Senior Brigid Welch knows she wants to attend a military academy, but she wasn’t sure which one, so she applied to attend each one’s summer seminar. She was accepted into most of them and spent one week each experiencing what it would be like at the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Now she is beginning the application process and waiting to receive her acceptance letters before making her final decision.
Bridget said she is interested in attending a military academy because several people in her family were in the military, including her parents, both of her grandfathers, and a cousin.
“It sounds cliché, but since I was little, I felt the call to serve,” she said. “I have a great respect for veterans, and I just want to make my part in the world.”
She said she liked her experience at all three seminars and now has a better feel for what will be expected should she attend. At the Navy Summer Seminar, the emphasis on teamwork stood out. Every morning, the several hundred rising seniors were up for PT (physical training) at 5:30 a.m., and they all encouraged each other to get through the drills. She found the week of non-stop activity “intense,” but she enjoyed running into people who know her older brother, Brogan ’18, who will be a sophomore at the Naval Academy this fall.
The very next week, she was at West Point. That program was even more strict than the Naval program, and the participants had to be ready for anything at any time. She said she particularly enjoyed the rifle simulator during that program.
At the Coast Guard Academy, she took part in a week of the traditional Swab Summer, which is a seven-week training prior to freshman year. She learned how to keep her “eyes in the boat,” or looking forward, during that week. She was named the female Honorary Graduate of the Coast Guard Summer Seminar – a big honor considering there were close to 500 participants.
The most difficult part of the three programs was not being able to have her cellphone at the Coast Guard Academy, which meant she missed her sister’s birthday. Despite that, she said she is now most interested in the Coast Guard and Naval Academy and hopes to major in some type of engineering and to include athletics in her college future if she is accepted. At the Coast Guard, she met with the women’s soccer coach, and at the Naval Academy, she was approached by the rowing coach.
“It definitely increased my interest in the Navy and the Coast Guard,” Bridget said. “Before this summer, I had no clue.