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.
Separation Anxiety: Trips Without My Twin
Let me be the first to reassure you that the anxiety you may have coming to college because of the distance from home will quickly dissipate once you meet your trippees – the other freshmen on your trip. You have no idea the anxiety I felt coming into the First-Year Trips program.
I am a twin, so my level of attachment to my brother and home itself was extremely high. We did almost everything together, so this was truly a giant leap for me. I went from having a twin brother who knew everything about me to meeting a group of 12 people who knew nothing of my unparalleled humor and stylishly good looks 🙂
No longer did I have someone who I could awkwardly stand with and talk to about how awkward it was. However, if I can get through those first few moments of DOC Trips, I know you all can too. Through the music playing and the mingling going on, I met someone on my hiking trip and hung out with them until we met another ’14 who would also be on our trip…and the group grew and grew.
So, I want to reassure you, don’t worry at all. I was nearly attached at the hip with my twin and if I made it through that abrupt change in my life, I know you all will make friends instantly. Just keep in mind that EVERYONE is in the same position. You can even talk about how awkward it is – find humor in the small things.
Now that my hiking trip had met each other, the true test laid ahead – the actual hike. First things first: I’ve never been hiking. I have lived in the city all my life. We don’t hike at all and as a family, sunny beaches sound better than the crisp air of the wilderness.
But I knew that the majority of the incoming class participates in DOC Trips, so I knew I just had to! When you get back to campus after First Year Trips, it’s a primary topic of conversation and there is a definite link between floor-mates and other recently bonded friend groups for the first few weeks of the school year.
But I had never hiked before and I want to warn you that this sort of thing may be tough. Now that’s out of the way, I want you to know that DOC Trips is where I had the chance to experience the outdoors. If I was to do it once in my life, I figured this would be the best time to do it – with my new classmates, going through the exact same transition in their life as I was.
So, don’t worry. Many of the incoming students will never have hiked in their lives. You’re not alone. Fret not.
After I realized I could actually hike, it was time to learn about Dartmouth and see how I could last on my own – without my twin and without my family. You realize everyone there is going through the exact same thing so you slowly get increasingly more comfortable. Your Trip Leaders will try to find similarities among all the trippees, but don’t worry — you can’t really force connections, they will happen naturally. But be ready to share information about your life and background (of course nothing too sensitive or uncomfortable) but embarrassing and funny stories are great.
Don’t worry…many of the incoming students will have never hiked in their lives…you are not alone…
One thing I missed as a trippee, but took advantage my sophomore year as a Trip Leader was the sunrise hike up Mt. Moosilauke the morning before we got back to campus. Some trips may hike up Mt. Moosilauke as part of their route, but there’s nothing as picturesque as seeing the sun peak up above the horizon. Yes, we had to wake up early, but it was completely worth it. I absolutely wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.
As a “trippee” the whole First Year Trips Program was a growth experience – I found out that I could handle the distance away from my twin brother and my family. I found that I could open up without him.
You may find yourself through Trips…..but you may already know yourself. I don’t wish to portray the program like it’s intended purpose is to test your limits. It can happen naturally, but the program is designed to be unbelievably fun! It’s your first week in college, which means all play & no work!
I loved my experience as a trippee and couldn’t wait to be a Trip Leader as a sophomore. I can honestly and wholeheartedly say that my most memorable moment as a Trip Leader was when our trippees finished the hike on the second day and seeing the excitement on their faces when we reached our luxurious two-story cabin.
We shared stories, played games and had a lot of fun. In doing so, we all discovered the true meaning of DOC Trips — to show that regardless of your background, you can find something (even something small) in common with a fellow freshmen or upperclassmen student.