Note: This post is part of the “Voices of Trips” series, featuring the individual experiences and perspectives of current Dartmouth undergraduates regarding DOC First-Year Trips. Check out the introduction to the series here.
The First (swim) Test
I’m going to start this post honestly and openly, because, well, you don’t know me. The first thing you should know about me, though, is that I am an atrocious swimmer. It’s not that I can’t swim — the very fact that I am alive today, having
been to numerous water parks and public pools with puddles of standing water teeming with bacteria as a child, is a testament to both my unimpaired immune system and my buoyancy. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, and you’re absolutely right — my parents are indeed very proud.
But I’m not a graceful swimmer by any means. I don’t know how to do the freestyle or whatever they call it (I used to think “freestyle” meant “open to interpretation,” and my favorite interpretation was getting out of the pool), and butterflies would all die if you put them in a pool of chlorinated water. I also can’t seem to master the art of breathing underwater. Whenever teachers or coaches would try to teach me how to breathe — move my head to the side and open my mouth and inhale while I moved my arms like so and, DON’T FORGET, kick my legs about in a fashion that wouldmove me FORWARD — I would just get overwhelmed and end up flopping around, swallowing copious amounts of water (and, on one particularly memorable occasion, a used Band-Aid).
Anyway, fast forward to senior year, when I literally peed in my pants on more than one occasion with excitement after receiving my acceptance letter. OH MY GOSH I LOVE DARTMOUTH EVERYTHING IS GREAT I HAVE NEVER SLEPT OUTDOORS BUT I SHOULD LEARN HOW TO EAT TREE BARK AND WASH IT DOWN WITH PURE, UNADULTERATED FUN BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT EVERYONE AT DARTMOUTH DOES! SHOOT! I have to pass a swim test to graduate? I’M GOING TO FAIL COLLEGE AAAAAAAH!
A few weeks later, I wisely signed up for flatwater kayaking, one of the few trips that would require me to pass the swim test BEFORE we embarked. On my entire plane and bus rides, I was trying to figure out what I would do instead of participating in Trips because I was surely going to fail the swim test and be banished to a dungeon where they keep therest of the no-good landlubbers. Long story short, I arrived late and ended up taking the test all by myself, which was a fortuitous coincidence because, otherwise, my awesome doggy paddling skills would have put everyone else to shame. TO SHAME!
You guys, IT WASN’T BAD. I swam slowly. The lifeguards were really nice, and there were like seven of them gathered around the pool making sure that I didn’t die a long, horrible, watery death! It was one lap, which is about one-third of the number of laps that I can do before my body breaks down and my limbs begin defecting from my body and floating downstream. But YOU GUYS. The moral of the story is that, if I can do it, anyone can! You, too can pass the swim test.
The moral of the story is that, if I can do it, anyone can! You, too can pass the swim test.
Just remember, every person who graduates from Dartmouth will know how to swim. The Ivy League is just one of the 20,000 leagues under the sea (LOL jokez, I’m an English major). Swim well, my little ducklings (guppies? Tadpoles? Octopus babies?), and I will see you in the fall!