HELLO wonderful trippees!!!
I’m Doug Phipps ’17. Nice to meet you! I’m directing the Trips program this year with Apoorva Dixit ’17. This program has brought me immense personal growth, offered me mountainous (pun intended) challenges, and introduced me to special people. I can’t promise any particular Trips experience for you, but I do promise you that our Directorate has worked tirelessly to allow Trips 2017 to provide individuals from every socioeconomic, racial, and outdoor background the capacity to meet trustworthy mentors, learn about yourselves and your classmates, and grow through the inevitably nerve-wracking and exciting experience of entering college. Over the next few paragraphs, I will try to synthesize my experience into a narrative that can be of service to you on, before, and after Trips, but always keep in the back of your head that telling stories such as this will leave out important details and perspectives, and that my experience is twice as complex as I make it out to be here, and it certainly is not representative of a “typical” Trips experience, which does not exist (more on that later).
My story begins in the car on the way to campus for my First-Year Trip, as I frantically scanned a free eBook on first impressions, eager and nervous to meet my classmates. Then I got to campus, and everyone was awkwardly meandering about Robo Lawn. I stood around for a few minutes, quiet. Then I realized that everyone was in on this awkward first-college-experience thing too; others might not have been skimming eBooks on first impression, but they were all handling with the pressure of meeting more than 100 classmates in their own ways. I began introducing myself to people on the lawn. I met one person who later became my best friend, and also a lot of random people I never talked to again. Then I met my trip, with whom I never really clicked – we went to a cabin for a couple of days and it was pretty fun, but nothing to write home about. Then I got to the Lodge with my whole Trips section, and I felt this energy of confidence and capacity to do anything, which concluded with a sunrise hike of Mount Moosilauke – the longest hike I’d probably ever done, and it started at 3 AM.
So, you see, even though I adore the Trips program more than I do almost anything else, I’ve had plenty of ups, downs, and middles with it; on my own First-Year Trip I felt anxiety coming to campus, felt on top of the world after sunrise hiking Mount Moosilauke, and felt the lukewarm awkwardness of hanging out in a cabin with some strangers. As a Trip Leader, Outreach Coordinator, and Director, I have felt a similar variety of these peaks and valleys. Trips has hit some expectations, exceeded many others, and fell well short of still others. The only recommendation I would offer to you as you prepare to go on Trips and enter Dartmouth is to disavow yourself of any specific beliefs of what Trips and College should be like. Many proudly say, “College is the best four years of your life!” Others tell you they were stuck in the library all four years. Others say they hated college and suffered abuse at the hands of their peers. You can’t predict your experience based on those of others, and I promise that it’s much more fulfilling to be aware of the world currently around you and to view each moment as a brand-new opportunity to live your life than to try to anticipate that which you can’t anticipate.
We’re looking forward to meeting you in just over a month!! We are really passionate about making your experience on Trips the best it can possibly be, so if you have ANY questions, suggestions, hesitations, or thoughts of any kind, please email DOC.Trips@dartmouth.edu. We are excited to talk to you.
Meet you all soon!
If you’re interested in reading more about our goals for Trips this year or my own experience with Trips, feel free to read my op-ed piece in The Dartmouth, Dartmouth’s campus newspaper. It offers a bit more context for my experience with Trips and gives you a sense of our goals within the Trips program this year.