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.
You’re So Close…
What, is it just a few days away now? I can’t believe it—you will hear this over and over again, but you are so incredibly lucky. Now all of us 13s, 14s, and 15s are the most jealous people you will ever meet because we know what you are about to go through, and we loved it, miss it, and will never forget it. We are bursting with excitement to welcome you to Dartmouth through DOC Trips!
Now on this blog there are a lot of stories describing how many of us felt leading up to our DOC Trip and how we felt coming out the other end as we returned to Robinson Hall. Many of us returned to campus with fantastic friends, a few bandanas perhaps, and a confidence and enthusiasm that was just waiting to be released from inside of us. All that I want to tell you however is a little bit about my own first-year trip without spoiling anything for you!
Anna, Andrea, Jessica, Hannah, Jonathan, Amit, J, Cote, Sam, Ben, Emily, and I all trekked up to the 2nd College Grant one beautiful September day as the first canoeing trip of the 2009 – A192!!! I believe it was right as we put the canoes in the water that Jessica became the “cheese queen” of sorts. You will hopefully fall in love with a lot of things during trips, but the brick of fresh Cabot Cheese that each trip is supplied with from the start of their walk in the woods is often the first seductress of the journey.
Jessica fell prey very quickly, and nursed that weighty block for most of the trip. As we glided across the water in the beautiful grant, Anna, Andrea, Hannah, J and I led the 12 of us in many rousing (read: nauseating) renditions of any song that we could think of while remaining solidly grounded in a Disney repertoire. “Party in the USA” was the big song then, so that naturally became a recurring theme as well.
Our first night was enchanting. After swimming in the calm and cold river for a few hours or so, we huddled around our trangia’s (you’ll understand very soon) and learned about each other’s lives: we had performers, scientists, engineers, adopted students, students in committed relationships, New Yorkers, Mainers, Ohioans, and so much more.
Sam, Jonathan and Cote continued the evening with some very competitive Texas Hold-Em and Blackjack while Hannah, Andrea, J and Amit proved to be incredible birdies and perches (you will want to be the birdie, trust me). We slept on an abandoned air -trip under a never-ending sky of stars on the clearest night I can remember with only a few mosquito bites as battle wounds.
One morning we became entrenched in fog which almost engulfed Hannah and Jessica, who inexplicably found paddling near the rest of us to be much harder than performing and singing songs in front of huge audiences at Dartmouth as they do now with their respective a cappella groups. Yeah…we probably should not have put them in the same boat in retrospect. (Like I said, fantastic friends can make jokes like that. Right?)
Sam and I also shared a canoe at one point, and we were without a doubt the strongest canoeing pair to have ever originated at Dartmouth College. We were so good that at the end of our trip, Ben ’10 and Emily ‘12, our fearless trip leaders, presented us each with medals and awards that said, “Good Canoers” (sort of like the Dundies, I suppose), and we didn’t even mind that the rest of our trip got identical awards clearly out of pity (the truth will be our little secret!). Sam and I loved laughing about our trip when we were roommates together in Washington D.C. the following summer before sophomore year.
Ah, there is so much more that I wish I could tell you, but most of it you’ll just have to experience for yourself- this was meant to be just a flavor of what DOC Trips can be like. You can meet people whom you’ll always have this special bond with, and no one can ever take that away from you (as silly as that sounds, it’s true!). You’ll run into them around campus throughout your four years, you’ll have meals with them, and you’ll always be able to say, “that’s my trippee!”
One piece of advice: say yes to everything (okay, most things). Obviously be safe and smart about it, but say yes to everything. You’re only a freshman at Dartmouth once (surprise!), and it’s silly to say no to what might be some of the most memorable experiences you’ll ever have…I loved and miss it, and now I am so jealous that you’re just beginning.
Welcome home, 16s & I’ll see you out there!