math, Criminal Justice and Marine Engineering.

 

The Academy also allows for cadets to try new things, and has many chances to do so. One option is the Service Marksmanship Team, which is a club that meets twice a week and does the fundamentals of shooting, without the commitment of a Varsity Division I sport (the other option for cadets for shooting). I have learned so much, and having been surrounded by some of the greatest people at the Academy who want to assist. The experience is so humbling and great.

 

The Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering department also has many opportunities for us to learn about life in the fleet, and applications to what we have been learning in the classroom. We got the chance to tour the Pratt and Whitney facility where they manufacture turbine engines. This trip demonstrated the connection between the real world with what we have learned in Thermodynamics last semester and also Marine Engineering. They also held a Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers meeting onboard the Academy at the O ’Club. We were able to meet Nav Arch professors at the Maine and Massachusetts Maritime Academies, students at the Webb Institute as well as others who are in the Nav Arch profession. It was wonderful to meet others who are successful in their jobs and have a passion for their work.

 

I can’t wait to find out our summer assignments and what the future has is in store for me!

 

More about Emily.

 

Receiving My Appointment: Starting a New Chapter in My Life

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo Today I am going to look back to three years ago and the day that I got my appointment to the United States Coast Guard Academy. My path to CGA was slightly different than the majority of my classmates. I applied my senior year of high school only to get a small letter in the mail saying that I had not been offered an appointment. Broken hearted and feeling a slightly spited, I temporarily dropped my dreams of attending the CGA. This mentality lasted about a week and then I decided to quit my sulking and keep working to follow my passion to become an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. I went to University of Colorado for one year. I got a high GPA, participated in NROTC, got in better shape, and when it came time to resubmit my application, I put my heart and soul into my essays in an attempt to show Admissions how much I truly desired an appointment.

 

The moment arrived. I was walking across campus when I saw I was getting a phone call from an unknown number. Thousands of students surrounded me as I walked on a bright March day from Calculus to Chemistry class. I stopped on a grassy quad to answer the call. I remember my Admissions Officer telling me that I had been offered an appointment to the Coast Guard Academy. My world started spinning. The goal I had been reaching toward for years was within grasp and I knew as soon as I got that phone call that as much as I loved civilian college, the Academy was where I was supposed to be.

 

After that phone call the rest of the semester was a whirlwind of paperwork, planning, and getting ready for a new chapter in my life. I have never seen my parents happier for me than when I got my appointment because they knew it was what I wanted so much. To this day, I know I made the right decision coming to the USCGA and not giving up my dream just because of one little letter.

 

More about Hannah.

 

Going Home

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Swift Photo When going home, I always rediscover my sense of heart and adventure. It’s only on the plane, taking off from wherever I ended up, that I really feel like I can blend my roots and my current positions. It’s always so funny to me because I am alone on these flights, but I feel closer to my friends and family in these moments, two worlds that have rarely collided. Trying to explain the place that shaped me, the people that comprise my soul, is always impossible, but really deeply satisfying to try to do. There are so many different parts of telling people who you are, or where you’re from, which is for me one and the same. How can I explain, while on the ground in New London, what the wind sounds like as it echoes through 1,000 miles unimpeded, 6 miles of it straight skyward. You can get scientific, and say that it creates resonant frequencies that surround everything you are when you drive out into the middle of nowhere to listen, or you can get historic, and tell people that the people, ancestral or just stubborn, that eked and etched out their existence in the hard caliche, called it la llorona, Spanish for “the weeping woman”, or just sang with it and prayed for their crops, but it doesn’t surmise all the things that it means. How do I tell octogenarians, who spent their entire lives within 20 miles of the small-town hospital we were both born in, what sitting on the masts of Eagle watching whales as the sun rises feels like? I can’t describe the space of New Mexico, and I can’t put the blending of all the experiences and cultures and people into a definition, unless I’m a mile high, staring down on all that our country is. Can anyone?

 

The people who will become closest to you in the Academy, and in all of life, are the people who don’t necessarily understand but don’t need to. My mom told me once that the reason she loves my dad so much is because he doesn’t understand why she thinks the way she does, but he loves all of her thoughts anyway. I may never understand how exhilarating it is to play pranks with my friends at a civilian engineering school, how cool it is run my own DJ business, what it’s like to compete in Northern Virginia school systems, how it feels to be part of a swimming family on the shores of Lake Michigan, or what Chicago feels like at Christmas, but I can’t help but to picture the lifetimes that crafted the people I love the most. The people who are worth going back home for, and the people who give you courage to leave it again, are the people who love all the places and faces that you describe imperfectly to them because you are the product of those things, and they love you. I’m so glad that, for all the hardship the Academy has given me, it’s added to who I am. It’s given me experiences that one day I will describe to someone else who can’t understand, and it’s given me people to share everything we are (and everything we will be) with. It’s given me the metaphorical chance to look down from a mile high on home, on who I am, and to get to be there as others do the same.

 

More about Delaney.