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.
“Roughing It” and Finding Friends
The summer before freshmen year, as I opened up my trips letter to discover that I was on an intense hiking trip, I could not help but freak out. The closest thing to hiking I had experienced was a hill workout on my cross country team. My mom convinced me that I could not possibly survive something that strenuous and I subsequently called the DOC Trips office in tears.
Luckily, the director of trips understood my fears and switched me to a less strenuous hiking. For the remaining three weeks of summer, I took some time to prepare myself to go to a college where everyone was an intense hiker and loved the woods. Little did I realize that almost everyone on my trip was in the same boat, including my trip leaders.
Hiking, in my mind was going to be stressful and a test of endurance. I came to find out, that was not the point of trips. For most people it is going to be their first experience in the wilderness, “roughing” it in the outdoors with more Cabot cheese than is physically possible to consume. With that being said, I would not have traded my trip for anything in the world. A small part of me is glad that my fear got the best of me, because I ended up making connections with people that have lasted almost two years.
One of my best friends and now floor-mates at Dartmouth was the first person I interacted with on my DOC trip. And, even though my fearless trip leader has graduated, I still regularly talk to her and keep her updated via phone and email. My trip leader was like a big sister to me my entire first year of Dartmouth and was constantly around to grab coffee, go for walks, and help me out when I needed advice.
My experience proved to me that trips are more than a test of your “crunchiness” or athletic ability. They are an outdoor adventure that will help you to embrace Dartmouth and the friendships that come with it.