Trip Leader Profile: Jessica Ma ’16

Note: This post is part of the “Trip Leader Profile” series, which will introduce some of the student volunteers for DOC Trips 2014. To learn more about our great group of trip leaders, check out the introduction to the blog’s series here.

10 Questions for Jessica Ma ‘16

Jessica (right) is from Buffalo Grove, IL.

What DOC trip are you leading this fall?

Diamond Peaks – Hiking 1, Section E!

What DOC Trip did you go on?

Mist and Moosilauke – Hiking 3!

What are you studying?


3 words that describe your first year at Dartmouth?

Introspective, fluid, challenging.

Why are you excited for DOC First-Year Trips 2014?

Honestly, what isn’t there to be excited about for Trips? I think that the sheer fact that it is so competitive to be a part of First Year Trips (whether as a Croo member or a trip leader) shows the genuine energy that goes towards embracing the new class, and more importantly, the new members of the Dartmouth community. I suppose the word “community” is thrown around a lot these days, and to be honest, you will be a part of many different communities while you’re at Dartmouth. But, I’m excited to be able to help create that first community that you’ll come into, before you take on real Dartmouth.

What’s your favorite thing to eat on campus?

I really like getting a bunch of random stuff and pressing it all together in a quesadilla. I recently made one that had a spicy veggie burger (broken up into pieces), hummus, pesto, feta, spinach, and turkey. I thought it was really good. I’ve also had ones with hash browns and mozzarella cheese. Oooh and ones with salmon are good too. I don’t know, I think I just like using the panini press.

What has been the highlight of your time at Dartmouth thus far?

I’m currently in my sophomore summer, and it’s been pretty fantastic. It’s a two-lab term for me, so academically, it’s still pretty stressful, but I love the summer term itself! It’s such beautiful weather, and I’ve gone to a lot of places where I can jump off of high things and into water. Actually, my picture on this profile is from one of those trips! And I really like the general atmosphere of sophomore summer social life – it’s very open and carefree; people are always down to just hang out by a firepit, or walk to the golf course to stargaze, or get a late night milkshake and just sit on Collis porch.

What was the most important item you forgot to pack before coming to Dartmouth to move in?


What’s your ideal Saturday afternoon at Dartmouth?

This Saturday would be spring term. It’s a beautiful, sunny, 80 degrees outside. I just finished my finals on Friday evening, and my parents were coming to pick me up Saturday evening. After a picnic lunch on the green, I would play some pick up volleyball with random people (because my ideal Saturday afternoon would include Collis putting up the volleyball net on the green), and then sit around and chat for a bit. Collis would magically be open on the weekend for once, and I’d get a smoothie. Then, I’d spend a few hours in the jewelry studio (which would also miraculously be open on the weekends) because it’s literally the best stress reliever ever.

What piece of advice would you give to incoming freshman?

Never again in your life will you live in a small microcosm with such a high concentration of young people from vast backgrounds, with the same level of ambition, creativity, and enthusiasm for life.
So, take advantage of that and meet people. And not only meet them, but get to know people. Trust me, during orientation week, everyone will be meeting everyone, and you may find some people you click with and you become closer with. But, you’ll find that after a few weeks, people will have their friend groups, and you can’t just sit down with someone random in the dining hall. Even then, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone standing in line at Collis, or maybe someone who’s walking back from the LSC or Thayer at the same time as you. Or maybe, you have some mutual friends with someone, and you always see them and make small talk, but you think they’re funny – Blitz them and ask them for a meal! Don’t be afraid of being “awkward” because just the possibility of forming a new, genuine friendship outweighs the slight worry of someone thinking you’re “weird.” Trust me, some of the people who I can call my closest friends are people I met last term, or even just a few weeks ago.


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