Trips are ingrained into Dartmouth culture more so than most activities or traditions on this campus. Even the majority of people who don’t have perfect experiences enjoy them they provide an opportunity to break down boundaries so that students can let loose before settling on campus. A love of Trips is not only important to assimilating into Dartmouth culture it is also a means of providing a common ground for all students of the College, past and present.
Trips are advertised as an amazingly fun experience that gives you the opportunity to meet some of your best friends for life, have an incredible time and join this awesome new community. For many Dartmouth students, some or all of these claims hold true.
“Trips was the first time that I really felt welcome here at Dartmouth,” Daniel Miao ’14 said. “Before Dartmouth I was afraid of a lot of things, but being on a trip with these people and being brutally honest really helped me.”
We all know that Trips at times actually, often can be overwhelming and feel almost too good to be true. But there’s some reality in Trips that opens up a willingness to readily make friends and maintain exuberant amounts energy that carries over into life at Dartmouth.
“Even though the whole Trips experience is pretty exaggerated the safety talk, the Lodj, green eggs and ham I think it was a great introduction to the atmosphere, energy and lifestyle of Dartmouth,” Katie Bernhard ’15 said. “We have a pretty unique culture at Dartmouth, and Trips is a great way to get your feet wet before freshman fall.”
While some people might claim to be averse to the bombardment of singing and dancing and feel that it’s not really representative of life here at Dartmouth, there’s something about collectively being awkwardly silly on Robo lawn two minutes after arriving on campus that brings us together.
“It’s part of making everyone do stupid things like dancing the Salty Dog Rag that puts them in the same boat,” Matt Peterson ’13 said.
Even the parts of Trips that seem to be the worst, like not showering, are a way to help people get to know each other, which is all that we’re really looking for on Trips.
“The not showering part wasn’t too cool, but in retrospect it was fun because we suffered together,” Iris Liu ’16 said.
Furthermore, there’s also something about being isolated in the woods that’s conducive to forming real friendships with people.
“Trips gets you to actually form relationships with people, as opposed to just knowing their name and hometown,” Sarah Bennett ’16 said. “It’s just you guys in nature, so you have time to hang out and get to know people.”
Sean Kaufman ’13 said that Trips are “the only time where there’s this unbridled desire and ability for people to become friends. [People] put aside their shyness and will sit down with you, tell you their name and say, Hi, let’s play.'”
One of the most comment criticisms of Trips is that the welcoming atmosphere does not always translate into life at Dartmouth. Despite this, Kaufman said that Trips are invaluable in the way that they seamlessly transition new students into life at the College.
“I don’t think it should ever go away, especially since it gets people primed for forming those relationships,” he said. “Even though the mindset doesn’t last, it’s a stage in Dartmouth development. It’s a nice reminder that it’s still possible to meet new people and form new relationships, even if it just means saying hi to someone you recognize.”
Those who enjoyed Trips generally found that this tradition is one that has affected their life at Dartmouth in small but important ways.
“The spirit of it carries over more than people give it credit for even if it’s something small, like people who just wave and say hi,” Bennett said. “Rather than walking into a community as an outsider, you feel like you’re already a part of it.”