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In late June, an email with a subject line reading "First-Year Trips - Welcome and Registration Materials" made its way into my inbox, and after quickly scanning its contents and filling out an attached survey for placement into a trip section, I still didn't know what to expect of it. "What even is a First-Year Trip?" I asked myself, anxious to discover the answer a week before the start of fall term. In the midst of the anticipation leading up to my arrival on campus and my subsequent departure into the wilderness, I failed to expect that Trips would immerse me in both campus culture and community nearly as much as it did. This is my First-Year Trips experience with D751: Cabin Camping and Performing Arts!

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The Class of 1966 Lodge: our home for two of the four days

To answer my previous question of what exactly a First-Year Trip is, it is a four-day excursion into the surrounding area of the Upper Valley, acting as a pre-orientation event hosted by the Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC) for first-year students. Whether you are an indoors or outdoors person, First-Year Trips is the perfect opportunity to get acquainted with Dartmouth as a whole. 

The first two days of Trips were dedicated to my trip group, D751, settling into our temporary home, the Class of 1966 Lodge by Appalachian Trail, and getting to know our fellow trip members (trippees) and trip leaders. Above cooking Annie's Mac and pizzas with a Trangia stove on the lawn outside the cabin and hiking a mile through the forest for water on the first night, I loved getting to bond with my group through a shared passion for music and the arts–both of which we explored the following day. Improv and dance workshops filled our afternoon schedule the next day as we delved into the artistry of Casual Thursday (one of Dartmouth's comedy improv groups) and Sheba (a hip-hop dance group on campus). Although both experiences were completely out of my comfort zone, I had so much fun trying something new and familiarizing myself with a minuscule fraction of the performing arts opportunities available to students. 

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Us during the Sheba dance workshop!

On the final two days of Trips, we moved out of the Class of 1966 Lodge and migrated by bus to the Dartmouth Skiway (otherwise known as the Sklodj). There, we busied ourselves by playing Frisbee, making friendship bracelets, and learning a traditional Dartmouth dance called "The Salty Dog Rag." Along with getting a freshly-cooked four-course meal after eating pita bread and peanut butter for lunch all days of the trip and having access to bathroom facilities (which were not included in our cabin), our stay at the Sklodj proved to be an eventful and exciting success. 

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D751 at the Sklodj before our journey back to campus on the last day of Trips

Big shoutout to Lucy Vitali, Tyler Lucca, Sam Jung, Lily Thornton, Aleksa Sotirov, and Joyce Li for making my First-Year Trip experience one to remember! And an even bigger shoutout to our trip leaders Julia Herman and Allison Zhuang for helping us all adjust to Dartmouth's new atmosphere and for acting as our stand-in parents for the duration of our trip. I couldn't be more thankful to have been placed with such a diverse, talented, and accepting group of people as Cabin Camping and Performing Arts. Dartmouth truly has something for everyone's interests, and First-Year Trips demonstrated that perfectly to me this fall.

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Group D751!

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