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Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.
  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Main image courtesy of KRIS-TV.

If you’re preparing to start college this year, chances are you’re feeling a mixture of excitement and a little nervousness. Both of these emotions are completely normal, after all, this is probably your first time away from home. You’re going to be in a completely new environment and will need to make some adjustments to your typical routines. While we’re sure you’ve spent the summer hanging out with friends, going on vacation, and getting to know your future college roommate, as the days wind down, you’re probably turning your focus to the first day of class.

What’s the first day of college like, and what’s the best way you can prepare for it? Is there anything you can do beforehand to ensure you’ll have a successful day? You’ll be happy to know that yes, being prepared is one of the best things you can do to make sure your first day of school is a great one.

In this guide, we’re going to cover the following topics:

  • How you can prepare yourself for the first day college
  • Tips + tricks to make a great impression and set yourself up for success in college

How to get ready for the first day of college

You can have a great first day of class when you prepare yourself beforehand

college student studying with textbooks
Sit down before your first day of college and make a plan! Image courtesy of Debt.org.

While you may think you have to wait until the actual first day of class to prepare yourself, there are many things you can actually do beforehand. Once you are done moving in and you’ve said your goodbyes to your family, you can start preparing for your big day. Depending on how many days you have before classes start, you can spread out these activities as you start to adjust to your new environment. 

Know the locations of your classes

One of the first things you should consider doing is locating a map of your campus, and learning where all of your classes will be held. Depending on the size of your school, this could be only a few buildings you need to familiarize yourself with, or it could be a large area. Whether you grab a paper map or pull it up on your phone, check your course schedule and locate the buildings. From here, you can start to map out what will become your new daily schedule for this semester.

Knowing the locations of your class buildings and where you’ll need to go throughout the day will prevent you from getting lost. Although sometimes this can still happen (you’re new here and it’s okay!) it’s still something you’d like to avoid on your first day. Now that you know the path to your classes, it’s time to put it into action! Get out there and walk what will be your class schedule so you know exactly what the buildings look like and where they are in conjunction with each other. If the lecture halls are open, go in and find the exact classroom where you’ll be attending class. This can really help on the first day when you’re unfamiliar with the layout of all these new buildings. 

Review any information shared by professors

Sometimes professors share syllabi or other important information before the start of class. If this is the case with your courses, make sure you review it. If you have a syllabus, you can even add the important dates when papers are due or when you will have exams to your organizer. It’s so crucial to stay organized in college, especially during your first semester when you’re still figuring everything out. 

Some professors may even require you to complete an assignment before the first class. While this is not typical of first semester freshman classes, it could be something that you experience later in your college career. If they made the effort to give you the information before class, it means they expect you to have reviewed it. 

The syllabus will also contain all the textbooks you’ll be using that semester. Some people choose to purchase or rent all their books before class to ensure they have all the materials. Others may choose to wait until the first class to see if there are any texts that are optional, or that are available online. For your first day of class, it might not be a bad idea to purchase/rent your textbooks before class starts so you don’t run the risk of not getting the right materials. 

Set your dorm up for success 

It’s a good idea to set up the area in your dorm that you want to dedicate to studying. Make sure your desk is organized and that you have all the tools you’ll need to be able to get work done. You might want to have: 

  • A place for your laptop and charger
  • An area to put your textbooks so you can easily find them
  • A desk lamp
  • All the supplies you need to get some studying done

college desk organizing kit
Make sure your study area has everything within reach that you need to ensure you can get some serious studying done. OCM has all kinds of organizational options that you can browse through! Image courtesy of OCM.

Your dorm room doesn’t have to be the only place you study, but having it set up in a way that allows you to get work done is always a good idea. 

Pick out your outfit and get to bed early

Now that you know where your classes are, have walked the path you’ll take on the first day, and have reviewed any material your professors have given you, it’s time to choose what you’re going to wear. Knowing ahead of time means you won’t be flustered in the morning trying to find the right outfit. Stick with something that’s comfortable and shoes that are good for walking—because you’ll be walking all over campus! If you’re really unsure what to wear, you can’t go wrong with a pair of jeans or shorts and a nice top. While you probably won’t dress up for class everyday, it’s always a good idea to make a nice first impression on your professor and fellow classmates. There will be plenty of time to wear your pajama pants and hoodies to class!

The night before, try to get to bed early even though you’re excited. Getting a good night’s rest before will ensure you have the energy to take on your day. While it may be tempting to stay up and catch up on a show, or chat with your roommate, you’ll thank yourself in the morning. 

Pro tip: Consider showering the night before your first day of college. Until you get used to your floormates’ showering routines, you could find yourself without a shower in the morning. Typically showers are the most busy in the mornings before class, so if you can avoid the stress of not getting a chance to shower before your big first day, we highly suggest that you do!

Tips to have a successful first day of college

It’s time to learn all about what college is really like on the first day!

college students walking to the first day of class
Knowing where your classes are can help make your first day go smoothly. Image courtesy of Miami Dade College.

Today is the day—your first day of college! You’re definitely going to be excited, and hopefully a little less nervous because you’ve already done some preparing. You may have already heard that typically the first day of each of your classes is what’s known as “Syllabus Day.” This first day is usually when professors will go over your syllabus and discuss what they will expect of you in their class. They’ll also mention the important textbooks you’ll definitely need, and maybe even some that you can get away with not purchasing.

But don’t just think this is a day you can just breeze through! Some professors may actually jump into the material and expect that you’re prepared for this. Usually you’ll get a mix of going over the syllabus, talking about what they expect from you in their class, and a little taste of what the class will be like. 

In order to have the best first day of college, we have a couple of essential tips to follow.

Arrive early

In order to arrive early to your class, you’ll need to ensure you wake up and give yourself enough time to get ready. Whatever you need to do in the morning, whether that’s shower, apply makeup, get breakfast, have some coffee, etc., make sure you give yourself ample time to do this. You’ll want all of this out of the way before you leave your dorm and start walking to your first class. Because you’ve prepared yourself, you’ll probably already know how long it should take to walk from your dorm to the building where your class is held. 

Once you're inside, you’ll need to navigate to the classroom. Bonus points if you already did a walk through and can cut through the chaos of the hallways to your classroom! Having enough time to accomplish all this and arrive early will definitely take some planning on your part. So depending on what you need to do in the morning, always buffer yourself with an 15 extra minutes. 

Arriving early to your class allows you to choose a seat you’d like. It also shows your professor that you respect their time. You don’t want to make a bad first impression and arrive late on your first day

Be prepared

Have everything you need to get through your classes with you. Whether that’s your laptop for taking notes, folders to hold all your papers and syllabi, or notebooks if you want to take handwritten notes. Make sure to have pens and pencils as well as your textbooks in case your professor starts to go over material. It’s also not a bad idea to bring along a refillable water bottle and some snacks. Until your daily schedule becomes a routine, you don’t want to risk being hungry and not having time to grab a meal or a snack! 

water bottle from OCM to take on your first day of college
Having a refillable water bottle is a must on your first day of college! Whether you need a water bottle or a travel coffee mug, you can find all kinds of kitchen essentials at OCM.  Image courtesy of OCM

Pay attention

While you’re not going to delve too deep into the material on the first day of class, you still need to make sure you’re paying attention. That means keep your phone out of sight and focus on what your professor is saying. If you find that your mind wanders easily, it might be helpful to sit towards the front of the class. This will ensure you’re able to follow along as your instructor goes through the syllabus and you get a feel for how they will be teaching the class.

Meet your classmates

On your first day of college, you will also have the chance to meet your classmates, and this is something you definitely want to put forth the effort on! Yes, you have your roommate and those that live on your floor, but these are the people who you will be spending all semester with. They are going to have to do the same assignments, and may even have the same questions as you. This is why introducing yourself or engaging in small talk with those seated near you is a fantastic idea. 

These people can turn into your new study friends, or they may be able to help you catch up on notes if you happen to miss a day of class. Not only that, they could also turn out to be some new friends! It’s always awkward talking to people for the first time, but remember, they’re feeling exactly the same way you are. 

The first day of college is exciting, but when you’ve prepared a little, it will seem a lot less scary. Remember, you’ve got this!