It seems like just yesterday you were mailing your high school graduation announcements, and now your first day of college has already arrived. You’ve met your roommate, figured out what to pack and said the last goodbye to your parents. Now it’s actually time for your first day of college to start. It’s totally natural to be a little nervous and excited about your first class. Staying calm and being prepared will help you get through the day. Ask for help if you need it. Every student on campus has been through what you’re experiencing, and they can all help you through your first day.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for your first day of classes.
[Don’t let the start of school be the end of your scholarship applications! Find more money for college on ScholarshipAdvisor.]
First Day Survival Skills
The most important point to keep in mind is that college classes are entirely different from high school classes. College can seem like a constant stream of new events, brand-new friends, and demanding classes. Instead of being overwhelmed, these tips will help make sure your first day of college starts off right:
- Arrive early. Since you are unfamiliar with the campus and probably have no idea how to get around, plan extra time to make it to the classroom. This will also allow you to scope out the room, grab the best seat, and be ready to start learning without any distractions when class starts.
- Bring your laptop. Many professors encourage the use of laptops because it is a quick and easy way to take notes, look up essential information for discussion, and keep up with PowerPoint slides. Make sure you don’t get sidetracked by posting on Facebook or Twitter during class.
- Keep up with the professor. Professors won’t have time to stop mid-lecture or during a discussion to make sure you’re caught up, especially in larger classes. Pay close attention and write down questions to ask after class or during office hours.
- Be prepared to actually work. College classes speed through ice-breaker games and going over the class syllabus to get down to work, so have your academic mindset ready. Bring all the materials you need to be productive.
- Start taking notes immediately. The first day of any class is packed with relevant information. Professors explain their teaching methods, how to contact them with questions, and any extra credit opportunities they offer. These can all be some of the most important factors in succeeding their class.
- There might be homework due. Don’t be that student who gets blindsided when the professor starts a discussion about an assigned reading. It is normal for college professors to require an assignment to be completed before the first day of class because they usually like to start teaching right away. They typically email assignments to students, post them online, or print them in the syllabus, so keep a lookout.
- Avoid the bookstore. The bookstore lines on the first day of classes will be ridiculously long. Skip them by getting up early the next day to wait for the bookstore to open. Also, see if any of your books are available at another store. Usually there are used bookstores near campus that will buy and sell textbooks. Sometimes you can find your books online, but make sure they are the correct edition.
- Copy your class syllabi. Keep a copy of each class syllabus with you and pin another one to your bulletin board. You’ll be glad you did this later when you have to refer to it and can easily find it. Also, it’s a good idea to put due dates into your organizer or calendar right away and highlight all of the class assignments on your syllabus.
- Make sure you enjoy the class. Just because you signed up for a class doesn’t mean you are stuck with it unless it’s a requirement to graduate or an exchange for a different course. Make sure you like the professor and subject before you commit to a term of misery.
- If it isn’t the perfect day, don’t worry! If you don’t have the best first day, try not to worry about it. There are many students who don’t love their first day of college but still continue to have a great university experience, so don’t put too much pressure on the first 24 hours. Just remember that you’ll meet other students tomorrow, and one of them could end up being your new best friend.
[View new scholarships from Shutterfly.]
Your first day, and probably the entire first week, is a very stressful time and many students struggle to enjoy it. It’s okay if you don’t have the best first day experience because you’ll be settled in soon. After you have the class routine down, you will meet people with similar interests in your classes and the extracurricular activities that you choose to join. Try to make the best of your first day with these tips, and don’t panic if it isn’t ideal. You have four more years to go!
Bryan Passanisi is an online marketer living in the Redwood City, California area. He graduated from The University of San Francisco with his Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. He is a Simpsons and Family Guy trivia geek and loves corgi puppies. Bryan Passanisi is a contributor to various websites and blogs including Shutterfly.