Opinion: 25 Things to Know to Thrive in Your First Semester at Gettysburg College

Accepted students and their families filled campus on Get Acquainted Day 2019 (Photo Mary Frasier/The Gettysburgian).

Accepted students and their families filled campus on Get Acquainted Day 2019 (Photo Mary Frasier/The Gettysburgian)

Compiled by The Gettysburgian’s Staff

  1. Figure out rush times at Servo.  Avoid them.
  1. Don’t put your name down for every email list at the Activities Fair… unless it’s The Gettysburgian’s list for potential writers.
  1. Jaeger Center is pronounced with a j instead of a y.  You can ask John Jaeger about it.
  1. Attend guest lectures.  If a department flew someone to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania just to talk to you, then the presentation is probably good.
  1. Join clubs.  We have a lot of them, and you’re sure to be interested in at least one.
  1. Visit your professors’ office hours.  They don’t bite, and a good rapport now will make excellent letters of recommendation easier for them to write later (and as we all know, relationships are inherently transactional).
  1. Don’t pick your major immediately.  You go to a small liberal arts college, so take advantage of it and find what motivates you.
  1. Use your dining dollars.  You paid for them!
  1. Get a job.  It’s a great way to get involved… and get paid.
  1. Volunteer.  Gettysburg has lots of great opportunities, so talk to someone at the Center for Public Service.
  1. Own your room.  Buy curtains, bring pictures, get a rug, find a cool lamp, whatever makes it feel like your space… do it.
  1. Bring shower shoes.  Please.
  1. Hang extra lights in your room.  Soft lighting is key.
  1. Find a cool spot to do homework.  You need a productive workspace.
  1. Talk to the Center for Global Education early.  Gettysburg is nice, but you need to go away. Starting early can help with planning courses.
  1. Bring a planner.  You’re about to have more free time than ever before, so use it wisely.  Four years is not that long.
  1. Don’t worry about seniority.  If you want to be an editor, captain, president, etc. then just do it.  Seniors are too busy anyway.
  1. Leave campus.  There are lots of great shops and restaurants in town, and you should definitely try a few of them out.
  1. Leave your door open.  Some of your best friends in college will be from your first-year residence hall.  You just have to meet them.
  1. Study with classmates.  It’s more fun that way, and they might teach you a thing or two.
  1. Visit the PLA for your class.  Sometimes they help you with your homework.  Usually they just give great advice on what courses to take, professors to know, and clubs to join.
  1. Do research.  It’s fun, it sometimes pays, and it helps you apply for jobs and graduate schools.
  1. Have fun.  Not too much fun.
  1. Don’t wait in line all day for Servo Thanksgiving.  They don’t run out of turkey—we promise.
  1. Write for the Gettysburgian!  We are looking for writers in all sections including News, Features, Sports, Opinions, and Arts & Entertainment.  Interested in getting involved behind the scenes? Join our staff as a Copy Editor or apply to be a Section Editor, Business Manager, Director of Photography, or PR Manager.
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Author: Joshua Wagner

Josh Wagner '19 is a chemistry and mathematics double major who enjoys bike rides on the battlefield and waving around a red pen as the Gettysburgian's Managing Opinions Editor. When not editing for the Gettysburgian, he can usually be found working in the College Life Office, helping students with calculus as a PLA, or studying in the library.

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