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 My Own Experience
DOC First-Year Trips has an extensive history in my family, as both my parents (both ‘83s) and my brother (a ’13) went on a DOC Trip when they were freshmen at Dartmouth, and my dad even led a fishing trip during his senior year at Dartmouth.
But what was my own First-Year Trip experience like? Let me first say that I absolutely, without a doubt, LOVED my time during my trip – no question about it. However, I have not always felt this way about DOC Trips; in fact, for a long time before my trip started, I was quite nervous. It was the healthy kind of nervous that a lot of people feel before starting something new, but I was nonetheless anxious about meeting new people, sleeping in a new environment, and being away from home.
This anxiety, though, was rivaled by an intense excitement and a raring-to-go feeling that just wouldn’t quit. I had completed a two-week backpacking/rock-climbing Outward Bound course the previous summer, so what should I have to fear? When the time came to get all my gear together, I got together all of my wool socks, synthetic underwear, and Nalgene bottles and hopped in my mom’s car to catch the Dartmouth Coach on its way to Hanover.
Yet soon after I got in the car, I encountered my first roadblock. Normally a very outgoing and friendly person, I found that I simply did not want to get out of my mom’s car until the very last minute, because I wanted to stay as far away as possible from potentially awkward encounters with other Dartmouth students.
Sounds very much eighth-grade of me, but I actually thought DOC Trips would be a time when the gung-ho Dartmouth kids could be weird and “crunchy” in the woods – something I was not very excited about. But once I got on the bus, I knew these feelings were completely unjustified and irrational. On the bus, I had an awesome, unexpectedly meaningful conversation with another incoming ‘15 in which we both aired our apprehensions and concerns with what we were getting ourselves into. Things were looking up.
And when the bus pulled into campus, I was certain that my fears were completely unjustified. As unbelievably excited older Dartmouth students decked out in ridiculous tutus and neon spandex greeted us, I finally was certain that Dartmouth was the right school for me.
From that moment on, DOC Trips was a blur of excitement that continuously served as a reminder as to why I wanted to be a Dartmouth student. Sure, most of my time in trips was spend hiking in the beautiful outdoors, but I’ll always remember my First-Year Trips experience as a time when I met some of the coolest people I know, in addition to getting extremely pumped up to spend four years at Dartmouth.
So get excited for DOC Trips! Although it may seem slightly strange at first, your time spent in Dartmouth’s outdoors will be incredibly rewarding!