If you’re reading this, you’ve already made the decision to go back to school. Congrats! One of the hardest decisions is already behind you, and now you get to enjoy the journey of a college education.
The first day of school can be a little daunting, even as an adult. We might not be as concerned with wearing trendy clothes or being popular like we were in high school, but that doesn’t mean we still don’t get nervous about the first day of school.
Will we get lost? Will we like our teachers? All of these things can weigh us down and cause us to feel anxious.
While the first day of school is typically not anyone’s favorite, there are a few things we can do beforehand that can ease the stress of the first day of college and make it much more enjoyable.
Take a tour of the campus
Wandering the hallways in a panic on the first day of college is never a good situation to be in.
Most colleges provide an orientation where new students can get acquainted with the staff and tour the campus. If you missed your school’s orientation, visit campus the day before and get familiar with the location of all your classes. Be sure to take note of where the library and student lounges are, as well as restrooms and labs.
If you still think you might get turned around on your first day, take a map of the campus with you as a backup. When you know where all your classes are beforehand, you can be stress-free on your first day of college and make a good impression on your teachers by being on time. What’s more, you’ll get a better seat!
Order your textbooks ahead of time
Teachers will often provide their course syllabus online way before the first day of school. Check to see what textbooks you will need and get them ordered as soon as possible. Very often, a book will take at least a few days to arrive and you don’t want to fall behind on your coursework waiting for a textbook in the mail.
If your textbooks are in a digital format, be sure to have them all downloaded and ready to go before class starts. You may even want to skim the material and get a feel for what you will be learning about.
This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but with so much happening on the first day of college, we may forget something as simple as a pencil. Jot down a checklist of items that you know you will need, such as: iPad, laptop, pens, pencils, highlighters, notebooks and textbooks.
Be prepared to write down other things your teachers may require such as calculators or scrubs.
It may be helpful to invest in your own personal planner where you can keep track of important due dates for each class. A personal planner can either be a small notebook or an academic calendar app on your iPad.
Do you think you’ll get hungry on your first day of school? Take a light snack with you or make sure you have some money to use at a vending machine. Bottled water is typically acceptable in the classroom but save the snacking for a break unless your teacher is alright with students eating in class.
Get to know the staff
The campus staff is there for YOU, the student. Your success is their success. They are ready to answer all of your questions and help you navigate your way through the college experience, so don’t be afraid to reach out to them on your first day with any questions or concerns.
Depending on the type of assistance you need, you will be referred to different departments on campus. Most students will be in regular contact with these departments throughout their college education.
The four main departments and some of their general functions are as follows:
Admissions: Comprised of several admissions representatives, this department meets with and enrolls students into the school. They help individuals determine which degree programs might be the best fit for them.
Academic Resources: This department handles registration, transfer credits, adding and dropping classes, grades, suspension/expulsion, honor lists and everything else related to a student’s academic progress.
Financial Aid: For students needing financial assistance, they turn to the financial aid department. Student loans, grants, scholarships and out-of-pocket payments are the primary functions of this department.
Career Services: As the name implies, this department helps students with all things career-related, such as providing job opportunities, interview tips and assistance with resumes.
Remember to breathe!
It doesn’t matter if we’re in third grade or grad school; the first day of school is always going to be nerve-racking. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Everyone else is feeling exactly the same way you are, including some of your teachers!
Be sure to get lots of sleep the night before and eat a healthy breakfast in the morning. If you forget something on your first day, don’t sweat it. You will have plenty of time to figure everything out.
Have a wonderful first day of college! Want to learn more? Request more information or call 1-877-303-6060.