Advice to Incoming First-Years

It’s the summer before your first year of college. People are probably offering countless tidbits about what to pack and what to expect and what to do. I found a lot of that information to be well-intentioned, but generic, so here are some Gettysburg-specific tips!

1. Read the digest emails.

Everyone always says to get involved, right? Well, even though the digest emails can be annoying when you get them twice a day, every day, they include a lot of information about things going on around campus that you otherwise might not know about.

2. Attend events outside of your area of study.

Try going to lectures and guest-speakers that are sponsored outside of subjects that you would typically go to. We go to a liberal arts school, so we have numerous unique opportunities to listen to some of the great minds of current times! Last year I was able to listen to one of the organizers of the Women’s March, internationally acclaimed artists, scientists making breakthroughs in animal behavior, and one of the original Little Rock Nine, among others. I would never have thought I would be interested in some of the lectures, but I decided to go anyway, and it was one of the best decisions of my first year. Also, there’s food at some if you’re ever craving cookies or pizza!

3. Go to the Activities Fair

There will be an Activities Fair on August 31st at 5 pm on Stine Lake. It can seem daunting to walk around a bunch of upperclassmen who are all trying to get you to join their clubs when you’ve only been on campus a week, but getting involved is crucial to your college career. I found some of my best friends in the clubs I joined, like the Newman Association and Art Alliance. PS—I’ll be rotating through those tables, so come say hi if you want to know a new friendly face!

4. Find the study spot that works best for you.

A lot of people assume that the library is where they’ll do their homework and studying. While it is a fantastic option, some people find somewhere else that is more productive for them. If it’s the afternoon, I like taking some work to the Ugly Mug because I get to take a walk and decompress and do homework in a setting that’s a little different than campus. The foyer area of the Science Center is another favorite. Don’t be afraid to try different places out and study somewhere that works the best for your own study habits!

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Going to college is an exciting time; you’re finally independent and away from home. That doesn't mean that you’re going to automatically know how to do everything, though. Do not be afraid to ask for help! There is an entire campus full of other students, professors, mentors, coaches, etc who are more than willing to help you acclimate to Gettysburg, whether it be specific to our campus or just general college/adult things. One of your soon-to-be RAs Julia Burgess ’20 strongly emphasizes how important this is, so take it from those who have been where you are!

Images via Giphy