Monday, August 15, 2016

A Little Guide: The First Day of College

So now you've survived move in day, you've started to meet people, but there is still that big, daunting thing on the horizon...actually starting college. It's so nerve wracking! What do you bring? What do you wear? Do you talk to the person sitting next to you? What the heck is a syllabus? 
What to know for your first day of college!

We have all been there. You, little freshman, are not alone. I have been through 2 (3 on Wednesday!) first days of college and I get those nerves every year! There is something about starting a new year of school, getting a fresh start that is both exciting and terrifying. But through my experience, I can help you out a little bit, so here are some tips to help you survive the first day.

// download your campus app //

These days, every college has an app. It's your best friend. If you haven't downloaded it yet, you should. It can tell you your schedule, where every building on campus is, even what the options for lunch are in the dining hall. Download it now. The map is the best thing ever. If you're too nervous to ask for help (I was), instead of wandering around campus clueless, you can just appear like you're looking at your phone while you're realizing that your next class is across campus and starts in 5 minutes.

// have a general idea of where your classes are //

On your schedule, it should tell you where each class is located. Pull out your handy dandy campus app and look at where those buildings are in relation to your dorm and to each other. It'll make your life so much easier.

upperclassman tip #1: If you are entirely lost and can't figure out where you are, ask someone for help. Upperclassmen will understand, we've all been there.

// take a screenshot of your schedule //

I am the kind of person who checks my schedule for the time and location of my class until mid-September. It can be a pain to try to log onto the course scheduling website 10 times a day, so make it easier by taking a screenshot of your schedule on your phone. That way it is readily available for you to check a million times on the first day.

// don't buy the textbook if you haven't heard from the professor //

One of my professors for this semester has already emailed the class letting us know what material we need to have for the first day. This is not usually the case. If you have not gotten any sort of email or announcement from your professor, wait to buy the book. They'll let you know the first day what you need 

upperclassman tip #2: a lot of courses require online components that have an e-book so you don't need to pay $500 for something you won't use

// the campus bookstore is a last resort //

Without fail the campus bookstore is usually the most expensive place to buy your books. Once you find out what books you need, search book exchange Facebook pages - upperclassmen trying to make a few bucks and get rid of their old books, Amazon, Chegg, and other discount book sites. I like to compare prices at a bunch of different websites before I decide on one.

upperclassman tip #3: unless it is a book for a class in your major, consider renting - it's usually the cheapest option

// wait on buying school supplies //

On the first day, bring a notebook, pens, your laptop, your planner, and maybe a folder. You never know if professors will require something specific, so I find that it is best to wait until after the first day of class. The first day will also help you feel out the professor and the class and you can decide from there if you need a separate notebook for the class or can combine a couple classes into one notebook.

// print off the syllabus for each class //

Some professors may not post their syllabus until after the first class and others may hand out hard copies, but I find it easiest to make sure you have the syllabus handy. I use my syllabi frequently for reference during the semester so I always like to have one on hand.

// look nice //

Yes, it is college and you can wear whatever the heck you want, but still put in some effort. The people you're in class with or seeing on campus could be your new best friends or maybe your future spouse, so don't look like a slob. You don't need to be glammed out, but make a good first impression. I also see dressing well for class as a way to show respect to your professor. They made it their life's work to teach annoying college students (professors are saints), the least you can do is show them some respect by looking like you're taking college seriously.

// wear comfortable shoes //

Last year I got horrible blisters on the first day because I wore new shoes and had classes all across campus. Avoid the pain, wear shoes you have already broken in.

// start making friends //

I really like to have a friend in each class I'm in. The older I get, the more likely it is that there is someone I already know in my class, but that isn't always the case. Talk to the person sitting next to you and start getting to know them. You may not be best friends, but they might be willing to share notes when you miss class because you're sick. It's so easy to feel isolated in college, but you really have to put yourself out there. Everyone else is in the same situation and just as nervous as you. Smile and introduce yourself. You may have just met your future bridesmaid.

// don't take it too seriously //

You won't have a test the first day, you're not being graded yet, it is okay to relax. This is your only true first day of college. Enjoy it! You're an adult for the first time, you're in a completely new place where you don't have to be anything other than exactly who you are. Relish in it. Times like this are very rare.

Wishing you the best first day of college!!!

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