Well, today is Friday. That puts an end to a long January week. The sun is setting sooner, colors is going off earlier, and the trees have lost their leaves. Winter is here, and months dotingly called “the dark ages” have begun at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. People from sunnier states such as California or Hawaii, or in some cases Haiti and Mexico, may be shocked at the weather and have difficulty adjusting through these upcoming months. However, being from Maryland, I’m all but too familiar with the dark days of January and February.
However, the Academy manages to keep the 4/c very busy. In just two weeks in being back from winter break we have already gotten deep into our new classes, attended entertaining presentations on the various majors at the Academy (as we are going to be officially declaring it in the next few weeks), and have received our official Class of 2020 boards packet. In just a mere 4½ months, the 4/c will turn into 3/c, which means carry-on! You can already feel the anticipation in Chase Hall, all of us knowing that we made it through the first semester here, and we just have a few more obstacles to overcome before we get there.
What is Boards? Well, if you peer through the archives of cadet blogs, you can find many more cadets before me talk about it when they were blogging as 4/c. In the Coast Guard fleet, for enlisted personnel to advance ranks, they must usually take and pass a written test followed by an oral test to move on. At the Coast Guard Academy, we replicate the process for 4/c to understand and better appreciate what the enlisted do to get where they are. This year is the first year they’ve done a written Boards test and an oral Boards test – usually, it has only been an oral test. As the 4/c go through the Boards process, we will begin to earn back privileges. When my shipmates and I pass Boards, we will earn the privilege to write on our whiteboards posted outside our rooms, to play music aloud, to use social media, and eventually experience carry-on.
Considering the past – and realizing I’ve been at the Coast Guard Academy for just eight months so far – I can say I’ve learned so much. I’m certainly not the same girl I was on June 26, 2016 (the day before R-Day.) As scary as Boards seems to some, I’m excited to do it. I’m preparing in every way I can, with all my shipmates in the great Class of 2020. We’re all going to lean on each other to make it through, and eventually, we’ll all be trading in our green shields for red shields, as one awesome class.
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