At the conclusion of the softball season last spring, Holli Bastinck was named to the NEWMAC All-conference first team and a first team All-American by the National Fast Pitch Coaches Association (NFCA). This fall, she added another title to an already impressive resume. After a grueling interview process, Bastinck was named the Coast Guard Academy's Regimental Commander, the highest ranking position available to cadets.
"I am required to maintain the good order, discipline, and welfare of the cadet corps," said Bastinck of her job duties.
"I have daily meetings with the Regimental Officer, and meet with the Assistant Commandant of Cadets and Commandant of Cadets. I voice opinions, thoughts, and feelings of the Cadet Corps on any situation and often make recommendations of polices to the chain of command."
Though the majority of the job is often done behind the scenes, Bastinck does get to step out from behind the curtain occasionally.
"The most visible part of my job is that I represent the Coast Guard, Academy, and Corps of Cadets at official functions and ceremonies. Acting as the senior cadet, this often involves introducing guests at corps-wide functions and going to various receptions in which I represent the corps."
"It's a lot of meetings, a lot of feedback, and a lot of communication. It's been a great time so far, I've learned a lot. It's been a good experience for me to deal with big picture things and have the opportunity to work with officers."
In order to be considered for the position, Bastinck, like the rest of the candidates, had to endure a long interview process that included sitting with a collection of Coast Guard hierarchy.
"You have to meet with a panel and present command philosophy to company officers and company chiefs. You have to go in being honest - be honest with why you want the position. They ask you a lot of questions that are judgment calls, and you have to think about what your thought process would be and have to explain how you would go about doing certain things. You have to know who you are as a leader."
Being a leader is nothing strange to Bastinck, who has held numerous leadership roles during her time here at the Academy and at Wayne Hills High School (Wayne, NJ).
"In high school I was the band president and the captain of the basketball and softball teams. Here, I was lucky to be a guidon as a 2nd class, so I already had some experience with a leadership position. I am mock-trial treasurer, President of the Current Spectrum Diversity Council which is the Gay Straight Alliance that we recently enacted, and have been the Student Athletic Advisor Committee President. It's all communication with people – listening and having an understanding of what is going on."
Any leadership position is expected to come with its fair share of tests, but being the Regimental Commander has its own unique set of challenges.
"There seems to be a million things that need to be done immediately," she quipped. "You have to try and decide what needs to be done first and what to delegate to whom. Also, something that I believe is difficult in any leadership position is ensuring that you are always supporting the chain of command in every aspect of your position. Every decision is an 'us' decision no matter what it is and sometimes you have to try and get people to buy into that. I try and explain all of the thought processes that lead to the decision being made, give people all angles of the story. Then even if some people do not agree with it, they at least have an understanding of how we reached it."
With the demands of the position, the rigorous academic work, along with her other on-campus endeavors, it's hard to imagine how anyone could complete the balancing act.
"Balancing is difficult," she says. "There are certain times where you need to schedule in personal time. You have to say to yourself, 'Okay, for these couple of hours I am going to go to dinner and I am not going to touch anything.' If you don't give yourself that break, you will just be working all the time. There is definitely sometimes where I think that I could be on liberty right now, but I just need to buckle down and do some homework. I try and find times and places to get away and find a quiet place to study. You've got to see your weekly plan - what do I have this week, next week, what can I get ahead in?"
With everything she has been able to accomplish in her tenure here so far, Bastinck is glad that she chose the Academy when looking at schools as a high school senior.
"Originally I was looking for a school just to play softball. But once I started looking around at schools, I realized I wanted to do more than just play softball. In high school I was in the band, I was interested in law - I had a hand in a little bit of everything. I didn't want to go somewhere and just play softball and have that be my life. I really liked the idea of travel, and honestly I like the missions."
The senior who slugged 10 home runs, knocked in 50 runs, and hit.452 for the NEWMAC tournament champion Bears last season, is also looking forward to closing out her career with a bang.
"We have a young team, a lot of really good freshman coming in," Bastinck says of the 2013 season. "We'll be pretty competitive. This is my last year, obviously, so one of the focuses for me is to have fun, work hard, and get my swings in everyday. Obviously I am going to take it seriously, but I also want to realize and enjoy the moment. It is going to be a new chapter next year, so I want to enjoy it while it lasts."