Student Reflections on Their First-Year Experiences

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."

Fergan Imbert

Fergan Imbert '16

Major: Biology
Minor: Business
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Watch a video from the 2015 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 2015 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 2015.
"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.

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."