When I was asked to write a reflection on helping during Move-In day and experiencing Orientation as an alumni, I needed a minute to think what I would even write.
I always wanted to take a day off work to help, but never remembered in time.
Last month I was sitting in my cubicle, opened the internet and saw the Orientation countdown was at two weeks (yes, the Gettysburg.edu website still remains my homepage). I immediately emailed the alumni department, and requested that day from work.
Looking back, it felt much like my first-year move-in day with a twist.
I arrived expecting not to know many people and was nervous about finding my way. This time, however, I was coming home, a place that the First-Year students will call home for the next four years.
The nervousness vanished immediately when move-in started with a scene that definitely surprised me during my own move in – a sea of Orange converging on the line of cars pulled up on West Lincoln Ave and the smiles on the first-year students (I obviously requested the Paul, Rice, and Stine quad to check out my room in Rice). The best part was seeing the utterly surprised faces of the parents learning they wouldn’t have to help at all; my dad told me he still remembers pulling up and having the car emptied within minutes!
Sure, I woke up an hour earlier than normal to, drove an hour and a half from Baltimore, sweated a lot, and lifted a lot with my back, but I had a conversation with one parent that inspired me to try to help out at move-in day from now on. A family pulled up around 11am, after driving from Massachusetts that morning. They looked like they had a heck of a journey from New England. A few seniors and I walked up to their PACKED minivan and the dad asked me what year I was. When I told him I graduated almost five years ago, his eyes lit up and he said, “I think my son is going to like it here.”
In that moment I realized why I wanted to be a part of move-in day. From the moment you arrive as a first-year, you and your family instantly become part of the fantastic Gettysburg College community. Not only are you apart of it your first day, but for the rest of your life after your walk back through Pennsylvania Hall.
by Colin Gilmore ’10