While taking in all the events in our nation and institution’s recent history, my first thought of putting together a magazine at the end of 2020 was “Where do I begin?” We’re enduring a pandemic that set our college’s plan for normal instruction into disarray; not to mention the backdrop of the approaching election and recent social uproar for justice on many fronts. I’d be lying (and certainly would not be alone) if I denied that my brain is clustered with crisis upon crisis—crises that are only further compounded by an encroaching sense of uncertainty. So, back to the question: Where do I begin? Well, in light of all this, my mind went to the most basic, most necessary concept possible to ground our magazine—something we all need to return to and document at this moment in time: humanity.
As you read this edition of The Gettysburgian Magazine, I challenge you to think of this: Why is it that we fill our lives with others’ stories? Why do we watch TV shows and movies, read books, endlessly scroll on social media, and read the news? Perhaps we consume stories to learn something new. Maybe we aim to fulfill a destiny outside of ourselves. Or, maybe it is to remain aware of events beyond our personal sphere.
Well, how about this: stories inform, inspire, and engage. They engage a specific part of the brain that activates a powerful emotional response. Rather than compensating for inaction, they’re a call to action (see “Instagram Amplifies Gettysburgian’s Stories” in Features); they help us connect with others and alert us to perspectives that we otherwise never knew (see “The Predicament of COVID-19: Tales from My Family’s Local Small Business” in Opinions). Stories make us aware of decisions, factors, and events outside of our personal bubbles that provide context as to how we are each impacted (see “A Comprehensive Overview of Gettysburg College’s COVID-19 Response: From Reopening to De-densification” in News). At the heart of it, that’s the power of storytelling. And that’s why this magazine exists—in a brand new digital format: to inspire, engage, and inform.
In this edition, we kindly ask you to interact with your screens, using the very medium with which we take Zoom meetings, send emails, and complete inordinate amounts of work until our eyes burn from the blue light (see “A Day in the Life of a Remote Student” in Features). We appreciate your patience as we temporarily pause from our print capabilities.
Okay. Go ahead. Read and take it all in. Breathe deeply, scroll slowly, and soak in these stories. Allow them to move you—physically and emotionally. Take them in with the context of the current events, and as you consume our rendering of yesterday’s history, allow it to press you forward, to move you to do your part in realizing a better future for humanity tomorrow.
Phoebe Doscher, Magazine Editor