Hello, everyone! I just finished my first week of college classes (and second on campus) so I wanted to share a few tips! Keep in mind these are my personal experiences so things will be a bit different for everyone :~) I’m sure I forgot a few things so feel free to message me with any questions.
Organize Your Work Space
I use a magazine box to keep all of my textbooks and notebooks in. It’s quick to grab something because they’re on top of my desk yet it keeps clutter off of the surface. I’ve always kept my writing supplies in a pouch but the drawers are great if you have a lot of supplies. If you’re like me and you love sticky notes, get an organizer to keep them in. Include your ruler, scissors, tape, etc.
The first day you will most likely only go over the syllabus, and the rest of the week is usually intro work. I suggest bringing a pen, pencil, highlighter and looseleaf to class. I always rewrite my notes into a notebook after class so I can spice them up a bit, but do whatever you think will work for you. Different methods work for different classes!
!Get to Class Early!
If you take anything from this it is that you need to get to class at least half an hour early on the first day if you can. Most of my professors start class at least 10 minutes early but on the first day, some started half an hour early. It sucks but I do not want to walk in late because it’s a bad first impression.
Make copies of your syllabus and keep a copy of it on your computer. I have the original, one on my wall, one in my notebook and one on my computer. You are responsible for keeping track of test dates, due dates and readings.
Most schools have a few events every day so you can meet people on campus and get to know the area better. Try to go to whatever doesn’t conflict with class time. It’s really fun and you get a ton of free food/shirts. Plus you can usually grab some club info if they have a booth.
Buying Whatever You Left At Home
I’m the kind of person that writes a list for everything so I never forget what I have left to do or get. Yet I still left a ton of things at home. Write a list of things that you left at home and buy it all at once, but be sure to budget. Money disappears way faster than you think. Food is expensive, books are expensive, living is expensive. Keep a log of what you spend so you’re more conscious of your spending.
Most people say to buy the textbooks after your first day of class. I totally agree. But…. most schools have a policy where you just have to return any unused books before add/drop ends so I just buy mine ahead of time and return whatever I don’t need. Just remember to keep any plastic wrap on, don’t disturb unwrapped books and KEEP YOUR RECEIPT if you do this.
Unfortunately, you’ll actually have to study your first week. Try to do your work for each class right when you get back. It’s still fresh in your mind and you know you won’t be awake at 2am on a Sunday trying to finish it all. In college you can’t just spend 30 minutes on each class; it actually takes a bit longer to study than that and it takes a lot of getting used to.
Use a Planner
Write everything down! Whether it’s a reading, online homework, rewriting notes, that meeting next week or that party this weekend, you need to write it down. There’s so much going on and you’re bound to forget half of what you planned on.
Check out what’s on your campus. We have a gym, smoothie place, a bagel shop, eye doctor, clinic, post office, counseling service, and a ton of other things. It’s basically like you’re living in a little city and it’s something you should take advantage of. For us, the doctor is free and we only have to pay for imaging/injection fees. We also have paths through the forest (we’re on land that’s sort of a nature preserve) and ziplining through the trees. We also have our own garden. You never know what your campus will have.
Meet Your Floormates
My school has a few different styles of housing. The way I see mine is it’s basically motel style because there’s an outdoor balcony with rooms to all of the dorms. It’s way nicer than it sounds I promise. It’s easy for us to meet people because there’s always someone in the kitchen, lounge, laundry room, clubhouse, pool, or seating area. It’s still the first week so everyone tends to stick with their roommates but you can always knock on a door and introduce yourself.
Meet Your RA
Our floor has two RAs and they’re both really awesome. They’re not only here for roommate issues but they can also answer a ton of questions for you. If you can’t find a building or are wondering if your campus has a certain service, ask them.
I guarantee the first two or three days there will be people set up on the way to class trying to get you to join their club/church. If you don’t have time/don’t want to, just tell them you have to rush to class. But you never know if you’ll like the organization so give them a chance. You’ll at least get a bottle of water/bracelet/mug/shirt/fan from them :~)
We all have meal plans but nobody actually likes eating in the cafe because we’re tired of pizza, fries, salad, cookies and pasta. Try to not spending all of your money in the first week on chick-fil-a or Starbucks but treat your self when you have a bad day. Same goes with ordering pizza! Our plan is to only order takeout if someone has a bad day so it’s like a treat. Every night there is a club or church having a dinner that’s open to everyone. If you plan your evening right then you will never have to buy dinner.