Trips, to me, is Dartmouth’s most joyful, beautiful, fun, challenging, epic tradition. It is a tradition in that it has been an institution for 80 years now. Yet it defies the definition of a tradition in that every year, Trips changes, evolves, and interacts with each student in a different way. I want to share what Trips has meant to me over the years.
Year One: I was on I35 – Hiking 3. In my journal on the plane up to Hanover for my Trip (9/4/13) I wrote: “I’m ready for a challenge and ready for something new and exciting. Dartmouth here I come!!” I laugh at this now because I had NO IDEA what I was truly ready or not ready for, but Trips was certainly something new, exciting, and challenging. Coming into Dartmouth, one of my biggest insecrities was that I was waitlisted. I promised myself that I wouldn’t share this with anyone because I didn’t want people to think that I didn’t deserve to be at Dartmouth. Within the few days of getting to know each other, I shamelessly told my trip about my rocky college journey and knew that I was crazy to think I would be judged for it. On the last day, my trip climbed Mount Moosilauke – Dartmouth’s beautiful, grand mountain. I was so happy and grateful to be in such a gorgeous place with such incredible people who I felt like I could trust and rely on.
Year Two: I was a trip leader on A104 – Mountain Biking. Let me preface this by saying that Freshman year, I believed my trip leaders were angels on earth – they were skilled, knowledgeable, confident and competent. As a trip leader, I realized that myself and all the other trip leaders were very much just human. However, even though I was not the most skilled and I didn’t know everything there was to know about Dartmouth, I still had experiences and advice to share. Trips continued to challenge me and push me beyond my comfort zone. Not only was I challenged to embrace the adrenaline and thrill of mountain biking, but I was challenged as a role model and leader. Being a trip leader allowed me to reflect on the past year and give advice to incoming students. I urge you all – ask your trip leaders and croolings the real questions. They don’t have all the answers but they each have a Dartmouth story to share.
Year Three: The day after my last final exam of sophomore summer I departed on trip H59 – Hiking 4 Franconia Ridge. After four terms in a row, I was exhausted and feeling ready for my off term. Yet after Trips, I bawled leaving Dartmouth. My trippees were so inspirational and unique. Each one taught me something and reminded me that every Dartmouth student is brilliant and wonderful in their own way. The hike was the most glorious time in the outdoors that I could have ever asked for. The singing and dancing and playing and walking and laughing were exactly what I needed. And I am so grateful to Trips for that.
Year Four: When a friend asked me if I was going to apply to volunteer for Trips for a final year, I responded to them: “I don’t know what Dartmouth is to me without Trips.” Trips is my Dartmouth foundation. Trips is the spark that keeps my flaming love for Dartmouth alive. Trips is what has allowed me to find close friends in every class year, to love the White Mountains, and to call Dartmouth home.
I cannot promise that Trips will mean as much to you as it does to me. However, I can promise you that – if you are open minded – you will learn something about Dartmouth, something about the individuals around you, and something about yourself on this five day adventure. Can’t wait to see you out there.