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.
Making the Right Choice
I’m Winnie Yoe and I’m a ’14 (sophomore) from Hong Kong. I went on moderate hiking for my DOC trip! My cousin is a member of the Class of 2011 and he highly recommended that I sign up for a trip because that was how he met some really cool people he wouldn’t have become friends otherwise. I took his advice because I was very nervous about meeting new people and going to school in a different country, especially one that I have never visited!
From the day I got my trip assignment to the day I actually went on my trip, I was worried about almost every possible thing. I was scared that I would miss packing something, I was scared that it would be a problem not having non-cotton clothing, I was scared of being the slow trippee that everyone has to wait on when hiking, I was scared that my trippees would dislike me, I even ran around my apartment in hiking boots all day fearing they are not broken in – it was silly.
My trip experience turns out be very different from what I had expected. I had never been on a hiking trip that lasted that long but it was not that bad after all! Yes, I did fall once; and yes, I was really cold one night; and yes, I got blisters on my feet; and yes, I got sick at the Lodj and missed out on an amazing talk by an upperclassmen, but those weren’t things I remembered the most about DOC Trips.
What I really recall from my trip was designing and making the badass spray painted neon pink shark tank top that everyone on my hiking trip has; the through-hiker we met who had been hiking for months and postponing going home till after thanksgiving because of delayed schedule; and not to mention climbing up a fire tower for the very first time – the view was breathtaking!
Unlike what I had hoped for, my trippees and I didn’t end up being best friends once we returned to campus, but it was interesting to compare who they were on trips and who they are now. My trip leaders and I were not the closest and we did not have that many reunions, but they took good care of us during DOC Trips, they made us food, and they even carried all the heavy equipment.
Interestingly, DOC First-Year Trips also gave me insights into to challenges I later faced at Dartmouth, such as overcoming my intimidation with strangers, adjusting to different interaction styles between people, and figuring out my identity in a predominantly white community.
Even though I may not have the picture-perfect DOC Trips experience, going on a First-Year Trip did make me feel at home. One of the most wonderful things about your trip is that no matter who you are or where you’re from, you will feel welcomed and you will always find someone — be it a fellow trippee or an upperclassman that you can identify with. I recall thinking at the Lodj – “yes, I have made the right choice to come to Dartmouth.”
Indeed, this impression of Dartmouth that I got from my First-Year Trip is idealized, but the fact that I felt so welcomed and accepted during my DOC Trip motivates me to search for the same sense of welcome at Dartmouth and to form communities of my own.
I recall thinking at the [Moosilauke Ravine] Lodj (where DOC Trips end): “Yes, I have made the right choice to come to Dartmouth.”
Another amazing thing about DOC First-Year Trips is its long history. Regardless of your personal experience, DOC Trips is a common memory shared by so many Dartmouth students. It is a great conversation starting point, and sometimes, that is how important relationships start!
So, do sign up for a DOC First-Year Trip! It’s a simple decision but one that would influence your Dartmouth experience in surprising ways!