I was with my wife's family this weekend, including my brother-in-law, who is also my classmate from CGA. He's currently at Yale for his master's. Now, I think of Yale as a very impressive school. It's ranked #1 for his program. But as I listened to him give updates about his life to the friends and family around him, he refered to his current occupation as "I'm at grad school." Ok, I get it, he IS at grad school, but never did he mention "YALE" which I'm sure would have turned a few more heads than simple "grad school." And this line of thinking dredged something else up. As cadets at CGA, when talking to anyone about our school, we always said "my college" or "at college" or "my school." People had to dig deeper to hear "Academy" and even a little deeper for "Coast Guard Academy." Of course, between cadets we always said "the Academy". But why not to others? Maybe some of it came from our apprehension of joining the fleet and dwelling too much in our academy past (I know this isn't an issue for students at ALL of the academies). Maybe we were trying to avoid mixed reactions from "is that like college" to "oh you should have gone to college." We didn't wear CGA stuff. In fact, I don't think I really started buying Coast Guard Academy apparel until a few years after I graduated. Cadets would make fun of other cadets who wore CGA gear out and about. That's contrasted with my experience at George Washington University, where it is VERY acceptable to wear GW gear. Judging from the 4-6 (what I'm guessing were) NAPSters in Newport this weekend, clad in USNA gear, maybe it's OK to wear Navy stuff at USNA. I don't know. I do know that I generally don't come straight out and say "I went to CGA" even now, as I'm on the outside, and my diploma is more of an anomoly than similar to the other 45% of CGA officers I worked with. I'm not ashamed of my school, not even close. I'm not exactly sure why I avoid immediately saying where I went. I'm proud of it. I would be interested to know if it's this way at the other academies, or if that's still the general trend at CGA.