Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. A borough of less than 2,500 citizens. A county-seat nestled in the South Mountain range that houses a small Liberal-Arts College. A small town that has access to too many country stations but no New York Mets games. So why am I here? Why does none of this bother me? Why could I not sleep the night before I drove here, just because the excitement of it all kept me awake? Three words. The Gettysburg Semester. After five days of orientation, I was not disappointed. An early morning drive brought me to the Appleford at about seven thirty in the morning. By eleven that morning, the whole group had arrived. It was a thrill to meet the people I would be spending the next three and a half months of my life with. All of them, like me, a history diehard. The six of us formed an immediate bond that day. The tone was set for our group that afternoon. We joked our way through the Convocation Ceremony, where we were warmly welcomed as "The Other Students." We trusted each other at the Dobbin House, when we all copied Ashley and ordered the Hunter's Chicken. We spent time learning about each other on our walk up to the Eternal Peace Memorial on Oak Ridge that night.  


Longstreet Statue
Welcome Dinner

 National Park Monopoly  

The next day saw similar things. Picking up trash on the battlefield, eating Ice Cream at Kilwin's and an epic, two-night game of National Park Monopoly (which I finally won Friday night) did nothing to interrupt our chemistry. Getting adjusted to the local atmosphere fell hand-in-hand with the orientation process.

 
Individual meetings and a group lunch with Dr. Guelzo prepared each of us the school-related tasks ahead. Spending countless hours in the town and on the battlefield on Saturday and Sunday, including a climb up Culp's Hill in the dark, a trip to Rita's, and walking Pickett's Charge, allowed each of us to gain a familiarity with our home for the Semester.  Cell Phones make great flashlights!Jeffrey
 Virginia Monument   

The five day orientation was a worthwhile experience, especially when we were left to our own devices. The experiences we had helped Allison, Anna, Ashley, Bethany, Joe, and myself, with a little Amy and a little more Brandon mixed in, transform from individuals in the Gettysburg Semester to a family. We anxiously await what lies ahead.