Cadet Goals

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by Deepblu, May 9, 2015.

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  1. Deepblu

    Deepblu New Member

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    Coming into the Academy, I wanted to set some goals for my time there. While I understand the need to take one step at a time, I want to be the best cadet and shipmate I can be. I understand that teamwork is imperative to any and all success at USCGA, but also, I think setting measurable goals will undoubtedly help me grow into my potential as a cadet and Coast Guardsmen.
    What are some goals I could set for each year at the Academy?
     
  2. TennisDad

    TennisDad CGA Admissions Partner

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    Making it through Swab Summer? Making it through the first semester? Start with those.
     
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  3. EarlyRetirement

    EarlyRetirement Banned

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    TennisDad, why don't you set the bar a little lower? Maybe, making it "to" R-Day. Come on - Remember all these kids, including yours, are superstars ,Triple Threats (XXX), and a lot are overachievers. Its not your job, but Cadre's (the machine) job to crush their hopes and dreams "like a beer can at a frat party." Give them some red meat.

    DeepBlu, how about this. Now, I'm not in the CG, but I live my life this way. I make sure that anyone that works for me, or if I work for them, I at least know the names of their spouse, and if i can, their children. That way when I run into them after a while, instead of saying "How have YOU been?", I say "How is Betty and little Melvin?". Of course that's an example you won't use until your commission, but get the gist of the sentiment and apply it to academy life. Your job won't be to drop bombs on people from 10,000ft....but a different calling. GOOD LUCK!
     
  4. TennisDad

    TennisDad CGA Admissions Partner

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    EarlyRetirement - neither of which is easy, for a superstar or other, which is why I suggested them.
     
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  5. rjb

    rjb Member

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    Early Retirement, Tennis Dad is being very realistic. All these young men and women are superstars - top of class, Eagle Scouts, varsity captains, etc., etc. - but at the USCGA they become the 'average' and this can be a very difficult adjustment. The first semester is a shock - credit hour load, military obligations, sports obligations, PFE's, etc. This is a 'one step at a time' process.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
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  6. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Having done the whole CGA cadet thing…. followed by CG officer thing…. I thought I might just add my thoughts to the mix.

    I was a great student in high school, and I was one of those average, or below average, cadets at CGA.

    I can't remember if I set any goals. If I had, I know I had more trouble on such basic things that I likely would not have even tackled my goals. The goals would have been based on "Star High School Student LITS" and not "Struggling, Failing Cadet LITS." Eventually I just had to "keep it simple, stupid."

    Now, there ARE things you can set goals for. "I want an A in Chemistry II" "I want a blue star for my PFE." "I want to be a Department Head." etc.

    As far as "how can I be a good cadet" is concerned, and how you set goals around that, I'm not as sure. That's not as easy.

    So here are a few things "Struggling, Failing Cadet LITS" would have told "Star High School Student LITS."

    1. You're not the best, and that's OK.
    2. Be confident, even though you not the best.
    3. Ask for help, when you need it.
    4. Freely help others when they need it.
    5. Study….. a lot.
    6. You're not perfect, don't expect others to be perfect.
    7. Run, work out and enjoy sports…. college is the last time you will easily play multiple sports…. with refs and times and scoring…. (but there will be leagues available in the future too).
    8. Do what you're told to do….. but think for yourself.
    9. Learn from every mistake…. because you'll make MANY MANY mistakes…. so you'll have a lot to learn.
    10. Be positive.



    Now, to the original poster….. what do you want to get out of goal-setting?

    I'll be honest…. when I entered the front gate of CGA on July 1, 2002, I was sure I'd do well. Why not? Seven weeks later, I was just happy to have actually finished Swab Summer. About 10-11 months later, I was just happy to finish 4/c year. And by May 17, 2006, I was just happy to have somehow been qualified to graduate and receive a commission.
     
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  7. Freda'sMom

    Freda'sMom Parent

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    A goal of completing swab summer seems much more helpful then learning the names of the Commandant's children.
     
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  8. capolo13

    capolo13 Member

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    I would say LITS is right on point. Just be realistic with yourself.

    You don't even know what your goals look like yet; do you want to be a guideon, a department head, the company commander... academic goals are a little easier to understand because you've already been in academics for 8+ years of receiving actual grades, but still, at CGA you generally need to prioritize, so it becomes trickier.

    However, I'll still answer the question. You said goals for EACH year, so I'll generalize and try to give you a good answer that you'll grasp without being at CGA yet.

    Swab Summer: keep yourself afloat first, and then you can keep others afloat. Two drowning guys can't save each other, it takes a strong swimmer to hold up anyone else. When I say be a strong swimmer, I mean be secure in who you are mentally, stay confident but not arrogant, stay positive, and give off positive vibes that will infect the rest of the group. Stay physically fit before you arrive. You don't need to be the fastest, strongest, toughest, but don't be the weakest.

    4/c year: Observe everyone around you. Take mental notes on what leaders, be it peers, 3/c, 2/c, 1/c, or chiefs and officers do that you like, and what they dislike. Try to figure out why you like or dislike those things. Strive to be the 4/c everyone can count on.
    3/c summer: learn as much as you can, and DO as much as you can. get dirty, volunteer for everything. BE AN ASSET to the team, no matter where you go and what your tasks are. Chip paint and lay down non-stick like it's your life's goal.
    3/c year: Focus on becoming a cadre, and what the most important things were to you when you were a 4/c and a swab. Start thinking about it. Lead your 4/c, and strike a good balance between a mentor without being a friend.
    2/c summer: cadre summer, apply what you learned. be consistent, and leave a good legacy to your swabs. The rest of the summer, just learn as much as you can, it's pretty hectic.
    2/c year: continue to mentor, and to learn. Learn how to lead from a few steps away, so getting your 3/c to treat your 4/c the way you expect that they should. Apply for guideon position, if it interests you, and do well as you enter your academic major. do research, think about what you want to do in the CGA. research internships or positions for the summer.
    1/c summer: learn what it means to be an officer, stay out of trouble, and learn as much as you can about how the Coast guard works. Be an asset to the team.
    1/c year: lead from 3 steps away; get your entire division working the way you want, and strive to set the best example you can. you're now leading upwards of 3-6 people, more if you are a department head, XO, or CC. the tone comes from you, and everything that happens will be blamed on you. Use this as your practice run for everything you've learned about leadership, and fine-tune it.
    ENS: i have no idea, ask me in 9 days to a year.

    I guarantee you won't need any of this information, because you'll be too tunnel visioned by the walls of Chase to even remember you posted this.
    BUT, just put one foot in front of the other, and keep your eyes open, and you'll be fine. Don't get your goals too far ahead, or you'll miss what's happening right in front of you. Don't get complacent, and don't get arrogant.
     
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  9. alaska66

    alaska66 CGA Admissions Partner

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    Great post! Congratulations on your upcoming graduation and commissioning!
     
  10. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    I second that LITS and capolo are on the mark with this. This info applies for any SA or ROTC program.
     
  11. EarlyRetirement

    EarlyRetirement Banned

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    That is a very strange disclosure.

    But I had an English Literature Professor in college that used to always quote Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry character. He would say "A man's got to know his limitations".
     
  12. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    If I use the cadet in the middle of the class at graduation as "average," my class position was below average.

    I was smarter than below average, but my performance as a cadet did not show that fact.
     
  13. EarlyRetirement

    EarlyRetirement Banned

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    I would like be the first to inform you, if you rely on intelligence alone, you will be extremely limited in your pursuit of success.
    College is a place former A students teach B students to work for C students. This is not to say that your academic abilities are insignificant, but it is my understanding that the SA's are supposed to build leaders. When you graduated, were you prepared for the challenges outside the classroom? Are you a leader? It takes a special person to do 4 years at a SA, graduate and only make 36k, when the top engineering school graduates are starting at 75-110k+. If your goal isn't to dedicate yourself to a life of community service, you should probably go someplace else. This is the advice I gave DS.

    I can already hear the "Flight of the Valkries" as helicopter parents start descending.
     
  14. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    You're preaching to the choir. We could probably say the same about GPAs…. or salaries…. or just about anything else.

    My point in the first quotation was that I went from being at the top of my class…. to mid/bottom of the class. I suspect ADD and no ritalin was partially to blame for my lack of focus…. but it can be a shock for any student to go from 4.0s, 5s on AP test, top of the class, high IQs….. and find themselves as just another number…. even if those grades and scores and positions meant little to them in the past.

    Those who can do, and those who can't, teach. I've had some good professors in undergrad and grad school and I've had some less impressive.

    Yes, service academies built (or more likely nurture) leaders. I don't think they're less focused on academics… they just demand work…. and military focus…. and athletics…. too.

    I also don't think it feels as "special" once you've gone through it. Yes, my classmates were very impressive…. yes, they were really something…. but they were normal people, and they liked driving on boats, or hoping in a helo, or doing a boarding. It's "community service" but it has plenty of personal appeal too…. plenty of fun to get someone's heart beating.
     
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  15. EarlyRetirement

    EarlyRetirement Banned

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    Is this a serious statement or is this a joke? If this is a joke, its not funny. ADD is a serious issue for some children, and ritalin is a powerful stimulant. If its not a joke, you probably shouldn't have been at the USCGA to begin with, so you may be unqualified to be dispensing advice (let alone ritalin).

    LITS, seems like you have some serious PTSD happening. I'm not sure being on this site is helpful to those have not formed an opinion to read yours.

    I have multiple children serving in the CG, this is the first one going to the Academy.
     
  16. EarlyRetirement

    EarlyRetirement Banned

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    Sounds like a backhanded comment to me. I don't think I suggested learning the names of the Commandant's children. I suggested learning the names and backgrounds of the cadets they'll be serving with. Its called team building, but you probably wouldn't understand that "HelicopterMom" because the only kid you are really concerned with is probably your own.

    I already have multiple children serving in the CG, but this is the first going to the Academy. If your DS/DD thinks CGA is challenging, wait until they get on some of those dysfunctional boats and deal with real people problems. It'll make Swab look like a walk in the park.

    The original poster asked a valid question, asking for advice. If your advice is "just make it through swab", don't waste our time, its generally understood that swab is a challenge, its meant to be.
     
  17. Freda'sMom

    Freda'sMom Parent

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    An uncalled for personal attack, you should be proud of trolling one of this sites repected posters, and you did it before you hit 10 posts, bravo!

    This coming from a new poster who suggested an incoming swab set a goal of memorizing the names of the Supe's children rather than getting through Swab Summer.

    Brilliant.
     
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  18. Freda'sMom

    Freda'sMom Parent

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    You are a troll, you've done nothing but insult other posters.

    It appears you are under some impression that you are the Coast Guard Oracle based on your family history of service, and therefore your advice should be heeded and others discounted.

    In my opinion, your advice was nonsense.

    Yes, the OP asked a valid question, and he got real-world answers from other posters including those who have been through the CGA as well as those who are there NOW. To scoff at what they saying and insist only YOU have the answers is narcissistic at best and idiotic at worst.
     
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  19. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Early: no matter how qualified you are (or think you are), most of your posts are written in an insulting and condescending manner. Offer informed answers and provide opinions without attacking others. Personal attacks are against Forum policy.

    Follow your own advice and get to know the people posting here.
     
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  20. EarlyRetirement

    EarlyRetirement Banned

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    Not True.
     
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