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 2013 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."


Becca Szyzska

Becca Szyzska '14

Majors: International Affairs/Spanish
Hometown: Palatine, IL
See the 2013 First-Year Seminars.
"One of my favorite memories from my first year at Gettysburg was my First Year Seminar Cryptography: The Science of Secrecy.  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 National Security Agency, where we were able to see how the topics we were learning in class are applied to real life careers.  Another highlight was when our professor invited the entire class to have dinner with his family at the end of the semester."

Shane Thorp

Shane Thorp '14
Major: Biochemistry
Hometown: Alburtis, PA
Learn more about the Center for Career Development.
"I knew coming to college that I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field, and that participating in internships and shadowing opportunities that pertained to medicine or healthcare were important to me.  The Center for Career Development helped me apply for an externship with neurosurgeon Dr. Raymond Truex, Jr. '63.

Over the course of two weeks, I was able to scrub into every surgery, go on daily rounds, view MRIs, and stand right at the operating table alongside Dr. Truex.  I found that if you have something you want to do or an experience you want to try, the Center for Career Development is a great place to make that happen."

Allison Brandt

Allison Brandt '13
Majors: Spanish/Sociology
Hometown: Pittsford, NY
See photos from GIV Day 2013.
"One of my favorite memories of my first year at Gettysburg was Gettysburg is  Volunteering (GIV) Day.  I joined a small group of fellow students and volunteered at a soup kitchen in town.  We helped organize and clean their supply of recently donated food and goods.

I have always loved dedicating time to my community by volunteering and I knew that I wanted to get involved on campus.  GIV Day allowed me to meet great new friends, but also learn about what a great resource the Center for Public Service (CPS) can be for providing volunteer opportunities.  I am still friends with some of the people I met that day and absolutely love being involved with CPS to this day."

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."