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cadet blogs

Faculty that Cares

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Wheeler Photo Never before have I had the privilege of interacting with and being taught by such an incredible group of officers and professors. The instructors and staff at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy truly go above and beyond their job description to make sure that cadets here succeed. It is not at all uncommon for Calculus or Navigation teachers to stay after-hours until 10:00 p.m. tutoring students, ensuring that they fully comprehend certain material and are prepared for upcoming projects and exams.

 

BIt is these instructors that sacrifice their time that could be spent at home with family and loved ones, all for the sake of our education that make the Academy the best school in the nation. Not only do they commit time and effort, but the professors explain the material in ways that adapt to the learning styles of each cadet. For me, I know that math and STEM courses aren’t my strongest subjects, so when my teachers talk with me after class and explain various concepts in ways I can grasp and actually perform myself, I’m blown away! Never before have I been more confident in my abilities to do my Calculus and Physics homework, but also be able to fully understand it and explain it to others as a result of my instructor’s passion for teaching.

 

More about Pat.

 

A Whole Semester

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Just for Fun, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Farlow Photo I can’t believe it has been a whole semester since the end of Swab Summer and now I sit anxiously waiting to start my second semester with new classes and new challenges. Now that my classmates and I have figured out how to be fourth class, we must start thinking about passing boards and becoming third class. We will also find out where our summer assignments will be and what company we will be moved to for the remainder of our cadet careers. This semester will bring a new set of challenges, but in the end rewards, and together as a class we will make it.

 

On a side note, being from Texas I have seen very little snow in my life and the first weekend back from winter leave we got almost 6 inches of snow and it was one of the craziest things I have ever experienced. The last time I had seen snow was when I visited the Academy as a senior in high school almost a year ago, and decided to make this place my home for the next four years. With first semester and Swab Summer behind me, I know I made the right choice. I really struggled to make a decision on where to attend college and after returning from winter leave and gearing up for second semester, I could not be happier with my decision.

 

Go Bears!

 

More about Francesca.

 

Chasing Dreams

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Kearney Photo This past semester I sat in my room, lights off with only a yellowed bulb desk lamp, while I stared at math problems, listening to music with a pencil in hand. Time would pass with problems unsolved and my eyes would wander toward the guitar sitting in the corner, or the pack of crayons I bought on the way to a cross country meet, or the pumpkin sitting in the window sill I had so doodled on with sharpie images such as Winnie-the-Pooh or the flag raising on Iwo Jima. I’d proceed to take my headphones off and glance at my roommate behind me watching Netflix. It was quiet. A large contrast to the adventure I had during the past summer. I’ll be honest; I had forgotten why I had come to the Academy. I knew it was the right choice, but I couldn’t remember why it was right. The loudness of my thought was lost in struggling to understand linear algebra (no, this is not the same as regular high school algebra it’s a lot harder as I found out) and multivariable calculus (yes, this is also a lot harder than regular calculus).

 

I have decided to be an Operations Research and Computer Analysis major for reasons I believe are equivalent to my reasons for coming to the CGA. In high school, my cross country team would talk of chasing dreams and changing the world. We’d talk of courage and taking risks with passion. I want to solve problems, and I couldn’t think of a better major than ORCA to learn how to better optimize systems using very real and applicable methods. From pre-school until now, I have been in a formal education system for basically all my life, and in 2.5 short years, all of that learning will come to the test as my class graduates and become officers in the real world. It sounds classic, but we only have so much time in our life to accomplish the goals and desires we dreamt of as children. I came here to make a difference. I came here to take risks. I came here to chase my dreams. I came here to change the world.

 

More about Alex.

 

Coast Guard Family

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Kim Photo You’ve probably heard of the phrase “Coast Guard Family” once or twice already. When I was applying in high school, I never truly understood it, perhaps because it just sounded a little too cheesy or simply because I was not part of it, yet.

 

Fast forward a couple months (past Swab Summer!) and here I am as a cadet at the United States Coast Guard Academy. Surprisingly, this once cheesy phrase has slowly become a reality. The family-like environment is truly strange and magical. Being the small service the Coast Guard is, there are just about 1,000 cadets here, in comparison to the 4,000 at the other service academies. That being said, I see and talk to the same wonderful people at all our daily morning and afternoon formations, which have become an amazing routine – and I absolutely love it!

 

Cadets who were once strangers, instantly become like family members. These unique relationships help keep me accountable and in check with the high standards that I am to uphold, here at the Academy. These people motivate me and offer great advice, just as a “real” family would.

 

I’ve felt the same family-like experience outside of the Academy as well. Being from California, my chances of visiting home are slim because it is so far away. Thus, when we were awarded with our first long weekend since had Swab Summer ended, I had nowhere to go. Fortunately for me, however, many of whom I consider family members offered the hospitality of their homes for me to relax in after the grueling seven weeks. Through these great people, I have made incredible memories and have had the opportunities to visit NYC, Boston, Virginia, D.C., and the list goes on and on. I never imagined visiting Times Square or the Smithsonian museums, and, of course, these memories wouldn’t have been made possible without my Coast Guard family.

 

Make no mistake; this Coast Guard family also applies to the other side of the nation. My mother who works at Long Beach, California is constantly making new friends with the Coast Guardsmen stationed at Long Beach. When they mention that they are in the service, she mentions that I am currently a cadet at the Academy and, instantly, a stronger relationship is built. She calls me often saying she loves this Coast Guard family culture, a new idea within our family.

 

I am forever thankful for the family environment within the Coast Guard!

 

More about Matthew.

 

Lighting the World

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Kearney Photo The stars have never burned brighter nor has the water glowed bluer than that which I saw this past summer. You see, I’m fascinated by lights. I saw the green glow of the Space Needle on the Seattle skyline. I saw the orange lanterns of a Hawaiian Memorial Day celebration float across Honolulu’s waters with the shadow of a mountain behind us rising out of the Pacific. I saw the reflections of old London structures off the puddles of rain in the streets. I saw green, purple and gold firecrackers bloom above the Madeiran city of Funchal blanketed in terracotta as people watched with awe. I saw the moon’s glow dance lightly off the cool Bermuda water to the soft beach at my feet. I saw the green sparkle of tiny ocean life riding the waves past the ship’s hull in the pitch black of night. I saw the dazzling lightning bugs glitter the fresh air of the Shenandoah Valley, my home. I have no tales of saving lives or hunting drugs like some of my fellow classmates, but I still got to see the lights of the world. You might be wondering what has this got to do with the Coast Guard? Everything. It’s the little things that matter the most in life. Never forget that.

 

But if you want to know actual Coast Guard work, I did get to do some cool things like needle-gunning, sanding, and painting on the USCGC Polar Star, USCGC Sherman, and of course USCGC Barque Eagle. I drove a small boat en route to drill with an HC-130H (an airplane) and drilled with helicopter basket lowering. I became qualified in standard Coast Guard duties on board a vessel and learned so much from the various crews. I would like thank all of the crews of the units I visited for their immense knowledge, skill, and willingness to help train me and my fellow cadets throughout the summer. In addition to work duties, I got to have the most secluded “pool party” in the world as I literally jumped into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with 150 of my closest friends. I got to see whales, dolphins, jellyfish, the Seattle Mariners, Big Ben, men dressed in all white pushing people down a hill in baskets, so so many beaches in Hawaii and Bermuda, and turtles – lots of turtles.

 

More about Alex.