Hey friends! Well, with school just around the corner for so many people (though not me justttt quite yet), I figured I’d share some ideas on how to use the first day of classes to your best interest! Whether or not you’re a bright-eyed bushy tail new freshman, or a senior about ready to be done with this whole school thing, there’s no time like the present to get things going on the right foot!
1. Introduce yourself to the professor.
I swear by this tip. I've made friends with my professors and gained academic advisors, major advisors, and recommendation letters out of this. Professors and Faculty at your school are unbelievably good resources for all of life's problems.
Your school may be small or it may be huge, and you may be in lecture courses or you may be in smaller seminar style classes. Either way, if there are 8 people in a class or 150 or 400, make it a point to introduce yourself to your professor in person. Go up them, extend your hand, and tell them your name and your class year (and if it’s a class in your major, then tell them your major too). I promise this 30 second interaction will make a huge difference and from that point on, your face will stand out to that professor, which can really help you throughout the semester. This introduction will show that you care about the professor as a person and is a great foundation for making a relationship with the professor, so you can use them as a resource
2. Read the entire course syllabus. Twice. Front and back.
I can’t explain how important this is. There are professors who spend hours or days creating their syllabi for their classes, so if you don’t look over it at least once, you’re wasting their time and yours.
Your syllabus for each class is the best way to save your booty in college. It contains EVERY bit on info you need that you don’t want to ask your professor: what material is going to be covered, the readings that are assigned each week, how you contact your professor during outside hours, required reading materials, and the school’s policies and procedures. It’s your job though to make sure you memorize it, or at least use it as your bible for that class. Read through all your syllabi from the day after your first day of classes and make sure to go through it in detail. If you’re sticking with that class, write down all the important dates (hi midterms!!) in your planner. If you aren’t sure, hold onto the syllabus anyways, in case you take the class. The books you read and the dates you have tests could sway you!
4. Write EVERYTHING down.
Once you get the course syllabus, either before class (print it out and bring it to class if you find it online before class starts), or in class, look at it while the professor goes over important info from the syllabus, because there may be extra information that YOU WILL ONLY FIND OUT IN CLASS. Jot this down on your syllabus and jot down any important dates you hear. As your professor goes over due dates for larger projects and tests, star them on your syllabus so they stand out.
Once you decide the final courses you’re taking for the semester, make sure to collect all your syllabi for those classes and sit down with them (hello new best friends!). If you don’t have a planner already, please go get yourself one if you have the means. It will seriously help save your booty when you’re extra stressed. If you don’t want to and you’re comfortable with the electronic capabilities of your phone/laptop/tablet or other means, stick to that. For me, I use a planner to plan every hour of every day and it’s just what works for me. Go through all your syllabi and write down important dates like midterms and finals and days you don’t have class, and make sure to write in any weekly assignments and readings that you’ll have as well!
Some extra tips:
-Start your readings early!! If you don’t, it can easily swallow you up and you’ll feel overwhelmed quickly.
- Try to make a friend or two in every class you have, so that if you ever come down with anything or miss class for any reason, you can get notes from that lecture.
-If you go to class every day, which you should, and you’re good at taking notes, especially typing them up, consider applying to be a notetaker for your school’s Office of Disability Services! Often you can make 200 dollars or so a semester, just for going to class and taking notes! Look into this opportunity- professors will often mention in the first or second class if there are any note taking opportunities!
Good luck y'all! You're starting (or continuing) some of the best 4 years of your life! If you have any more questions or want more advice on college, comment below!