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During the summer before moving into Dartmouth, I received an email that encouraged us (as incoming students) to register for First-Year Trips, an element of the orientation program where we spend a few days outdoors that marks the transition into Dartmouth. On the Trips registration form, we preference which Trip type we want to do given the multitude of options that ranged from hiking (less strenuous, moderately strenuous, and strenuous) to cabin camping (a great amount of variety: cooking, meditation, lake, nature photography, jamming — just to name a few) to canoeing and kayaking to fly fishing to exploring the Upper Valley; I really loved how many options we are given as it attempts to suit every individual's comfort, interest, and abilities.

My Trip was mountain biking, which was not my first choice but was an option I had listed as my 2nd preferred choice given that I had biking experience, just not mountain biking specifically. I remember feeling shocked that I didn't get my first choice of hiking, but I was also reminded of the importance of keeping an open mind because it's not the Trip type that matters, but the people you meet and the friends you make along the way. 

With Trips being a student-led transition, each Trip type is further split into smaller groups and is led by two current Dartmouth students that we call "Trip leaders"; my Trip leaders were Maia (a '25) and Jimmy (a '24). Aside from the two Trip leaders, my group had six other fellow first-years that we call "Trippees": Corey, Evan, Lucinda, Lucy, Joaquin, and Saad. As I look back on Trips, I reflect on how thankful I am for my wonderful Trippees; it's crazy to think about how a few days spent together has led them to becoming some of my closest friends. After Trips ended, we had Trip reunion dinners every few weeks throughout fall term, which turned into weekly dinners of winter term — a highlight each week as we all continue to strengthen our relationships with one another and our Trippee bond. 

Thinking back on my transition into Dartmouth, I realize how influential and fundamental First-Year Trips was for me and how it's brought so many great individuals into my life. Fun Fact: Trips is also how I met Diana and Gavin (fellow bloggers and both trip co-leaders) as I recognized them from this blog! Nevertheless, as Dartmouth begins to roll out admissions soon, I hope you all get to experience the beauty of Trips and this dimension of the Dartmouth experience. And maybe I'll get to meet some of y'all on First-Year Trips!

Trip Dinner
Weekly Trip Dinners!

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