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How to have a successful first day of college

How To... Survive Day One

The first day of college is a momentous occasion! What you do at the start of the semester sets the tone for the rest of the year. To start school on a productive note, here are a few tips to ease the nerves.
College student on first day of school

agenda bookStep 1: Know your schedule

Your schedule is the only way you’ll know where you’re supposed to be, so keep it close throughout the day. If at all possible, find your classes a few days before they start. This way you’ll be comfortable with the locations and you won’t underestimate how much time you need to get from one end of campus to the other.

Step 2: Carry snacks

It’s the first day of classes, you’re sitting in English 101 going over the syllabus and all of a sudden your stomach won't seem to pipe down. Is that really the kind of first impression you want to make? If not, pack a few snacks to get you through the day -- no need to sneak them in, most college professors don’t mind. Depending on your schedule, you might be short on time, so eating a big breakfast or grabbing lunch can get overlooked. In these situations, snacks are a great alternative. They’ll hold you over and keep your stomach quiet until class is over.

quick Tip

Don't draw attention to yourself -- avoid snacks that make a lot of noise, like chips. The constant crunching is almost as bad as your stomach grumbling (if not worse). Pack snacks into plastic baggies so that you won’t have to fumble with loud wrappers, and if you bring a beverage, try a non-carbonated one so it makes less noise when you open it.

10 Ways to fit in a snack on busy afternoons >>

Step 3: Make a friend

On the first day of school your focus should be more on class rather than making new BFFs, but getting to know someone does have its advantages. In lecture halls there will be a constant flow of information, so it’s nice to have someone you can share notes with in case you miss a day. The professors often encourage study groups as well. In small seminar classes there are always group assignments, and having a friend ensures that you won’t be left out when the groups are assembled. Overall, making a friend in each of your classes will put you at ease and make your college experience more enjoyable.

How to meet people at college >>

booksStep 4: Avoid bookstores

The campus hotspot for the first day of school will be the bookstore. Everyone will be lining up to acquire all the reading material they will need for the semester, but there is another option. Try ordering your books online to avoid the crowd. Websites like Chegg and Amazon are great places to find them for a cheaper price. Chegg also offers a rental program, if you have no desire to purchase textbooks. But don’t wait until the last minute to order online because it will take a while for the books to be shipped, and you don’t want to be unprepared for your first class assignments.

Step 5: Pay attention

The first day of class will be information overload. Professors pass out the syllabus, which is often about three pages long (two-sided) and filled with contact information and important dates. Pay attention! Sure, it might seem boring, and by your fourth class you might feel like you've had enough college to last you a lifetime, but it does get better after day one. Bring your syllabi to class every day because your teachers will refer to them throughout the year, and they don’t enjoy answering questions that the syllabus already explains. Get a feel for the environment too. Take note of what your teachers allow and what gets under their skin -- this way you'll always be prepared and the rest of your semester should be very productive!

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