The first day of classes is usually exciting for all grade levels. Either you are a freshman who gets to experience campus life for the first time, or maybe you are a senior realizing this is your last time taking undergraduate classes. Whatever your grade level is, it is important to go into your first day classes with a clear and and a checklist of things to get done. Below, I share some tips that I use when starting a new semester and new classes to get my year started off on the right foot.
Introduce yourself to the people sitting next to you
You are going to want to make friends for multiple reasons. One being the obvious social need reason of wanting to have close buddies outside of class, and the other being so that you can make study groups and know people who are in the class with you. Exchange social handles or phone numbers with the people next to you so you can help each other out in case someone gets sick and can't come to class, or if one of you don't understand the material, you can get together and review! I made some of my closest friends to this day doing this my freshman year, so be sure to say hi! You never know who could be a new life long friend.
Bring basic school supplies
This isn't middle or high school where you won't get to actual class content on the first day. You will start learning material day 1, so be sure you are prepared with materials to start taking notes on. Day 1 material is important just as any other day, so be attentive and be prepared to start learning!
Pay attention in class, even if it is just class policy review
Your professor may say a policy or piece of information that is not on the syllabus to see if students are paying attention, so stay attentive. Also, it is another great way to show your professor you are ready for the upcoming class periods. Setting this good habit of paying attention, even if the lecture content is boring, is important so that as the class goes on over the semester, you have taught yourself to still listen and pay attention, even if you really don't want to.
Read the entire syllabus again after class
You may not want to since you just listened to it during class more than likely, but it is important to do so. Reading it again allows you to write down all of the due dates and catch any information that you missed or wasn't covered in class. Check out my post on handling a college syllabus to learn more about what to do with these as you get them from each of your classes!
Pick a seat you want to stay in the rest of the class
It's just the rule of "unassigned assigned seating". Once you choose your seat the first day, people usually won't take it. Unless they like causing chaos or they skipped the first day. Typically once you pick your seat along with everyone else, no one tends to move around. So, make sure it is somewhere you want to sit and will be able to pay attention.
Introduce yourself to your professors
An important aspect of college is building relationships with your professors so that you can either do research or ask for letters of recommendations from them later down the road. To do this, it means you need to make a solid first impression and show interest in the class. A great way to express this on the first day is to say hello and introduce yourself! Either before or after class (whenever you have time) take 30 seconds to talk to the professor and say how excited you are for the course. And make it genuine, as they can tell when students don't actually mean this. It's common to have the same teacher multiple years in a row, and they will remember you if you were a good or poor student in the class. Therefore, make the remember you for the right reasons. You never know, this could be one of the coolest or your favorite professors you will have during your college career!
Make note of the very first office/help hour time
One of the best ways to get to know your professor and make a great first impression is to attend the very first office hour. Often, difficult class material will not have been discussed yet, so barely any students attend. This is a great opportunity for you to have one-on-one time with your new professor and make them remember your name. Most of them will be happy you stop by since most students don't the first week office hours are available!
These first day tips should help you feel prepared going into a new set of classes this upcoming semester. The first day is all about understand course policies, meeting new people, and getting comfortable (or getting back used to) being on campus after the summer vacation.