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cadet blogs

First Phase: Eagle

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo The first phase of my 1/c summer has come and gone in the blink of an eye. I am sitting in the airport preparing to head out to Sector San Francisco after spending the first five weeks on USCGC Eagle. Eagle was a phenomenal experience. It is my third time being on board and honestly it keeps getting better every time I return. I chose to go for the engineering qualifications, as opposed to deck watch, and got qualified as an oiler and then an Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOW). This meant that I went on rounds of all the spaces throughout the ship to check on the various systems, did rounds in the engine room, and learned how to do all the collaterals for each. I also learned how to parallel generators, flush a reverse osmosis system, cross-connect different systems, and so much more. The crew on board are experts in their specialties and were so willing to teach cadets and help us learn more about actual applicable engineering skills.

 

Getting to stand watches for the crew made me feel like a valuable member on board, and while I am excited to see what this next phase brings I will miss being underway and being in an engine room. I am hoping to get to see some of the cutters out of San Francisco and nearby locations. Northern California is full of Coasties which means reuniting with classmates and alumni that recently graduated. I am also looking forward to spending time with my grandparents who live nearby. Overall, firstie summer has been eye-opening and makes me realize how thrilled I am to hopefully become a student engineer next year as an ensign.

 

More about Hannah.

 

Becoming a Junior Officer

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Holland Photo Hey everyone,

 

It's been a long time since I posted one of these, but I had the time to do so today. As a firstie in the fleet, you get treated a lot like a junior officer, which is critical to your development at the Academy because once this next school year is up, you're an ensign. (That's a scary thought.) I'm currently aboard USCGC Forward on patrol, and it is incredible. The summers are when you realize that everything you work toward at the Academy is worth it, and is very real and close. I'm not 100% sure what I want to do when I graduate, but there are no bad billets in the Coast Guard. (No other service can say that.)

 

For those of you considering joining the Coast Guard, I think that the Coast Guard can best be equated to a family. We are a small service and because of that you gain a reputation among your peers very quickly. In other services, it is easy to get lost in the crowd; however, in the Coast Guard you will know someone at nearly every single unit. It's definitely an incentive to stay on top of your stuff and to always treat others how you would like to be treated. The next part of this summer, I will be the Battalion AIM Officer. I'll be in charge of the Coast Guard's program that educates high school seniors as to what it is we do here at the Academy. I'm very excited to get the opportunity to assist the Class of 2019 in the training and mentoring of future members of the class of 2022. My little sister also reports to the Academy this summer, which will be a lot of fun (for me). I'll update later but, until then, everyone be safe and make good decisions.

 

More about Taylor.

 

Swab Summer Etiquette

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo To the incoming Class of 2021,

 

Congrats! This message will be starkly different from the one your cadre will give you, but either way we’re all super excited to meet you. Around this time of year, three years ago, I remember watching Swab Summer videos on YouTube and scouring the blogs for little tips and tricks for guidance. I’m not going to give anything away, because that would take the fun out of it, but here are the basics of what I guess you could call “Swab Summer etiquette.”

 

1. Share your food: Everyone’s hungry, and an extra bite can really make someone’s day. I remember my friends getting massive care packages loaded with candy, homemade cookies, and granola bars. You really bond with people over a snack and a chat.

 

2. Hygiene: Yes, it’s hard to be clean when you barely have time to brush your teeth, but please, shower. Figure out a system that works for you, because the one of the worst things about Swab Summer is the smell. Even a dab of hand sanitizer goes a long way.

 

3. Homesickness: It’s perfectly normal to be homesick, but I’m not going to sugarcoat this next part. You’re in the military now, and you need to suck it up. If you’re not used to being away from home, Swab Summer will probably amplify feelings of homesickness. Even after a year at prep school, I teared up a little when I got a letter from my mum. Regardless, you have larger things to focus on and sometimes pushing aside these feelings is necessary.

 

During Swab Summer, happiness is scarce and it’s easy to fall into a pit of discouragement. Oftentimes you’re not allowed to show any emotion, but that’s all a part of training to have a proper military bearing. However, when you reflect on your day, try to find at least one good thing you did. It doesn’t have to entail answering a question correctly or having a decent uniform, but maybe you helped your homesick shipmate or had a mini snack-party in your room. Finally, regardless of what light your cadre will see you in, your classmates will remember you the most vividly. I cannot stress enough the importance of helping each other and not being a jerk. People remember the most random things and we all have our bad moments, but don’t let that get in the way of being a decent person.

 

That’s all for now, good luck and see you in August!

 

Very respectfully,
1/c Olivia Chang

 

More about Olivia.

 

My Appointment to the USCGA: January 8, 2014

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Kokomoor Photo It has been more than three years since I received my appointment to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and there are plenty of moments around that time that I can no longer recall, but January 8, 2014 is not one of them. I remember that day as if I could be living it all over again, right now. I wanted to go to the Coast Guard Academy…REALLY BADLY. I was getting nervous that I had not heard back yet from my early action application submission, and I was starting to doubt everything. I thought about what other colleges I did and didn’t apply to and started to get nervous, more so than I like to admit.

 

On January 8, 2014 I went to morning swim practice, I went to school, and then I went home and took a nap. I knew that I had to get up soon to go to afternoon practice, but it was cold outside and so warm in my bed. I was contemplating extending my nap through practice when my phone started to ring from across the room. I almost didn’t get up to answer it; I never answered my phone in high school. But for some reason, still unknown to me, I got up, dragged myself across the room and picked up the phone. It was John Westkott, Head Coach of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Swimming and Diving Team.

 

Everything from there is cookie cutter, an awkwardly exciting conversation with my soon to be college swim coach, some jumping around my room followed by a quick call to my mom, and then my dad, and then my sister, other sister, brother, high school swim coach, everyone, you name them, they got a call. I was off the wall excited to be going to the Academy.

 

After a few weeks the excitement faded and was replaced by nerves. It was something I thought I wanted more than anything, and I started to second guess myself. I had other options, easier options, to consider, ones with less commitment and definitely less stress. But something carried me through those few unsure month. R-Day and Swab Summer came and went and all of a sudden I’m three years in and I haven’t yet made a decision that I regret. It really does all work out in the end!

 

More about Jacklyn.

 

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.