This post is a special introduction to this year’s Voices of Trips series, written by our wonderful Trips Director, Josh Cetron ’16.
An All-Inclusive “Welcome Home”
Spring is an exciting time in the Trips universe—we’ve been booking campsites and campus spaces for August and September, our Trip Leader trainings are in full swing, and now registration for Trips 2016 has officially opened! My anticipation for the fall builds with each new student that registers for Trips. Trippees, you are the life of this program, and it gives me chills of the best kind of nervous excitement to see that you are all really coming now, that we’re really going to get to meet you in the fall when your journeys finally bring you to Robo lawn.
Trippees—incoming students—newest members of the Dartmouth family: you are why we do this. All of you. If there is one thing I want you to take away from the Trips experience, it is that the Dartmouth community is deeply grateful to have you here. Every one of you makes this College better, and Trips is my favorite way that we as a community get to express our thanks that you are joining us and our genuine excitement that we have the chance to get to know you. And that’s really what makes Trips special for me: Trips is students giving their fellow students an all-inclusive “Welcome Home.” Your Trip Leaders sincerely cannot wait to spend five days hanging out with you in Hanover, in the outdoors, and at the Lodge. Students from all over campus come together to make Trips happen—not because they’re supposed to or because they have to, but because they really, really want to. We want to know what you’re excited about, what you’re nervous about, and what makes you tick. We want to hear your stories and make new ones with you. And we get to do all of this in one of the most beautiful places on earth: the New Hampshire outdoors.
I have always loved the fact that Trips makes it possible for people of any level of comfort or experience to get to know the outdoors that surround Dartmouth. I sometimes feel like I’ve spent too many beautiful spring afternoons cooped up inside, or that I should’ve gone snowshoeing on more crisp winter mornings rather than stay in for a hot cup of cocoa. But being involved with Trips during my time at Dartmouth has given me the opportunity to appreciate the peace and serenity of being in nature. To me, the outdoors is the perfect setting for an introduction to college because it is free of pretenses. Coming up to Dartmouth from Atlanta for my own First-Year Trip four years ago, I was excited to meet new people but nervous about how well I would fit in with them, with the “Dartmouth culture.” But those expectations and worries melted away as we hiked through the White Mountains. Being out in the woods together with my Trip Leaders and my Trippees—telling jokes under our tarps in our sleeping bags, eating blocks of Cabot cheese on the summit of Mount Moosilauke—I realized that “Dartmouth culture” could be whatever I wanted it to be. We were a totally random group of Dartmouth students, and yet by spending just a few days in the open, honest outdoors, we had learned to laugh together, gotten to know each other, and made each other feel welcome.
There is no one right way to do Dartmouth, and there is no one right way to do Trips. Every one of you will have a unique Trips experience, and that is exactly what I think makes this program so special. You will all make your own memories and stories, all of which will enrich our community and bring new life to this campus to kick off the fall term. So, as you head off into summer and your arrival to Dartmouth gets closer, just remember how incredibly excited we are that you’re coming. The Granite of New Hampshire awaits you!