It’s hard to put my finger on the moment when I fell in love with Trips. Maybe it was sometime in the middle of my first night in the woods, when I stayed up for hours laughing with friends who had been strangers just a day before. Maybe it came during an afternoon of dancing and haphazard field games on the front lawn of the Lodge. Or, more likely, discovering what made Trips special was a process—a sweaty, 5-day process, at times masked by the discomfort of sleeping on a foam mat, making awkward introductions, and interacting with overwhelmingly outgoing upperclassmen in costume.
Unlike the smell of body odor and Trangia smoke in my favorite non-cotton T-shirt, the magic of Trips wasn’t always plainly recognizable.
But I soon learned that approximately a thousand other 18s shared my concerns. Whether it’s academics, fitting into a new social scene, or simply making the first friendships of college sans deodorant, every incoming freshman has something to be nervous about. The beauty of Trips is that it distills Dartmouth into its most wholesome, fun-loving form and helps to put us on even ground.
Why feel nervous about impressing your trippees when you’re in the middle of an impromptu dance party in the rain? About keeping up academically, when the main task at hand is melting a block of Cabot cheese into a pot of Annie’s Mac? I don’t mean to say that Trips will rid you of your every college-related fear, but I hope you’ll notice in these moments of joy and camaraderie that you already have a community, and a better understanding of the place that will become your home for the next four years.
So if you find yourself feeling as nervous as I was in those first moments on the Robo lawn, remind yourself that there are 1200 other Dartmouth freshmen in the exact same boat. Remember that once you look beyond the blisters and the moments of social unease, each one of you will find a reason to appreciate this adventure.
And don’t forget to throw your T-shirt in the wash the second you get back to campus.
Welcome home, 20s!