Many students, both national and international, worry about the first day of US college classes. What do I have to bring to class? How can I meet people in my dorm? What if there’s a mistake in my schedule?
I’ve been there and know how stressful the first day of classes can be. Don’t panic! I’ve answered some of the big questions for you in today’s post in hopes that these answers will quell your fears.
1. What should I bring to the first day of classes?
Every professor has a different teaching methodology, which includes a plan for how the first day of classes will go. Some will briefly introduce themselves and send you packing with a syllabus you pick up on your way out.
Others (and this is my least favorite) will go around the room and force you to briefly introduce yourself. And yet others will jump right into the curriculum and have a full-fledged lesson, regardless of the fact that you may not have purchased your textbooks yet.
To be safe, always bring a notebook and pen to the first day of class. You’ll more likely than not have to jot down notes, the professor’s office hours, or perhaps the phone number of a future … uh, study partner.
2. How can I meet people in my dorm?
I was very worried about not making any friends during my first day of classes, especially with my college roommates. The answer to that potential dilemma was, believe it or not, solved by some simple advice from my mom: keep your door open!
If you think you’re alone in your friend-making endeavor, you’re wrong! Lots of freshmen mill around the dorms on the first day of college looking to meet new people. Keeping the door open sends the message that you’re interested and ready to mingle. Bring a doorstop or something heavy to hold the door open, and you’ll be making friends in no time.
3. Should I buy my textbooks right away?
In a word — yes. Though it may not be on the first day of classes, definitely do not stall when it comes to buying your books. College is a lot more fast-paced than the schooling your used to. Assigned reading begins right away, and professors will not be sympathetic to your excuses. By the second class, you should have your textbook purchased and your assignments completed.
Besides, though you may be avoiding long lines by putting off purchasing your textbook, you risk the possibility that it may sell out. You may have anticipated being late on assigned reading for a couple of days, but it could turn into a week or more. Don’t fall behind before you get a chance to truly begin!
4. How do I avoid getting lost on campus?
If you have spare time before your classes begin, take a walk around and find your classrooms. It’ll give you a nice tour of campus and let you know how long it takes to get from one classroom to another. It’s also really helpful to study the campus map ahead of time. You’ll most likely be given one in your orientation packet, but if not you should be able to access it on your school’s website.
There’s also bound to be posted maps around the campus itself that you can reference and if you’re really lost, just ask someone for help. Most upperclassmen are sympathetic to the freshman’s plight having been there themselves once and are thus willing to help.
And if you still end up late to class, don’t worry! I’ve generally found that professors are likewise sympathetic to new students, so you’ll have a bit of leeway in terms of lateness on the first day of classes. But don’t expect to still have it after that!
5. Where do I go if there is something wrong with my schedule?
It’s possible that you won’t realize that there is a mistake in your class schedule until the first day of classes. Most importantly, don’t panic! There are still a lot of administrative changes taking place during the first couple of weeks, and very few have the perfect class schedule. If you’re at a loss for what to do, speak to an adviser and explain the situation. He or she will either take care of the problem or point you in the direction of someone who can.
Do you have questions about the first day of classes that I haven’t answered? Ask me in a comment! I’ll be happy to give you my advice. Also, for those of you who have already had your first day, do you have any tips to share?