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cadet blogs

Keeping the 4/c Busy

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Smith Photo 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.

 

More about Sarah.

 

Home Away From Home

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Noble Photo As an international cadet from the Philippines, it is very hard for me to go home and see my family. I only get to see them once a year. It can be difficult at times because I tend to miss them a lot and I miss a ton of events such as my uncle’s wedding, my mom’s birthday, and my dad’s birthday. Sometimes, I feel like I am alone and have no family. Although I have lots of friends in the Academy and lots of people who look after me such as my company officers, company chiefs, professors, and upperclassmen, I still long for the day where I can just go home, sit back, hug my parents, and just have a break from all the rigors of the Academy. Unfortunately, this scenario is no longer possible because I am 8,000 miles away from them and my home.

 

The closest thing that gives me that break and that refreshment is going to visit my sponsor family. I am thankful for this program at the Coast Guard Academy has because without it, I do not know if I would have survived the first semester of 4th class year. My sponsor families were my driving force and my inspiration every time I feel like giving up. Yes, I have a country to represent and my family back home as my main source of strength but my sponsor families gives me that hope and rekindles my fire inside every single week. Every message they send and encouraging moments we spend together helps me feel like I can take on the world and I can take on every challenge that the Academy gives me. They truly made my transition to the military community better and one that is unforgettable. They made my life in the Academy very rewarding and very fulfilling.

 

Each of my sponsor families is unique and I am thankful for them. My first sponsor family who was selected for me by the Academy is very accommodating and very loving. It almost feels like they are my real parents. They also have a son who is an officer in the Coast Guard so they also feel like I am their son. Aside from all the support and the help they provide, one thing I love the most is how great the food is in their house. Every single meal they cook for me is like a taste of heaven, the sea and its lore. They owned a restaurant before so this is why they are really good at their craft. Moreover, it was one of the best in Connecticut so they really make delicious meals. To add to that, they made me one of the most scrumptious lobster bisque I have ever tasted in my life. My second sponsor family has a Filipino background and thus I love spending time with their family because they give me a sense of my country and a feeling of familiarity with my culture and my nationality. They also cook the best Filipino meals and they provide me encouragement that I cannot get from anyone else. It feels very special when I hear it in my own native language and the comfort of their household just makes me feel refreshed and renewed. My third sponsor family is a family that has both a Filipino heritage and a military background. They work in the U.S. Navy and are currently stationed in the Naval Sub Base. They are a young couple so it is very easy to relate with them, joke around, and laugh with. They are very adventurous so they have toured me around from Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, and Boston. Just like my other sponsor families, they cook good Filipino food and they give me a boost and renewed mindset.

 

By signing up for the program, I wanted to surround myself with good people who want me to succeed and this is what a got. These people have always made me feel special every time I am with them. I am thankful that I am just in my first year in the Academy because I still have a lot of time with them and a lot of adventures to go on with them. I appreciate that they accepted a young cadet like me and I will always have a grateful for their generosity and willingness to help me with my 200-week-long journey. I am glad that the Academy values strong familial bonds. These relationships not only last for my stay here in New London but also for a lifetime after I go back to my home country.

 

Thank you for your time,
Go CGA
Go Sponsorship Program
And Go Bears!

 

More about Eric.

 

Change is Possible

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo At the beginning of every new semester at the United States Coast Guard Academy, I always seem to expect that the previous semester and the new are going to be relatively similar. But no matter what year or season it is, I get a week into the new school semester and realize how quickly things change at the CGA. Last semester I had all engineering classes besides my Nautical Science III course. This semester I only have three engineering classes, and then I am also taking Atmospheres (a marine environmental science course), Personal Finance, Criminal Justice, and Personal Defense II. Overall, my workload, at least for now, seems to have slightly lightened. This gives me the opportunity to fill some of my time with what I choose.

 

So far, my days seem to go with school until 1500, workout until 1700, then dinner, Glee Club, meetings with the Guidon (the 2/c in charge of the 4/c cadets within Golf Company), and then more homework and bed. I applied for the privilege of being an MAA, or Master at Arms, for Golf and got it. This means that I work with the Guidon, one of my good friends, and the 4/c (freshman) to help develop them, while also working with the rest of the company staff to keep the company running smoothly and initiate new training ideas. What I am enjoying most about this semester is getting to understand how the Academy truly runs, and that the reason things get done around here a lot of the time is because cadets initiate and are it behind the scenes. It makes me realize that if you put the time and effort in, change is possible, and I can carry this lesson with me into my first unit after graduation.

 

More about Hannah.

 

Lasts and Firsts, Same Inspiration

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo This semester is filled with many lasts. We have our last PFEs, the last first day of school, the last set of classes, the last cadet assignments, the last spring break. It is also a semester of many firsts. We have submitted our first list of preferred billets, our first permanent change of station, and the first time that we will go into the Coast Guard as officers. It was surreal submitting my billet list, and coming to the realization of how close graduation actually is. It’s crazy to think how slow but yet how fast time has flown by here at the Academy. I am excited to see what the future brings, yet I am still making sure to enjoy the present—like passing my last PFE of all time!

 

This semester I am back on Regimental Staff, serving this time as the Regimental Chief of Staff. This means that I am the supervisor of the planning staff and affinity councils, and I serve as third in the cadet chain of command. It is a lot of work, but it is fulfilling to have the Commandant of Cadets’ ear on many issues facing cadets, and to stand up for what is right. What motivates me to wake up in the morning are the underclassmen that also get up every day to face their many firsts that they are experiencing. Despite the newness of their routines, difficult general education classes, and coming back from that first big break of their Academy experience, they too wake up each day unfazed and eager to face the day. Serving them as their leader motivates me, because if they are able to do it, so should I.

 

More about William.

 

Truly a Family

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Wheeler Photo Being away from my home in Maple Valley, Washington for so long has caused me, like many others, to form bonds and friendships far beyond that of a normal college. We here in the Corps of Cadets at the Coast Guard Academy truly are family in its purest meaning. Everyone here is going through the same trials and challenges as everyone else, so it’s easy for us to sympathize and help one another whenever the need arises. Encouraging and friendly are just a couple words that define Academy cadets. This comradery and kinship truly began to form for me last year at prep school at Marion Military Institute in Marion, Alabama. The roughly 40 of us there became fast friends and very close over our year as Coast Guard Academy Scholars. Many, if not all, of the friendships I formed at MMI have carried over to the Academy and I know without a doubt in my mind that these bonds will be lifelong. The United States Coast Guard Academy is a family. We are a family away from family back home, sharing in the hard times as well as the good.

 

More about Pat.