Surviving Your First Day of Classes

Entering your first college class can be daunting. Where do you sit? What do you bring? What if you’re late or you get lost on the way there? What will the professors be like? What will your classmates be like? The good thing is, it will be many other people’s first day of college as well, and just about everyone else there will be as nervous as you are. The other good news is, there are a lot of things that you can do to make your first days easier and less stressful.

Before Class Starts

Being organized and prepared before stepping into your first classes is one of the simplest and easiest ways you can ensure success when you arrive at college. Start by printing or writing out your schedule, making sure you know when everything is, and you won’t be late. This is especially helpful if you have an on-campus job or other regular, weekly activities that you must attend; it will help you keep all of your commitments in order.

Before going to your first class, you should also check your email. Some professors will send the syllabus or other important information you should view before class. You should also check the Canvas pages for your classes to see if the syllabi have been uploaded. If the syllabus is available, read it! Make sure that you have all of the required materials listed for class, but it would also be helpful to bring a notebook (or something else to take notes) and something to write with. While this may be super obvious, it can often be easy to forget the simple things. Another item that would be helpful is some sort of daily planner, whether that be a physical book or an online calendar or spreadsheet. You can plan out your whole semester’s worth of homework using this and your syllabus within the first week!

Your First Class

Congratulations! It may seem silly, but you’ve done a lot to get to this point; take a moment to be proud of yourself. Now, make sure all that work was worth it by continuing to do your best work. Step out of your comfort zone once you walk into your first class. Sit right up front. It may seem lame to want to be so close to the board, but your professor will see your enthusiasm and respond to it. Sitting up front will also force you to pay attention in class; it’s much harder to sit on your phone and slack off when your professor is looking right at you.\

Don’t be afraid to talk to your classmates either, even (especially) if they’re upperclassmen. Having people in your classes that you can talk to and text about homework, tests, and projects will be helpful all semester long, especially on those inevitable days when you miss class for one reason or another. Also, don’t be afraid to talk to your professors. Visit them during office hours, send them emails, ask questions. They are there to help you, and most of them want to help you, even outside of the classroom.

After Class

You did it! You survived your first college class! Now, the real work begins. As I mentioned previously, it is really easy to schedule out your entire semester’s worth of work with some sort of planner and your syllabus. Getting yourself organized now will pay off greatly later in the semester when you’re rushing around to get all of your work done. This will also help cut down on procrastination since you can see when everything is due and plan out your work accordingly.

Remember, it may seem scary at first, but college really isn’t anything to fear. You’ll learn new things about the world and yourself, you’ll prepare yourself for the future (and have fun doing it!) and you’ll make memories and friends that will last a lifetime.