With summer coming to an end and fall semester right around the corner, it’s high time to start thinking about (and preparing for) your first week of college.
Once you’ve completed your paperwork, back-to-school shopped till you dropped, made travel arrangements, and exhausted every other form of pre-college preparation you can think of, the focus can finally shift to life on campus.
These tips, compiled from a number of our blog posts and guide pages, will help to ensure a successful, stress-free first week of college that will hopefully pave the way for a great four years.
1. Meet people.
The first week of college is when you’re likely to make the friends that will stick around for your entire college career (and hopefully long after that!). Take advantage of this opportunity to get friendly with your college roommate, as well as your neighbors. Keep your dorm room door open so that anyone can pop in and say hello, and do some meet-and-greets yourself! Lots of freshmen mill around the dorms in the first few days of college looking to meet new people and make new friends. Bring a doorstop or something heavy to hold the door open, and people will know you’re welcoming visitors.
2. Find the perfect study spot.
As you’ll realize even more in college, being comfortable is an important study tip. College campuses have countless places that you can escape to for some uninterrupted study time. Whether that’s a nook in the stacks, a shady patch on the quad or a local cafe, it’s up to you to find it — and now is the perfect time, so you’ll be prepared when that first test rolls around.
3. Go to class (and be prepared)!
Though this may seem like an obvious one, you’d be surprised how many students choose to skip the first few classes of college, thinking that the real lessons won’t begin until later. Well, they couldn’t be more wrong! On the first day of college, your professors will probably review the syllabus and talk about the plan for the semester. They’re also likely to list their office hours and contact information. Be sure to bring a notebook and pen with you so you can jot down this important information. Some professors also start lecturing on the first day, so it’s critical to come prepared.
4. Buy your books.
As soon as you know what textbooks you need, go out and buy them during the first week of college, so you can start on your reading assignments right away. Falling behind and not knowing what’s going on in class is not a great way to begin college!
College will most likely be a lot more fast-paced than what you’re 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. Also, books can sell out, so whether you’re planning on purchasing them in the campus bookstore or ordering them online, it’s best to do so as soon as possible.
5. Find a good grocery store.
Now that you’re living on your own (and don’t have a fridge that magically restocks itself), you’re going to have to learn to feed yourself. At some point during your first week of college, go out and find the nearest (and cheapest) grocery store. Even if you are on a meal plan, it’s a good idea to keep a stockpile of food in your room, as you may miss a meal, have a late-night craving or simply get sick of the dining hall offerings.
6. Fill out your calendar.
Once you’ve gone to all your classes and learned about the requirements of each, jot down all of your major deadlines for the semester in a planner or calendar. Presentations? Term papers? Exams? It’s important to know when all of them are (particularly in relation to each other) so that you can manage your time effectively.
7. Get familiar with your campus.
Unless you paid incredibly close attention on your campus tour, chances are you’re still a little unsure where everything is on campus. In your first week of college, spend some time walking around and finding the buildings your classes are held in, your friends’ dorms and the library. It’s particularly important to find your classrooms before the first day of classes, as this can often be a challenge. Instead of wandering around the day of, 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!
8. Relax and enjoy yourself.
Your first week 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 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 will probably offer a bunch of freshman orientation events and gatherings throughout the first week of college, so take the opportunity to make the most of them and share your stories with new friends who just went through the very same thing.