What with all those movies, TV shows, and tall tales about the first day of college out there, you might develop some unrealistic fears and false preconceptions of what the first day of college is like.
In this situation, the first day of college can be an overwhelming experience – a new room, new friends, new classes, new life. But that’s what we’re here to dispel!
By the way, if you haven’t yet selected your college, you might find this article on the best campuses in America interesting!
Knowing exactly what to expect on your first day of college will help you to calm your nerves, make preparations, and have an overall fun and successful time! That’s why we’ve prepared this exhaustive primer to guide you on acing your first day of college:
WHAT DO YOU DO ON THE FIRST DAY OF COLLEGE?
The first day of college is generally known as syllabus day, as most professors will use their classes for personal introductions, explanation of the syllabus, and an outline of the course rather than full-on lectures.
Thus you can generally expect your workload to be relatively light, and many people use this day to get acquainted with the campus and their colleagues. Don’t bank on this, as some professors might get started with the course right away – but this is rare.
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HOW DO YOU INTRODUCE YOURSELF ON THE FIRST DAY OF COLLEGE?
Multiple surveys have shown that people’s greatest fear is public speaking; death is second! Thus, Starting college may have you feeling nervous about any number of things, especially speaking in front of new classmates. If you have to introduce yourself in front of a class, try to be as confident and friendly as possible. Keep in mind that a thoughtful introduction will make you feel more like a part of the class. Here are some pointers:
- Stand up and smile when you speak
- Speak loudly and clearly
- Tell the class something memorable about yourself
- Explain your academic interests
- Keep it brief – no more than a minute
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WHAT SHOULD I BRING ON THE FIRST DAY OF COLLEGE?
- Notebook – A notebook is necessary for taking notes, do not leave your room without one.
- Lots of pens – You’ll need them to go with your notebook. Bring multiple, as a few will likely get lost or stolen.
- Course syllabus – Extremely vital; the first day is known as syllabus day for a reason. Bringing your course syllabus along, read and annotated, is a good idea to keep up with the professor, highlight any subjects you think might be problem areas, as well as note down any important info you get regarding coursework.
- Calendar – SInce the first day of college generally involves a general outline of the course and scheduled tests and papers, it is a good idea to bring along your calendar/planner to jot down the relevant dates.
- Class schedule – It’s unlikely you will have memorized your class schedule on the first day, so until you do so, you should bring along your class schedule, or at least a picture of it on your phone so you don’t miss any lectures.
- Laptop – This is a grey area as while it is handy for taking notes, recording lectures, and giving presentations, some classes might have a no-screens policy. Enquire with your professor beforehand, and only bring it if you won’t get distracted by Facebook.
WHAT KIND OF PROBLEMS DO FIRST YEAR STUDENTS HAVE IN COLLEGE?
Some of the common problems faced by freshers on the first day of college include:
- Waking Up Late – Most freshers have a tough time adjusting to the college routine, especially after that long summer break. One alarm probably won’t cut it; you should set multiple alarms to make you’re up on time.
- Getting Lost on The Way To Class – College campuses are typically large and sprawling, with multiple similar-looking buildings. Most freshers often get lost on campus in their first few days. Find a map of your campus and save it on your phone, or ask a senior to guide you.
- Social Anxiety – Being all-new and utterly alone in a sea of unknown faces can be quite nerve-wracking, and the need to make an excellent first impression can be overpowering, but remember, everyone else is feeling like this too. Be confident and relaxed, and you’ll make some friends in no time. See the section on how to make friends in college for more info.
- Workload – The workload in college is a step above what you were used to in school – here, you are expected to not only submit work of a higher academic quality and length, but you are also expected to do it by yourself, with no one to hand. Only take as many minors/extracurricular activities as you can manage. Procrastination is your worst enemy, and no matter how tempting it may be, do not leave your assignments for later. If your workload feels unmanageable, visit Buy Online Class for some expert help in your academics.
- Bullying – Though it’s not as common as depicted in pop culture, as most seniors remember what it was like to be a freshman, in some rare cases, hazing and bullying do happen. If this happens to you or someone you know, immediately contact your college authorities to take action; bullying should not be tolerated one bit.
- Homesickness – For many people, this is their first experience of living away from home. In such a situation, a little homesickness is an inevitability. There is not really much you can do to stop this, except to keep yourself busy and call your family often. This is only temporary and will soon wear off.
HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS ON THE FIRST DAY OF COLLEGE?
This is probably the aspect that makes freshers the most anxious, but, honestly, it is also the aspect you need to worry about least; everyone else will also be in the same boat!
All your fellow newbies are going to have the same question on their minds in the beginning. Thus most people will be receptive to striking up a conversation and making new acquaintances. Plus, there will be such a wide variety of people from diverse backgrounds that you’re sure to find someone with whom you share common interests and hobbies.
Some basic things to help you along in this would be to attend the various college clubs and events that will be held, as they are a great way to meet people with similar tastes as you. College parties are also a great venue to socialize, strike up conversations, and make new friends.
To be perfectly honest, there is no shortage of ways to make friends in college as you will constantly be meeting new people – roommates, classmates, and seniors. Just be sure to keep an open mind, have confidence, and be polite with all new people you meet. In no time at all, you will have some very close friends with whom you’ll be making some of the best memories of your life!
WHAT SHOULD I NOT BRING TO COLLEGE?
The space in your dorm room is going to be extremely limited. Most dorm rooms have just enough space for some basic furniture. Plus, don’t forget, you will be sharing that space with a roommate, so bringing in large and bulky items is not a good idea. Here is a general compendium of stuff you would be better off leaving at home
- Too many clothes – Since your wardrobe space will be minimal, it’s a good idea to leave extra, bulky, or unseasonal clothing at home. Bring only what you will wear and limit it to the strictly functional.
- Items of value – It is a terrible idea to bring expensive or rare items to college since it will most likely get lost, stolen, or broken. Save those items for your vacations instead.
- Animals – Most dorms have a no pets allowed policy (except for fishbowls in some cases). Even if your dorm does allow pets, you will have so little free time that it will be tough to care for your dog and cat properly. For your pet’s sake and your own, leave them at home.
- Large Furniture/Appliances – As mentioned, space in your dorm room is going to be extremely limited, so bring only that which you absolutely need. No point in bringing your 70-inch flatscreen TV or your armoire if you can’t fit it in your room.
- Books – Bibliophiles and avid readers would probably like to bring their entire book collection along, even their childhood picture books. However, not only will they take up a load of space which could probably have been used for better things, you will have access to your entire college library with more books than you could hope to read in a lifetime.
- Anything your college provides – Your college will probably provide laundry facilities, printers, and basic furniture, so no need to bring these along. A good idea would be to check beforehand what your institute will provide so that you can plan accordingly.
- Prohibited Items – Of course, it goes without saying that any items prohibited by law or campus rules should be avoided. College is the best time of your life, and you wouldn’t want that time to get cut short.
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WHAT TO WEAR ON THE FIRST DAY OF COLLEGE?
Deciding what to wear in any new situation can be very stressful, especially for the first day of college, when you want to make a good first impression on teachers and fellow students alike. However, to be quite honest, this is not as big a deal as it seems to be – most of your fellow classmates will be similarly anxious, and most professors only care about your performance, not your outfit. However, there are still some basic fundamentals to look at:
- Both being overdressed and underdressed are negatives. Showing up in a business suit to your first day is overkill, and can make you seem pompous and a show-off. On the flip side, showing up looking like a homeless person won’t do you any favors either. Try to strike a balance between overly relaxed and overly flashy.
- The most important thing is to BE NATURAL – yes, we know it’s advice you’ve heard a million times before, but it’s still good advice! If you’re uncomfortable in your get-up, people are going to know. Whereas if you feel at home in your attire, you will be more confident and relaxed – and that’s going to help make an excellent first impression. Wear whatever you feel good in, as long as it’s presentable.
- Keeping that in mind, though, the general attire on any college campus is usually extremely casual, so if you want to fit in, casual attire like t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers is the way to go. On the other hand, if you want to pop out and leave an impression on people’s minds, it is elementary to do this by merely wearing something slightly dressier like a good shirt or khakis.
- Another way to stand out is by wearing a personalized or unique accessory like a hat, watch, or bracelet – this allows you to showcase your personality memorably.
After reading this article, you should be well prepared to handle your first day of college and anything it might throw at you. Remember, there are no problems that a cool head and a spirit of adventure cannot overcome, and college will be perhaps the biggest adventure of your life.
There are plenty of people on campus who will go out of their way to assist you, from fellow students to professors. We guarantee, in just a week, you will have forgotten all about your initial anxiety, and will be having the time of your life, as well as learning a lot.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as we enjoyed researching and writing it. Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and keep watching this space for more helpful advice on college and studies!