A First Day Of School Guide For College Freshman

Back to school, here we come! August is within sight and this means everyone is preparing to head back to school, whether that’s preschool, high school, or college. 

For me personally, my most nerve-wracking first day of school was my first day of college as a freshman- my very first day walking the sidewalks on campus and navigating the halls of the massive buildings. What if I couldn’t make it across campus in time for my next class? What if I got lost and was late everywhere I was going? I didn’t even think about lunch and I was going to be in class back to back all day! There are so many factors. Let me share with you a few things that I did, and a few that I wished I knew, to hopefully help ease your fears as well. 

Download a map of the campus. Back in 2013 when I started college, I actually held a physical map of campus in my hands, but I was also one of the last few on Earth that didn’t own a smartphone. Regardless, they still were not amazing quality, so I was not alone in holding a physical map of campus. 

Have the map downloaded to your phone so that when you need to leave the Business building and make it to the Biology building 10 minutes later, you’ll know the best route. You won’t need the map forever! But navigating a new campus (especially if it’s quite large!) can be incredibly helpful. It can also be a good idea to mark where your classes are if you have the ability to draw on the map. 

Think about lunchtime. In high school, lunchtime is carved out and the cafeteria is well stocked with food. In college, it’s up to you and only you. Look at your class schedule and decide if you can make a quick trip home for a bite, or if you need to look into options of packing a lunch, or finding a dining hall on campus. It’s hard to sit through classes and learn when you’re hungry! 

Wear good shoes. College campuses can be quite large and require a great amount of walking between buildings and classes. Keep this in mind when choosing shoes to wear. Save the fancy kicks for a night out and pull out the tennis shoes for classes. A jacket is also a great clothing item to pack. Some classrooms can be boiling hot, while others are freezing cold. There’s not always a lot of consistency. 

Snacks and water bottles. This could depend on the building and teacher protocols, but in the majority of classes, you can snack while you are in class. Keep a good stash in your backpack of good, healthy snacks. And bring a water bottle, especially for those longer classes. 

Don’t buy books right away. You can read more tips on college textbooks here. But it’s a good practice to wait until after the first day of class to purchase books. This gives you the chance to attend class first and determine the best route for purchasing your textbook, and knowing if you need it or not. 

Be prepared to take notes. In college, typically the first day of class isn’t a “get to know you” and take an easy day. What you can expect is the professor taking a few minutes to go over the syllabus, letting you know what to expect from the class, telling you about resources the T.A.’s might have, and then jumping straight into coursework. So come prepared to take notes and learn. 

The syllabus is incredibly important- save it. They are not something to just roll your eyes at and toss in recycling on your way out! They are your roadmap to this class. It should tell you the expectations, rules, and assignments for the semester. These important dates in the syllabus such as deadlines and tests are great information to put into your planner so you know when they are coming up and can prepare. 

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