Current Students Reflect on Their First Year

GRAB FY reflection

Andrew Burd '17

Major: History
Hometown: Rutland, VT
Learn more about GRAB.

"Prior to the beginning of my first semester at Gettysburg College, I participated in the pre-orientation program, Ascent, and I couldn’t imagine my time here starting any differently. I went backpacking and it was so much more than I imagined it would be. I emerged from my adventure with a sense of accomplishment, a close group of friends and a better understanding of what awaited me at Gettysburg College. Ascent also gave me the chance to meet a few upperclassmen, who were happy to help me adjust to life on campus.

Later in my first semester, I was hired as a facilitator for the Gettysburg Recreational Adventure Board (GRAB), and it has provided me with the opportunity to lead other students and assist them in their transition into Gettysburg College. GRAB has also provided me the opportunity to connect with many current students and members of the faculty and staff through experiences the program offers throughout the year."

Michael Deleon

Michael Deleon '18

Major: Sociology
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Watch a video from the 2016 
First-Year Walk.

"Each year, first-year students can experience the tradition that is the First-Year Walk. Now in its 14th year, this event involves a recreation of the 1863 walk to hear the Gettysburg Address. Having participated in the tradition three years consecutively, I can honestly say that it is one of my favorite Gettysburg College traditions. It has provided me the opportunity to make new friends, get acquainted with the town, and learn about the historical context which sets Gettysburg College apart from other institutions.

Gettysburg College and the town of Gettysburg are both grounded in such rich history and the First-Year Walk allowed me to develop an appreciation of that. Thus, the importance of memory, speech, and place have become greatly impactful throughout my college career."

Abby Slaboden

Abby Slaboden '17

Major: Psychology
Hometown: Wellesley, MA
See the 2016 First-Year Seminars.
"One of my favorite memories from my first year at Gettysburg was my First Year Seminar Yoga: Ancient Philosophy, Global Phenomenon.  It was a unique experience to take the classroom and bring it back to our dorm.  We had conversations about the readings while brushing our teeth and walking down the hall.  This experience built a foundation of friendship that I was able to build on and branch out from and I am grateful to have had this experience with 15 other first years.

My favorite memory during the seminar was a trip to the Smithsonian, where we went on a guided tour of an art exhibit that displayed ancient pieces that were related to the people and ideas we discussed in class."

Brandon Kelemen

Bobby Weisensee '18
Major: Biology
Hometown: Clark, NJ
Learn more about the Center for Career Development

"When coming to college I was sure that I wanted to go to medical school upon graduation. Once at Gettysburg, excellent opportunities in the biology department introduced me to scientific research. I fell in love instantly and was sure that I wanted to change my career path to become a research scientist. The Center for Career Development helped me perfect my CV to be able to secure an internship at Merck.

Over the summer I was able to act as a lab prep technician and help aid in real world research projects in my field of study. This experience allowed me to solidify the idea that my Gettysburg experience planted in my head: biological research was the career path for me. If not for the faculty in the biology department and the efforts of Career Development, I may have never found my true passion."


Yanet Gonzalez '17
Major: Political Science
Minor: Italian Studies
Hometown: Napa, CA
See photos from GIV Day 2016.
"One of my favorite memories of my first year at Gettysburg was Gettysburg is Volunteering (GIV) Day.  I volunteered at the Gettysburg Community Theater, which allows children and adults to build their confidence and creativity through art. We cleaned the surrounding area and helped organize the stage for an upcoming play.

GIV Day allowed me to continue with my passion for community service and inspired me to get involved with the Center for Public Service. I am grateful for the opportunity because on that day I met one of my best friends."


Haya Mohanna '17

Major: Mathematical Economics
Minor: Business
Hometown: Gaza, Palestine
Learn more about campus housing.

"If you ask me, most of my memorable moments are made in the Residential & First-Year Programs Office. I have worked there as a student assistant and as a housing coordinator since my first year. Through these two positions, I got to experience both the day-to-day work that the office deals in regards to ensuring a healthy and enjoyable living situation for all students and the preparation leading to orientation and welcoming a new class. I was inspired and motivated by the efforts and challenges each staff takes on to ensure the satisfaction of all parties involved.

It almost never felt like I was a student working there because students and professional staff work as one team for a specific goal and my ideas were always welcomed and considered. The office through its residence student staff (Residence Assistants, Community Advisors, Residence Coordinators) encourages taking initiatives, being responsible, challenging yourself and working hard for your own and your community’s happiness, but it also brings this encouragement inside its walls and that’s something that resonated with me even in my own personal path."

Sam Wilensky

Sam Wilensky '17
Majors: Physics and Philosophy
Hometown: Waterford, CT
Check out Clubs and Organizations on campus.

"As someone who is always looking to get involved in new things, Gettysburg College could not have been a better fit for me. While still being challenged in my academics, I have also had the opportunity to pursue very exciting topics, and work on both individual and faculty research. College provides the academic rigor in topics you love and allows the time to pursue passions outside of the classroom.

Gettysburg College has provided the opportunity for me to pursue both physics and philosophy and combine them in my academic work. I’ve also had the time to work on research projects, play all kinds of tabletop games in Games Club, continue playing ultimate Frisbee, find a new passion in Zumba, and that’s just the beginning. Gettysburg College is a wonderful place full of opportunities for students to seek and has allowed me to do more than I ever could have imagined."