Student Perspectives: “What is the Gettysburg Student Experience to You?”

Compiled by Vince DiFonzo, Opinions Editor and Lead Copy Editor

 

Emily Heyler '26 (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

Emily Heyler ’26 (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

Emily Heyler ’26

Gettysburg has guided me on a path of new adventures and friendships. As a Gettysburg student from Honolulu, Hawaii, I found it hard to find my place on campus during the first semester because of homesickness—5,000 miles is not a short distance. However, new activities such as joining the Ultimate Frisbee team last semester and Sigma Sigma Sigma this semester have brought new friendships that I adore, and opportunities that I cherish. I have been able to meet some of the most genuine and fun loving people through student-led activities at Gettysburg, and these people are what makes up my Gettysburg student experience.

 

 

 

 

Jose Bocanegra '25 (Photo Eric Lippe/The Gettysburgian)

Jose Bocanegra ’25 (Photo Eric Lippe/The Gettysburgian)

Jose Bocanegra ’25

To me, the Gettysburg College experience is being able to call Gettysburg my home away from home. The small student body and campus allow me to feel more integrated into the community–I will often run into friends and acquaintances while going about my days, and it provides me a sense of comfort. Personally, one of the most beautiful aspects of living at Gettysburg is the visual scenery; observing our campus trees phase as the seasons pass, seeing the local squirrels hop across my paths to class, walking to the nearby watchtowers with my partner to watch the sunset; these are the events that make Gettysburg special to me.

 

 

 

 

Alfredo Roman Jordan '26 (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

Alfredo Roman Jordan ’26 (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

Alfredo Roman Jordan ’26

What stands out to me about the student experience at Gettysburg is how effortless it feels to get involved on campus. With a plethora of clubs and activities, there’s always something to be a part of, making it easy for anyone to find their niche. Moreover, the small class sizes and majors have been pivotal in personalizing my education. Instead of just being a number in a large lecture hall, I’ve had the privilege of forming meaningful relationships with my professors and peers. Every class feels like a close-knit community (shoutout to English 101!), enabling deep discussions and tailored learning experiences. This personalized approach not only fosters academic growth but also nurtures personal development. That’s what feels special about the Gettysburg student experience and I am scared we will lose that with the growing class sizes.

 

 

 

Maria Kardash '26 (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

Maria Kardash ’26 (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

Maria Kardash ’26

What’s fantastic about the Gettysburg community is its focus on cooperation and support. Whereas in other universities students with the same goal may view each other as adversaries, I’ve noticed that in Gettysburg, students with the same goal more so desire to work with one another with mutual support. Of course, some competition is always healthy and important, but the genuine support amongst students, professors, and other staff is really encouraging. It really helps unite the college when it is facing some controversies or issues. It is always so inspiring to see how some of our students are proactive and ready to stand up for their beliefs.

 

 

 

 

Brandon Fey '27 (Photo Eric Lippe/The Gettysburgian)

Brandon Fey ’27 (Photo Eric Lippe/The Gettysburgian)

Brandon Fey ’27

When I first enrolled in Gettysburg College, I knew that I wanted to expand upon my existing interests and explore new things I had not been exposed to before. After having been here for only about two and a half months, I am pleased with the amount of opportunities I have been offered despite being only a first-year student. Gettysburg College provides several programs and activities that pertain to a wide variety of interests. I have found my involvement as a writer for The Gettysburgian to have enabled me to connect closer with this campus and all it has to offer. By taking on assignments in this position, I have attended several events with guest speakers, on-campus exhibitions, and community traditions. I believe that the atmosphere at Gettysburg College encourages all proactive students to pursue their academic and social interests beyond the classroom and interact with students through mutual involvement. I look forward to furthering my involvement as I continue my career at this school.

 

 

Michael Woods '25 (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

Michael Woods ’25 (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

 

Michael Woods ’25

To me, the Gettysburg Experience is best defined by one word: opportunity. At every turn, students are given innumerable opportunities. In terms of academics, we have opportunities to diversify our schedules and take unique classes. In terms of extracurriculars, students can choose to pursue their interests through countless clubs and activities. My personal favorites have included the Student Senate and our weekly Pub Trivia competitions. The feeling of excitement that comes from a Thursday night Pub Trivia victory with your friends is truly amazing! The exceptional opportunities provided by the Gettysburg experience continue on during our summer and winter breaks. Last January, I took part in the Orlando Business Trek, in which students were able to travel to Florida and learn about the impactful business strategies of influential companies, including Disney and Universal. This experience was outstanding, and truly represents the immense opportunity available to Gettysburg students. 

 

This article originally appeared on pages 8 to 9 of the December 2023 edition of The Gettysburgian’s magazine.

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Author: Vincent DiFonzo

Vincent DiFonzo ’25 was the Opinions Editor and Lead Copy Editor for The Gettysburgian. He is an IGS international affairs and double history major with minors in political science and economics. On campus, Vince is an editor for the Gettysburg Social Science Review (GSSR) and Managing Editor of Ike's Anvil. Additionally, Vince loves traveling, geography, and discovering new music. Vince is currently studying abroad in Berlin.

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