Dec 062012

Chris O’Connell ’13 is the director of the Dartmouth Outing Club’s First-Year Trips Program.

Class of 2017 – Welcome to Dartmouth!

Congratulations on your acceptance and for getting through one of the more stressful parts of high school!  I remember how overwhelmingly crazy this time of year was with college decisions, so I hope you have had a few minutes to relax, celebrate, and get as excited as you possibly can for your next four years in Hanover.

Students gather on the lawn of Robinson Hall for the start of their DOC Trip.

My name is Chris O’Connell and I am the director of the Dartmouth Outing Club First-Year Trips Program – usually just known as “Trips.”  I am SO incredibly excited for you all to come to Dartmouth in 8ish months.  It seems like a long ways away (…because it is), but it will fly by and before you know it, we’ll be welcoming you to campus for your First-Year Trip!

DOC First-Year Trips first got its start in 1935 when some older students involved in the College’s outing club invited some new students to go hiking with them before the school year started.  Since then, the program has evolved, grown, and expanded to be much more than exploring the beautiful New Hampshire outdoors – Trips is an introduction to the College’s traditions, a fun way to meet other ‘17s, and (most importantly) an exciting welcome into this community…your community!

Each Trip is 5 days long and takes place right before the College’s official orientation program in late August/early September.  The program is entirely student-run: 60 support crew members, 300 trip leaders, and countless other student volunteers make DOC Trips an incredibly memorable and exciting experience for the incoming class.  Each trip has two, well-trained, upperclassmen leaders & 7-10 new students.  Don’t worry if you haven’t been in the wilderness before – we offer trips of all levels and varieties, everything from Cabin Camping to Whitewater Kayaking to Community Service to Mountain Biking.  We have added a lot of different types of trips over the years, so we hope you’ll find one that interests you!

The hiking trip I had the chance to lead as a sophomore!

I’m a member of the (great) Class of 2013, so it was only four years ago that I went on my own DOC Trip – rock climbing! I had never been climbing before, but I had the chance to learn and check out a beautiful portion of the Appalachian Trail.  Three years ago, I got to lead a hiking trip in the White Mountains and had a blast leading a group of freshmen through their first days at Dartmouth.  The experience you can have on your DOC Trips is one of Dartmouth’s most unique traditions — it’s a great way to get introduced to people different from yourself, learn about the Dartmouth community, and get connected to upperclassmen who can help you out during your time at the College.

Everyone’s experience with DOC Trips is different, but we are working very hard to welcome YOU – whoever you are, wherever you came from, whoever you want to be in college – to your new home at Dartmouth.  Registration materials (with dates & details) for Trips will be sent to you later in 2013, but for now – enjoy this moment and get excited for an incredible four years!

I’m looking forward to welcoming you to campus next fall! Enjoy the rest of your senior year!

Chris O’Connell ‘13

P.S. Can’t get enough of Dartmouth right now? Check out our Trips blog for more stories, photos, and excitement!


Apr 182012

Emily Mason-Osann ’11 is the director of the Dartmouth Outing Club’s First-Year Trips Program.

Hi Class of 2016!!!!

Welcome, Welcome, Welcome! First of all, congratulations on making it through the stress (or not) of college applications and decisions, and welcome to Dartmouth!

I’m Emily, although I usually go by Emo, and I’m the Director of DOC First-Year Trips for 2012.  I’m a member of the class of 2011, and just finished my B.E. degree from Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering where I studied biochemical engineering.  I enjoy studying proteins, reading in my hammock, and – now – directing DOC Trips.  I’m incredibly excited about all of you coming to Dartmouth in a few months, and I hope you’re excited to go on a DOC Trip when you arrive!

DOC First-Year Trips started 77 years ago when a few upperclassmen invited some first year students to go on a hike before classes started.  Since then the program has grown and improved dramatically.  The program is run by students, including a program directorate, ~55 support crew members, ~300 trip leaders, and countless other student volunteers.  The primary goal of the program is to welcome the entire class of 2016!

We offer many levels of trips from beginner to advanced, and many different types of trips from whitewater kayaking to yoga to hiking.  We hope we have something that will interest each one of you.  Each trip has two upperclassmen leaders, and four to ten new Dartmouth students.   The trips consists of one afternoon and night in Hanover getting to know your group, two nights out exploring New Hampshire, and then one afternoon and night playing and eating at the beautiful Moosilauke Ravine Lodge (which Dartmouth College owns and operates in Warren, NH).  DOC Trips is a great way to have a lot of fun, meet some of your peers, and explore that beautiful area that Dartmouth is lucky enough to reside in.

My freshman year I went on canoeing a canoeing trip with eight other ‘11s, and last year I led a hiking trip across Franconia Ridge with six ‘15s.  I really want to go on our Nature Exploration trip that we offer because I wish I knew more about my surroundings when I’m in the wilderness. And while you will soon receive paperwork regarding registration for DOC Trips, just know that whatever trip you decide to go on – it can be a really fun and exciting experience!

Trips is a wonderful (in my opinion) and unique Dartmouth tradition, that can introduce you to the college, welcome you to the Dartmouth community, provide you with upperclassmen to help you when you need it and a whole lot more.  Everyone’s experience with Trips is different, but we try our very hardest to welcome YOU, whoever you are, wherever you came from, whoever you want to be, to your new home at Dartmouth.

In the upcoming weeks and months (as you count down the days until you arrive), explore our DOC Trips blog, check us out on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and if you ever have any questions – feel free to contact us Our team of volunteers is getting prepped for your arrival now and throughout the summer, so we want you to have the best experience possible this fall!

I’m excited for Trips and for all of you to be here!

See you soon,

Emily (Emo) Mason-Osann ‘11

Dec 032011
Changing Colors

What a wild ride it’s been. People told me that ten week terms go by really fast, I never knew it would be THIS fast. I’m done with my finals today and fall 2011 term at Dartmouth has officially ended for me. We’re one twelfth the way there! I think back and I reflect. This term has been the perfect introduction for me to Dartmouth!

It all started off with meeting international upperclassmen as I arrived at Dartmouth late at night in pouring rain. I remember the first glimpse I got of my room and the feeling of excitement that rushed down my spine. It took a night’s sleep to finally comprehend the fact that I had arrived at Dartmouth! Next day, I was greeted by a crowd of people dancing around in front of Robo as upperclassmen dressed in crazy costumes greeted us for our DOC Trips. After spending only a day at Dartmouth, I was taken up to the Dartmouth College grant in the extreme north of New Hampshire for my Nature Photography Trip. Could there have been a better welcome?

Soon we went through a 2 week long orientation, starting with International orientation and then regular orientation. I was thrilled at the opportunities that were available to us here at Dartmouth and was already thinking about the millions of things I planned to do over the next few years. All this was accompanied by more than a thousand new faces around me. The fact that many of these faces would be an important part of my life for the next four years, and some even beyond that was both scary and exciting! After the perfect welcome through DOC trips, orientation provided the perfect kick-start to our time at Dartmouth. Soon we picked our courses for the term and classes began.

The opportunity of being taught by professors who were experts in their field was amazing. Every day I was learning so much and it made me feel proud of myself. We found ourselves coming up with the perfect weekly schedule for ourselves. We found ourselves trying things we had never done before (Which, for me, was playing tennis). We found ourselves being challenged and overcoming those challenges. We found ourselves growing!

Days passed, and soon I was watching my first football game wearing the Dartmouth gear I had recently purchased. It was an amazing experience, especially since we won!

Homecoming finally came with trees changing their colors, and we ran around that huge bonfire that was built to mark an official start to our time at Dartmouth. We were filled with spirit and felt proud of being members of the Best Class Ever in the Best College Ever!

Soon New Hampshire showed its magic with snow in October. In just a few hours, Dartmouth turned into a winter wonderland, and The Green turned completely white! At midnight the entire college came out, and had a massive snowball fight on The Green. We were amazed at how magical this place is!

Before we knew it, finals were right around the corner. We found ourselves turning to our favourite studying spot (which for me was my room), and doing our best to make sure we’re ready for being tested on our previous ten weeks’ worth of work. Many took advantage of the numerous study breaks that were organized throughout campus. A large part of the community came out to The Green yesterday evening and decorated Dartmouth’s huge Christmas tree.

And finally, today my finals ended, and with them so did the term. I repeat, it’s been a wild ride, it’s been the perfect start, and I’m excited about what is to come. Dartmouth feels like a home now, and the people here feel like a family. Adios fall 2011, you’ve treated me well!



Nov 202011

This week, many of us will be going home for the first time since getting to Dartmouth. Though I thought my first weeks at college would go by slowly, it seems the time here has flown by. It seems like yesterday I was driving up to Hanover from my house in New York City. My mother was driving, which is something she doesn’t normally do, so we made sure to prepare ourselves for the big day. We strategized about how to pack up the car (a careful division between trunk and backseat), the best route to take (partially ignoring our GPS, which I swear sounded increasingly frustrated every time it recalculated our route), and even our road food. Everything went smoothly on the morning of the drive. As the cityscape turned into rolling mountains, I began to feel my ride to orientation was a good old-fashioned road trip. Then, five short hours after we started, we reached our destination: Dartmouth. It will be, and already has been, the source of countless new adventures for me, but on that afternoon, my very first college adventure came to a close.

The group after a long day of hiking Mt. Washington this October. I'm on the far right.

Since then, I have gotten to go to a few places outside of Dartmouth. My first excursion was hardly the most adventurous, but my two roommates and I went to the nearby Wal-Mart over orientation for room supplies. In October, I spent a Saturday hiking Mt. Washington with the DOC. They offer day trips like this every week, and I’m glad I got to go on one. It was amazing to be able to go out into nature in between weeks of classes, and it was definitely something new for me as a city girl. I recently got to see Simon Pearce as well, a beautiful local restaurant and glass blowing workshop in Quechee, VT that just reopened for business after being flooded during Hurricane Irene. This week, I’ll take my next trip. I’ll sit on a bus headed towards home and watch the mountains turn back into buildings. I look forward to going back for a bit, but I’ve also gotten to go some pretty great places since I’ve left.

Oct 292011

Trips is definitely one of the best experiences at Dartmouth. It’s very bizarre to be told as soon as you arrive that you are setting off on the “best five days of your life”. I’d just left home, was jet-lagged and thinking “what kind of crazy school have I gotten myself into?”

Setting off for four days on a canoe, in the rain is not everyone’s idea of fun. But I returned with some amazing friends and a feeling of belonging that I don’t think you will get so soon at any other college.

The first day canoeing is what could be called ‘a bonding experience’. It rained solidly for about 20 or so hours. We canoed through the rain, slept under tarps and woke up with puddles at the bottom of our sleeping bags but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. That evening I huddled together with 11 other complete strangers, playing mafia and quickly realised that they weren’t strangers anymore. Inside jokes, ridiculous games, sharing embarrassing facts and listening to jokes that simple shouldn’t be told (because they were simply that bad!) are just a few of the memories that made that evening.

“WELCOME HOME” is how everyone on trips will greet you. Dartmouth becomes so important to you in five days, it’s difficult to see how you lived without it. I arrived back on campus looking awful, smelling bad and with the biggest smile on my face and 11 people I already knew. It’s terrifying going to a new place and scrambling to make new friends. Trips did that for me and, in the best way, welcomed me home.

Sep 262011

As I sat on my bed in Karachi, Pakistan, nearly 7000 miles from Dartmouth College, several thoughts rushed through my head. Dartmouth is supposed to be my home for the next four years of my life. There is excitement, but at the same time questions. How will I get to Dartmouth from Boston airport? Who will my first friends be? How will I understand the technical aspects of being an international student on an F-1 student visa (how will that effect my job on campus, my D-Plan, etc)? These and many more questions made me slightly nervous. However, soon an email cleared everything out.

Dartmouth has a very comprehensive International Student Orientation. Over the summer before coming to Dartmouth, each international student is given an upperclassman mentor. My mentor got in touch with me through email and allowed me to ask all the questions that I had. In addition to that, I was told that my mentor and other International Student Mentors (ISMs) will be there to greet me at the airport and then again at the bus station at Dartmouth. This indeed served as the perfect welcome to Dartmouth, and in general, to USA!

In pouring rain the ISMs made sure that my luggage was sent to my room and I had a peaceful night’s sleep after a very long journey. The following morning they made sure that I got my Dartmouth ID card and my room keys and even gave us international students a brief tour of Dartmouth. It was, however, after I returned from my DOC trip (Which was another adventure altogether and deserves a separate post), that International Student Orientation officially began with an awesome BBQ!

The 3 days of International Student Orientation were the perfect start for all of us international students to our lives at Dartmouth. The information sessions covered all the technical details and answered all of our questions. We got several chances to talk to upperclassmen about their experiences at Dartmouth and asked all sorts of questions. We were given the opportunity to have breakfast with professors from various departments and then were able to personally talk to them. We also had several fun activities including an amazing talent show and an awesome dance party. But most of all, I made several amazing friends during International Student Orientation.

As an international student at Dartmouth, you would never feel left out. Dartmouth, as a community, is open to all. Dartmouth’s orientation programs for incoming freshmen provide the perfect start for everybody. As soon as you arrive at Dartmouth, whether you are an international student or not, you are given several resources to make your transition to Dartmouth both easy and enjoyable. In simple words, it is as soon as you arrive at Dartmouth that you fall in love with The Big Green!