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6 Tips I Wish I Knew on My First Day of College

tips for the first day of collegeYou’ve unpacked your room, met your roommate and said goodbye to your parents. Now it’s finally time for your first day of college to really start!

College can seem like a never-ending stream of new experiences: new room, new friends, new classes. But instead of being overwhelmed, these 6 tips will go a long way toward making sure your first day of college starts off right:

1) Take a tour of your classrooms.

You might know where your class buildings are, but where is Room 216A? Make sure you check it out before your first day of college.

Finding the right room for each of your classes on your first day of college can seem like navigating a maze. Instead, take a quick tour the day before classes start to find out exactly where you need to be. You’ll be stress-free on the first day, and what’s more,  you’ll be sure to arrive to class on time and snag a good seat!

2) Coordinate your schedules.

You want to be prepared for your first day of college – and chances are your roommates will too. But a bunch of students getting ready in the morning makes for a frantic dorm room.

Chat with your college roommates about their morning routines – when they need to wake up, get ready and leave for the day. I lived with 6 other girls in my first year of college, and we all shared 1 shower. If I had to wait my turn, I could be late to class. Luckily, we worked out a schedule before our first day of college so that we could all be ready to go on time.

3) Bring a notebook.

On the first day of college, your professors probably will review the syllabus and talk about the plan for the semester. They’re also likely to list their office hours and contact information. Keep a notebook handy to record this important information. Some professors also start lecturing on the first day, so it’s critical to come prepared.

Sometimes you’ll know the required books for your classes ahead of time – you might get an email after you’ve registered for your classes with assigned reading for the first day of college, or your syllabus might be available online. But it’s also possible that you won’t be sure what books or specific editions your professor requires.

Unless you have reading assigned for the first day of college, wait to make notes in your books or tear off the plastic wrap. If your professor has a specific request, you’ll want to be able to exchange those expensive textbooks!

4) Keep your door open.

One of the best ways to meet people on your first day of college is simple – just prop open your door!

Lots of freshmen mill around the dorms in the first few days of college looking to meet new people and make new friends. But even if you’re ready to mingle, a closed door suggests that you’re busy or don’t want to be disturbed. Bring a doorstop or something heavy to hold the door open, and people will know you’re welcoming visitors.

5) Start work before it’s due.

The homework you’ll get on your first day of college can be a world away from the high school assignments you’re used to. Start some of your assignments right away on the first day of college, so they’ll be sure to be done by the deadline.

College professors tend to assign bigger amounts of work over longer periods of time, so you’ll lack the daily deadlines many high school courses provide. This makes it seem like you have plenty of time, but don’t be fooled!

You’ll probably need a while to get used to the change in workload and discover the best way for you to study for college classes. Consider making a schedule on your first day of college that breaks down the bigger assignments day-by-day. If you’re reading a 350-page novel in a week, break it down into 50-page segments and read one each day. It’s much easier than trying to skim all 350 the night before class!

6) Take a break.

Your first day of college will be packed with exciting classes, meetings and events – it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all of the things going on. Make sure you take time in your day to relax and enjoy it!

Meet your roommates for lunch in the dining hall or have a cup of coffee at that cool off-campus cafe. Your college probably will offer a bunch of freshman orientation events and gatherings throughout the first few days of college, so take the opportunity to chill and share stories of your first day with new friends who just went through the very same thing.

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