10 Pieces of Advice from an Upperclassman to a First-Year

Noelle Zimmerman advises first-years to participate in field day, which occurs on Stine Lake Photo courtesy of Gettysburg College

Noelle Zimmerman advises first-years to get outside and explore campus
Photo courtesy of Gettysburg College

By Noelle Zimmerman, Staff Writer

It is the moment you have all been waiting for. It is time for you to leave the place that you have called home for so many years and dive into the great unknown. We have all been there, and at the end of the day it simply is not possible to explain what to expect. Although upperclassmen were in your shoes just a few short years ago, they definitely remember cringe-worthy and embarrassing moments that could have been avoided. There are also many things that we wish we would have known at the time.

  1. Embrace your freshness. No matter how hard you try to act and look like you may know what you are doing, you simply do not. There is no shame in being clueless; your first year in college is filled with excitement and new things. Do not be ashamed of how lost you may be for the first few months.
  2. Be open to everyone. This is not high school any more, cliques are not really a thing. At Gettysburg, we get to know people based off who they are and not who they hang out with.
  3. Go experience campus. Even if you simply get a group of new friends to walk around campus and explore, there is always something fun or interesting going on that you do not want to miss.
  4. Text or call your family! Orientation week is a rush of fun and excitement, but it will make you so exhausted at the end of the day. Be sure to contact your family members and let them know that you are doing well and you miss them.
  5. Do not be afraid to ask upperclassmen any questions you may have. We want to welcome you all onto campus in the best way possible and show you how great Gettysburg truly is!
  6. Go to field day! I cannot emphasize this enough. Some people thought they were “too cool” to go to field day, however it was one of my favorite days ever. After field day, you will understand how seriously we take pride in our residence halls. (Shout out to Paul Hall for winning last year, #westquadbestquad.)
  7. LEAVE YOUR DOOR OPEN. Of course only when you are in the room. Also, be sure to visit other rooms with their doors open. Last year, my floor (Rice 2) was the closest floor on campus. We became so close because most people left their doors open the first few weeks of school which allowed for all of us to become homies. Throughout the year, so many of us would randomly hang out in the hallway for hours talking and making plans together. Floor fams are forever.
  8. Spend your time wisely. You have all year long to decorate your room. You also have the whole year to show off your makeup skills or perfectly coif your hair. Also, everyone is concerned about what their reputation could become so they most likely will not notice how fire your outfit is. Utilize the time you have now to enjoy everything before classes start.
  9. Prepare to expand your knowledge. This is a liberal arts school, some of the classes you take may seem irrelevant to your major. However, you will find that many of the things you learn are super cool and can be used in your other classes.
  10. Take a deep breath. Your first year in college could easily be your best year. You are going to make so many friends while learning so much about life, and even about yourself. Slow it down and enjoy being a newbie.
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Author: Noelle Zimmerman

Noelle Zimmerman '20 is looking to major in Organizational Management Studies. She is a member of the softball team, and she also works for campus recreation. She just moved from the suburbs to downtown Philadelphia, and can't wait to explore the city.

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