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!

 

Aug 192012
 

So how did you like Dartmouth?

I think I’ve encountered this question about twenty times during my summer break so far. From my dad asking me as soon as my arrival at LAX to my high school friends who are curious to know about the life in the East Coast, this is an inevitable question that all freshmen who’ve completed their first year will confront at some point or another. Of course, for me, I always took the easy way out with the usual automatic response, “It’s great; I like it a lot” and move on.

While I was at Dartmouth, I never had to think about how my “Dartmouth experience” was. But now that I am back home, where I am constantly flooded with inquiry after inquiry about my life in Hanover, I decided to organize my most memorable experiences from freshmen year.

Interestingly, these times are those not spent on studying, and this is something I am sure every other student can attest to. It was getting sunburned during spring term while being outside all day because the weather was so nice, receiving my first ‘A’ in a class, talking about life and politics with an upperclassmen for four straight hours, throwing frisbees on the Green, mutually suffering in the library with my friends during finals, eating out in Hanover, getting Nutella milkshakes from Boloco or Hazelnut gelato from Morano after every time I ate out in Hanover, and so on.

From this, I realized one thing: none of these memories were made alone. Your Dartmouth experience, as much as it is “your” experience, is only made possible through the collective actions of the peers around you. Based on my encounters with various alums during my freshman year and during this summer break, the one thing you guys are definitely going to take with, years after you graduate from this beautiful school, is the friends and people you meet here. You never know, that tripee you thought was annoying and creepy might just be in your club sports team, or even worse, live right next to you.

So what I’m saying is… when you see people giving that clichéd response to questions like “What did you enjoy most about Dartmouth” as being “The people I met here,” there is a good reason why that question receives a near-unanimous answer. DOC Trips are just a few days away, and I know many of you guys are really excited for it. I hope you guys enjoy yourself and have a great time. You guys are now part of Dartmouth, try make the best of it.

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

Jan 042012
 

As Ajay pointed out below, this winter is brutal. I’m from the Midwest and I know what cold is. Or at least I thought I did. And then, I come back to Dartmouth and my oh my, I have now realized what it means when people say your hair will freeze. Plus leaving your fingers exposed to cold air for a few minutes makes you understand what frostbite might just feel like. But, now that I have sufficiently scared you, I do have to tell you brilliant prospies, about how awesome winter term is shaping up to be!!!

Not to say that I didn’t love Fall Term. Fall term made me think of Dartmouth, finally, as home. And over break, I felt that even more. I missed everything from going to classes to Late Night Collis milkshakes to 2am studying in the Dr. Seuss room. But, winter term is so different and maybe, even better? I get to see old friends, make new ones, and basically learn more and more about all the wonderful people who come to Dartmouth and how they ended up here.

And that’s why despite this weather and despite being bundled up in the most obnoxious snow gear, I’m also happy. So far my classes seem really interesting, and I’m far too busy interning at the Financial Aid office and training to be an Eating Disorder Peer Advisor, but it’s exactly what I want to be.

In one degree weather. :)*

 

*I meant to take a picture, but then realized it hasn’t snowed and it’s sunny. So it looks like 50 degrees outside when in actuality, it’s below freezing.

Nov 022011
 

A few weeks ago, the much awaited homecoming weekend finally arrived. Homecoming was a very special occasion for me. Being an international student, I was unfamiliar with the idea of homecoming and I had been excited about it ever since I first read about it before coming to Dartmouth.  Homecoming, at Dartmouth, is filled with interesting traditions and spirit.

The event starts off by the construction of a huge structure for the bonfire. The best thing was that this construction was done solely by freshmen. The huge wooden structure had ’15 at the top to represent the class year of the freshmen class. It was right on the middle of the green. I remember how I was pumped with excitement for my first homecoming as I went back to my floor after a busy day.

Before the bonfire, we all dressed up in our Dartmouth gear, with glowsticks, and had awesome floor parties. We partied till the parade came to pick us up. I remember standing with my floor when the parade finally came with roars and cheers. Homecoming, for the incoming class at Dartmouth, is supposed to be about proving that we are “The Best Class Ever”, hence everyone cheered the loudest they could. We joined the parade and continued cheering as we picked up freshmen from other clusters and then marched through Hanover right up to the green. A ring of Upperclassmen and Alumni surrounded us as we started circling the huge wooden structure. Pretty soon, the huge structure was set on fire and we took part in one of Dartmouth’s best tradition ever.

Technically, as members of the class of 2015 we were supposed to run 115 laps around the fire. 15 laps were enough for most of us (I ran somewhere between 20-30), but there were many who ran the complete 115 laps showing the world that we are the Best Class Ever! As we ran, lap after lap, the heat got more intense. Many upperclassmen encouraged us from the surroundings, others were not so encouraging. But there was one thing we all felt as we ran around that bonfire. As we set our eyes on that huge structure with our class year ’15 on fire, we were all filled with a sense of pride and happiness at being part of this amazing place. We felt part of the community, we felt joy and excitement of the years to come that we’ll spend at Dartmouth, and indeed, we felt that we had come home.

The rest of the homecoming weekend was filled with all kinds of parties and activities. There was also the homecoming football game on Saturday against Columbia, which we won 37-0! The weekend was one of the best weekends I have ever had! It’s when I think about this, and so many other memories at Dartmouth, that I feel overwhelmed with joy. This place is amazing and I feel thrilled to be a part of Dartmouth’s BEST CLASS EVER!!

Oct 292011
 

My floor is really close; we eat meals together, go to sports games together, and go to the fraternities together.  My floor consists of people from different races and backgrounds, and I’ve made deep connections with floor-mates who have had totally different upbringings from my own.

Becoming close with my floor-mates has made me realize how lucky I am to be in such a diverse environment.  Dartmouth College brings together the best and brightest from the US and from around the world, and each student brings his or her own story.  It is incumbent upon each student to make relationships with students from different backgrounds.  I’ve come to realize that, without my freshman floor, I wouldn’t have made such a diverse group of friends.  I now see that I have to seek out people who have different backgrounds from my own to broaden my world view.  In my opinion, a core part of learning at Dartmouth occurs outside the classroom through interactions with friends and acquaintances.  To get the most out of the Dartmouth experience, it’s important to meet people of different races, backgrounds, and personalities.  Just as an example, I am planning on participating in cross-cultural dialogue throughout my time at Dartmouth.  In this way, I hope that I’ll get a thorough education–one that is based not only on academic learning but also on personal connections with peers.

Oct 152011
 

I have gotten to know my floor pretty well. We have had normal experiences: eating lunches and dinners together, having late nights laughing over funny Youtube videos, and stopping by each others rooms to talk. Then there was K-pop, watching “A Very Potter Musical” with a very enthusiastic Harry Potter addict, and “acting” for a friend’s film strip for class. And now, a month in, we continue to grow closer. There are always happenings that give us more memories and stories to tell.

A couple afternoons ago, I was talking to my friend down the hall, and I went back to my dorm momentarily to get something. Before I came back out, the fire alarm went off. While slipping into shoes and following my floormates down the stairs, I heard a voice say, “I didn’t even turn the heater on!” My friend came over to me to explain the situation.

My friend said that she felt a heat wave, and while she was checking her own heater, the fire alarm went off.  Once she figured out it wasn’t her heater setting off the alarm, she opened the door and was hit with a wall of dense steam. She could just make out the silhouette of a person across the hall throwing his electronics into his roommate’s room. He casually said over the din, “Oh, sorry about that.”

Apparently, there was a crack in his heater, and water gushed out. He was working on a paper, and since he didn’t know how to fix the problem, he refocused himself on his work. A couple minutes later, he heard hissing, and he slowly turned his head towards his heater. Within minutes, steam filled his room.

While professionals went into the building to assess the heater, the floor took a group picture outside our dorm.  Thankfully there was no water damage, and life went back to normal 15 minutes later. However, life here never ceases to throw us surprises, and I am glad I have my floor to share experiences with. I am excited for the end of the year, when I can reflect on all the crazy things we have seen and done together.

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!