Current Students Reflect on Their First Year

GRAB FY reflection

Kaitlin Wingard '15

Majors: Environmental Studies/German Studies
Hometown: Mechanicsburg, PA
Learn more about GRAB.

"I participated in the pre-orientation program, Ascent, and that was the best decision I could have made as an incoming freshman. The great part about my trip (I went climbing and backpacking) was that I met some of my closest friends at Gettysburg. Through Ascent, I met upperclassmen who helped me adjust to college by introducing me to their friends, and they also helped me figure out how laundry worked!

Later, I was hired as a Gettysburg Recreational Adventure Board (GRAB) facilitator, and that was the second best decision I made because now I have the opportunity to lead other students and assist with their transition to Gettysburg. My first year can be summed up with a saying from our spring break staff training, 'We’re just good people surrounded by good people.'”

Fergan Imbert

Fergan Imbert '16

Major: Biology
Minor: Business
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Watch a video from the 2014 First-Year Walk.

"Each year, new students retrace the steps of the Gettysburg College class that once walked with President Abraham Lincoln on the day he delivered the Gettysburg Address. Gettysburg College has an unbreakable tie to some of the most poignant moments in our nation’s history, and the First Year Walk gives us the opportunity to truly appreciate that. It reminds us that “It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us". This year the speaker of honor Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, delivered a reading of the speech.

The First Year Walk proves to us that the words and meaning are still as powerful today as they were in 1863 and that as a Gettysburg College student we must accept the challenge of being better than we are."

Abby Slaboden

Abby Slaboden '17

Major: Psychology
Hometown: Wellesley, MA
See the 2014 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

Brandon Kelemen '16
Major: Health Sciences
Hometown: Westminster, MA
Learn more about the Center for Career Development.

"Ever since I was a little boy, I have had the dream of becoming a practicing physician. Countless visits to my father's Podiatry office have intensified my interest in reaching my goal. I knew coming to Gettysburg I wanted to gain experience in other medical fields. The Center for Career Development helped me apply for an externship with Dr. Raymond Truex, Jr. '63.

Over the course of two weeks, I was given the opportunity to scrub in for surgeries, go on daily rounds, and observe in-office patient visits. Not only did I have a great experience, he was able to give advice for my aspiration in becoming a doctor. This was truly an experience I will never forget. To this day, I keep close contact with Dr. Truex and I owe it all to the Center for Career Development!"


Yanet Gonzalez '17
Major: Political Science
Minor: Italian Studies
Hometown: Napa, CA
See photos from GIV Day 2014.
"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."

Sabrina Waage

Sabrina Waage '14

Major: Psychology
Minor: Chemistry
Hometown: San Miguel
de Abona, Spain
Learn more about campus housing.
"One of my fondest memories of my first year was my very first night in my dorm.  I had been traveling all day from Spain to arrive early for International Student Orientation.  My roommate had not arrived yet so I thought I would be all alone.  Instead I met another girl who had arrived early.  After I helped move in her things to her room, we explored the campus together.  We sat on the Adirondack Chairs on Stine Lake and chatted for hours.  From that day on we have been great friends and I've spent my last two Thanksgivings with her family.  My first night here I formed a friendship that will last forever."

Eric Lee

Eric Lee '15
Major: Individual - Film Studies
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Check out Clubs and Organizations on campus.
"In high school, my college counselor told me that Gettysburg was a college of opportunity, always presenting something new. My professors have challenged and guided me through rigorous courses while also creating an exciting learning environment and open community. Coming to college in a different environment is difficult, but with the help of current students and faculty, I quickly adjusted.

This is a school that not only pushes students to excel in academics, but to be involved and "Do Great Work." After classes and labs, I still have time to enjoy practicing for B.O.M.B Squad (a dance group on campus), photographing, working two jobs, and discussing topics in social justice; Gettysburg College is truly a place of opportunity, opening doors to success and lifelong friendships."