1/c, departing the forum

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by capolo13, Apr 3, 2015.

  1. capolo13

    capolo13 Member

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    Hello USCGA SAF Forum,

    I joined this forum when I was I think a sophomore in highschool, in southern CA. I'm now 47 days from graduation (knock on wood). I'll be departing for Puerto Rico on an FRC after graduation, having the distinct pleasure of watching it in it's final stages of construction, and being part of the commissioning crew. I've always posted sporadically, but I've gotten a lot of good information from the forum. I wanted to say a general thank you. After the next month and a half, it's unlikely I'll be posting very frequently.

    Over the years, I went to (senior) AIM, (+1 year) CGAS, (4/c) Swab Summer, (3/c) Eagle, a surf-boat station in Massachusetts, (2/c) I was a Swab Summer Cadre and did all the other 2/c summer events, (1/c) on a Patrol Boat in Southeast Alaska, and Commander Company last summer for Echo. I'm also the 2015 class president, which mostly means I plan our formals and graduation events.

    I know sometimes it can be hard to get a cadet perspective, because most cadets are too cynical to post. But if anyone has questions about anything, I can offer probably the most current perspective, especially on Summer Training (I did four summers of being a Cadre/Aimster/Scholar/CC for 20 weeks) and definitely on school year life. I can be pretty candid, considering no one on this forum will ever see me as a Cadet.
    Admissions things... It's been a while since I applied in September of 2009, and there are a lot of Admissions experts on this site who are better suited to answer those kinds of questions. I don't remember much of it, besides the essays.

    If you'd feel more comfortable asking me on a private message, that's perfectly fine as well. If no one has anything, you can pretty much let this post drift into the archives, with my thanks.

    Good luck to all the applicants.
     
  2. walterd

    walterd Member

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    I know USCGA is a full on military college but when you are a 1/c or 2/c is there room for any "traditional" style college fun on weekends or are you kept on a tight leash all the time? Btw this would not change my decision to attend I am just curious.
     
  3. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    There's more freedom 2/c and 1/c year, so you can do more "fun" things like traditional colleges. That said, underage partying is a good way to get it really big trouble and possibly kicked out. 2/c year gets easier because when you go out you can be in civilian clothing. Nothing kills the buzz of a party like a guy in uniform. 1/c year makes it even easier because in addition to civilian clothing, you can also have a car. Either way, the fun is generally on the weekends, and typically isn't at CGA.
     
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Oh, you can come back here Capolo. I started on here my second year on my cutter (maybe I should have been more focused on my official responsibilities, eh? HA!).

    Feel free to come back any time. Not only are your experiences through your journey through four years as a cadet, your experiences at your first unit, and as you move on, will be valuable too (not only to applicants, but also current CGA cadets).
     
  5. shellz

    shellz Parent

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    Congrats, CApolo! I remember your posts. I'm sure you will do well in the fleet.
     
  6. how2know

    how2know Member

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    GOOD MORNING - This from the mom of someone who has been offered a uscga appt that intends to take it. I need a way to come to some sort of support for him and am struggling with that. I do not intend to offend. Just really trying to receive some ideas on how to overcome my concerns about the military environment and support my son's decision.
    I'm proud of him and his accomplishments, which are many of course, in my estimate.Because there has been so much conflict in our home over a first serious girlfriend these last couple of months, he is very gaurded with me. He has made a decision to accept the appt. Because I thought I'd raised a bit of a renassaince man and like to think military force is a poor decision and I am peace lover at heart, it feels like a sock in the stomach to me that my son has elected to join the military over take advantage of studying at one of 11 civilian schools he has been accepted at and offered combined scholarship monies of over $650,000.00, leadership and honors programs. I worry about him being treated so cruelly and then having the duty of turning around to treat others that way. I recently opened the alumni journal for support in supporting him... to turn to the first page of a book review detailing how the uscg is losing innovative and creative leaders to the private sector who are unwilling to stay within a defunct system of promotion based on waiting in line and compliance/butt kissing. I am so concerned that instead of learning about himself and learning to problem solve and think for himself that he will be told what and how to think and be limited as an individual. Can anyone help set my mind at ease that this is not a poor decision that will limit his individuality, ability to think and not be dependent on the social circle of the military for his life so that I can support and celebrate his decision? Thank you for your help. Not intending to offend, just feeling so very sorrowful at the idea of my son not living up to his unique potential. If I should have posted this elsewhere for more response please advise and thank you again.
     
  7. capolo13

    capolo13 Member

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    There's definitely a lot of room for fun. I prefer ski trips, camping, hiking, things like that, but we do get to party (when we're of age) decently enough. The seniors especially. Lots of trips to Boston or to New York, seeing UFC fights or classmates boxing at Mohegan Sun. We have two bars about 500 feet outside the gates of the Academy that are frequented regularly on weekends. The only limits to your fun would be the law (like don't drink underage!), CGA rules (don't drink/have alcohol on base), and your creativity. If you are creative, you can find things to do no matter what. The people who are here and complain about not having anything to do don't go out there and get after it.

    I'm actually looking out my window right now and there's whitecaps on the Thames. Good day for a sail, I think.
     
  8. capolo13

    capolo13 Member

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    Ma'am,

    With all due respect, you need to open your mind to your son's decision, and also change your mind about what the military is and how it treats it's members. I'm 23 years old, I don't have a lot of experience raising a son, but what I will tell you is that without the support of my parents, I could not have been successful in such a strenuous environment. He's going to need your support, too. Go out and talk to some real Alumni; the magazine is written... for alumni.

    Firstly, I have NEVER BEEN MISTREATED here. I don't know where you think that we're treating people cruelly or anything, but that's completely wrong. We are a family. We're so tight-knit, it's actually hard to explain. Now, when you see someone shouting at someone else during the summer or something like that, it's corrective in nature. We are fixing a problem so that they can live in our home of Chase Hall. It isn't "cruel"; people don't enjoy causing pain. That isn't it at all. I know from experience how much good it can do. I had one of my swabs come up to me after the summer and told me I changed his life, because I told him that all of his life he's thought of himself as a victim of everything bad in his life, and felt sorry for himself. I watched him come that realization about himself, and stand up an inch taller after that once he realized he can control his life. His life changed, and my life changed, and it was probably the moment in my life I felt most successful.

    Secondly, you've basically described us as rule following automatons. The military doesn't limit your ability to do other things; the motto of my major is "Training Renaissance Officers". For instance, I read Shakespeare and play several musical instruments. I enjoy surfing. My friend (female) is an accomplished singer, and also a phenomenal soccer player. Another friend enjoys making funny videos about Academy life, and extreme sports with his Go-Pro. Thinking that being a member of the Coast Guard essentially destroys your humanity is completely and totally wrong. Military members and veterans exist all around you right now; you just can't see them in plainclothes. We're still part of normal society. They don't lock us away in the barracks like Frankenstein's monster, never to see the light of day unless we go to war.

    Additionally, you learn more about yourself as a person and as a leader than I can possibly imagine anywhere else. They don't "test" your personality, determination, and ingenuity at civilian schools. Not like this. We are some of the best; you seem to think he's making a mistake, because he's "too smart" or "too unique" for the military, as if the military is a second-tier choice. This is what is actually offensive. Most of my classmates got into 1-2 Ivy League type schools. It's not a secondary choice for us; this is where we want to be, because we want to give back to our country and our communities.

    In terms of creativity, military members are trained to think for ourselves. Even the most basic combat involves problem solving; how do we get over that bridge, is this vessel foreign flagged/if so what do we do about it, how do we get our logistics train to not outpace our advance... These things require independent thought. If you are creative in your approach, within the policies, the law, rules, and regulations, and you get the objective completed, it doesn't matter. I would say not only does the profession of arms allow creativity, it REQUIRES it.

    Choosing to come to CGA was one of the greatest decisions I've ever made. It has allowed me to travel to four countries on three continents, 16 states including Alaska, and even in my time as a cadet to help save people from burning boats and storms, and enforce the law and protect the environment. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

    I would recommend you watch this video, so maybe you can better understand what it is the military in general does, including but not limited to the Coast Guard.
    https://www.ted.com/talks/peter_van_uhm_why_i_chose_a_gun?language=en
     
  9. AlexT

    AlexT Banned

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    Caplo13,

    Wow, I'm glad you had the chance to reply to this. The manner in which you did does you much credit. This is one of the best posts of seen here at SAF in a very long time. Good luck with your next assignment.
     
    how2know likes this.
  10. how2know

    how2know Member

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    Dear Capolo, Thank you from the bottom of my heart. SO many of the things your wrote are things I have longed to hear. My thoughts now are very based in fear and in anticipatory grief of whatever the final decision is for my son that takes him so far away. He says his mind is made up, and that is why I have requested support so that I can celebrate his decision and support him. I admire his strength but I know he'll need family support and he should have it, of course.

    Getting such a timely response from you is part of what speaks to my great hope of the way my sons fine character will be enhanced there. Being so ignorant of the military, I am also fearful. Thank you for allaying some of those fears at least for a while with your talk of comraderie, poetry, musicianship, respectful and loving treatment of self and others and your recommendation for the video which I will most assuredly watch.

    I apologize for the offense of inferring that the military appears as a 2nd-tier choice. Please know that it comes from my fears and lack of knowledge about military academies and the military in general. Also it comes from my gut intuition that choosing military as a way of life where one is supported by an institution instead of flying on your own is somehow... not as honorable. Perhaps that is just the way I was raised. No matter what my intuition tells me, one is not secondary to the other, they are just different and that is ok. Each of them have their pros and cons. Thank you for prompting me to think through this and most importantly for educating me with the very honorable, meaningful and positive experience you have had as a cadet. Many blessings on the beautiful and bright future ahead for you. You've brightened my day.
     
  11. USCGA13STN

    USCGA13STN Member

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    Don't feel like you have to leave just because you're no longer at the Academy. Heaven knows I've been on here as an ENS and JG almost as much as when I was a cadet. If you're still around to share that "I done screwed up moment" with cadets and future cadets, you may save them from making the same mistake.
     

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