Quick tips: First Day of School

school_spiritA new campus, city, or environment, can always bring out the nerves. There are new people, professors, classes, and within the first week is a world of changes. So, how do you prepare for that? How do you go through the changes and adapt as easily as possible?

1. Know where you’re going.
Getting lost, running late, or ending up in the wrong building when a class is about to start will only increase your stress. Sometime in the days before classes start, walk through campus and find the buildings where you’ll be having classes. If they’re open, walk up to the classroom door. You can even do this as a break from moving in and unpacking! It’ll make you feel as though you know campus a little bit better (even if you only really know four buildings), and you’ll feel confident walking in.

2. Don’t be late.
Give yourself a lot of time to get to class. Getting there early, you can pick the best seat, meet people who you’ll be having class with, introduce yourself to the professor. (It helps if you’ve walked through campus finding the buildings, too, since you’ll know how much time it takes to get each place.)

3. Check materials online.
A lot of professors and universities put up the class syllabus online or in an email before class. While sometimes, professors spend the first class going over it – you’ll feel a lot more confident and comfortable if you’ve already looked through it and have an idea.

4. Talk to people.
There’s no easier way to pick up a conversation with a stranger than the first week. “Have you had this professor before?” “Is this your first class today?” “Are you new here?” “Man, it’s really hot outside.” Ask questions, talk about the major, class, weather, even. Just take that first step, because it can go a long way. Maybe you’ll become good friends, maybe you’ll just have someone to email or text when you miss class and need the notes. Either way, it can’t hurt saying hi, and the more people you meet or even just recognize around campus, the smaller and more comfortable it feels.

5. Don’t be afraid to change classes.
The idea of dropping a class is always negative. But colleges have drop periods for a reason – a time where you’re allowed to change your schedule without it leaving traces of you dropping classes. If you feel like a class is above your level, or below it, not what you were expecting, or even just boring – go to your adviser and ask for other class options. I did this freshman year – made it halfway through a biology class before deciding I hated it, and called my adviser. He suggested I change it for another science class, that still fulfilled a requirement – and that new class ended up being my favorite class all year.

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