A Survival Guide For The First Day Of College Every Freshman Needs

Congratulations! You’ve completed high school and will now move on to the next fabled stage of adulthood: College. With the endless possibilities lying ahead, perhaps you are overwhelmed by pressure, anxiety, and most of all, excitement… Oh, not to mention those email blasts and Facebook invitations that are waiting for your response, all come with lofty announcements like: 

  • “1980s-themed party at Whiskey Bent Saloon tomorrow night!” 
  • “Guest lecture for EEC students 3 pm Thursday… Everything you need to know about Taiwanese Theoretical Astrophysics!”
  • “Special deal! The first 50 students to purchase a pen set from the campus bookstore will receive a FREE tee of their choice!”

All these super significant, 100% absolutely life-affirmingly unmissable opportunities might make you get lost, not knowing what to explore first. But hey, you have an abridged resource right here: JobandEdu’s top 9 things on the first day of college! Not only will they make you feel like a real college student, but they will also help you navigate through the complexities of campus and form good habits for the next few years!

Start A Day Before 

Perhaps you are tired of hearing this, but I still have to repeat once more: It’s important to prepare ahead of time if you want your first day of college to be perfect. 

My rule of thumb is to check your email beforehand and see if your professors have sent any messages concerning the syllabus or what to take with you on the first day. This piece of advice might sound simple, but it can save you from a lot of trouble. 

If your campus is big, make sure to familiarize yourself with important locations, especially your campus buildings. You can get lost (and I’d actually recommend doing so – more on that later!), but not 15 minutes before your class starts. 

Of course, you will want to check if you have your school supplies. Last but not least, going to sleep at a reasonable time, waking up early, and heading to class ahead of schedule will make your first day much less hectic.

Things To Do In Your First Day Of College – Look Your Best

Picking out a great first-day outfit should also find its way onto your to-do list. Why is that? Well, when you look great, you will be able to hit your campus feeling confident inside out. Feeling good about yourself is essential if you don’t want your first day of freshman year to be stressful. 

Furthermore, on this special day, you are going to meet so many new faces and establish new connections. People are going to notice your appearance first, so you have to be careful with what you decide to wear. 

dress for the first day of college
What to wear first day of college? – Source: Unsplash

It doesn’t mean you have to try so hard to be cool. Find a happy medium, like jeans and a nice top, then pair them with some accessories. You’ll be comfortable while rocking the relaxed college-girl look!

Talk To Your Professor

Just like Hagrid, most professors are not as terrifying as they seem. Whether it’s a lecture with over 400 students or a small seminar with less than 20 participants, introducing yourself to your professors is always an excellent idea. 

No, I’m not saying that Mrs. Dr. Professor, Ph.D. will grant you straight A’s just because you shook her hand on the first day of college. However, if your professors know more than just your name, they tend to invest more in your academic career. 

Perhaps they can tailor a lesson to your specific area of interest, dedicate more time to writing insightful critiques for your assignments, or pair you with their top teaching assistant for tutoring. Additionally, when you need a recommendation letter, they will be much more likely to write one that’s personalized for you instead of digging out their dusty class roster to find proof that you were in their classes. 

Talk to your professors
Introducing yourself to your professors can be much more beneficial than you think – Source: Career Girls

I know, I know. Introducing yourself to a professor sounds scary, but that’s exactly why I’d recommend doing so on your first day. Once you’ve given it a shot, it will become less distressing next time!

In case you still have no idea, here are some tips on how to approach and interact with members of the endangered professorial species:

  • Check out your profs online. RateMyProfessors can give you a glimpse of what you should expect from your professors, as well as how they will test you on midterms and finals. Then, you might want to express an interest in their course through a brief email (“I’m looking forward to starting your course this Monday. I really enjoyed your piece on ____ for The New York Times. I hope to hear more about your research for that piece”).
  • Simply introduce yourself when the class is over and express your enthusiasm (“Hello, Professor Snape. I’m _____. I’m looking forward to the session on Potions in 2 weeks. I took a course on that in high school and I can’t wait to learn more”). 
  • Drop by their offices. Each instructor’s office hours are listed on the curriculum or course website. While it is true that some professors only hold office hours because colleges require them, some sincerely want to interact with their students.

Write Down All Assignments, Reading, And Exams For The Terms

As you are listening to your professors for the first time, note any important dates they mention. My professors often assigned weekly readings and tasks, so I made sure to jot things down in my planner. 

Aside from that, your professors will provide you with the due dates for significant projects or exams. You will want to highlight these dates, so you do not lose track of them. Personally, I would prefer to write mine at the top of the schedule for that day, so I can notice them right away when I skim through my planner for approaching deadlines.

Things To Do In Your First Day Of College – Get Lost

Did I say I’d recommend every first-year student get lost on their first day? Well, I’m not telling you to stray so far away from the familiar territory that you will have to write “HELP” in the sand or look up into the sky for rescue helicopters. But spending half an hour after class roaming around the campus will help you discover some exciting places orientations won’t show. 

Roam around the campus
With some discovery, you can find your ideal workstation right on campus – Source: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

It might be the ideal shady spot to study, a library room with perfect lighting, or a vending machine stocked with your favorite chips. You can even find a “secret” shortcut to class, giving more opportunities to…

Things To Do In Your First Day Of College – Find The Food 

Bagel shops, cafes, and smoothie stands – chances are you have already heard everything about the best and worst places to chow down. 

But don’t wait for your classmates to take you there; start looking for food spots right away! 

That way, you can find out your own favorite spots and items. Beyond that, you now know which ones are fast or slow, as well as those with options that suit your dietary restrictions. Next time when you are extremely hungry, and class is in 20 minutes, you will get yourself a fast gluten-free veggie burger without relying on the guessing game! 

Make New Friends

From the very first day, introducing yourself to fellow students can help you both socially and academically. Yes, not only will you have a group to hang with when you are bored, but they can also help you with your academic performance. It might not sound that important at first until you come down with a cold and miss class or you can’t seem to understand the course material you’ve covered right before the exam. 

Make new friends on the first day of college
Put yourself out there and find fellow college students with common interests! – Source: Unsplash

Exploring the campus with a peer sounds like an excellent way to establish a connection, or you can take somebody to an Anything-But-A-Cup party (there will be one, I’m sure about that!). Either way, don’t be afraid to socialize. The time you spend bonding with fellow college classmates is a worthwhile investment and will likely be treasured for years to come.

Look Into Joining A Club

Joining a club is a vital aspect of college life. That’s why I’d tell you to consider joining one as soon as you arrive on campus. 

Why should it be a priority from the first day in college? Well, that will assure you that you have a social outlet to look forward to while trying to adjust to your new life. In addition, since other freshmen will be enrolling within the first few days, you don’t have to worry about being the lone newcomer in a club full of vets. 

Discuss With Your Roommate 

Perhaps you’ve created a careful plan to make the new roomie your soulmate/future speech-giver at your wedding. Before that, it’s vital to have a strategic, detailed discussion about how you two will use the shared space. 

And in light of that, I shall now present… (drum-roll sound effect): 

The roommate contract! 

A quick Google search will give you countless examples. These contracts allow you and the person who sleeps in the same room to discuss routines, goals, and expectations for the shared space. Who is in charge of cleaning and when? Which items can be shared? Can you invite your buddies over in the afternoon? 

That way, you know that your roommate has agreed to, say, turn off the lights before 12 AM every night, instead of assuming that they will and getting all upset when they don’t. 

Nonetheless, saying “Hey Sarah/Harry/Andy, I printed out two copies of a contract that I’d like you to review before signing” will come off as a bit strange. But don’t forget you have a RA! On your first day of college, simply let your RA know that you’d like to have a roommate contract, and they will innocently suggest it to your roomie. Don’t worry, there is a high chance said RA also has their own version of this contract on hand. 

Oh, and for students living at home, I strongly recommend having a conversation with your beloved parents or siblings about your changing routine. Since you are now enrolled in college, maybe you would prefer the house to be quiet on Saturday evenings while you are studying. By setting clear expectations with your family, they can become supportive partners in your college life.

How to prepare a roommate agreement?

It’s Okay To Be A Little Nervous! 

This is the Bookstore Bear. Although he might appear a bit anxious, that’s just how he always looks. 

It's okay to be a little nervous
He’s got this, and you can, too – Source: Medium

It’s okay to have some butterflies in your stomach. Of course, you will be worried on the first day of college, but you are not the only one feeling this way. Just follow this guide, and your college life will sail smoothly – I can assure you that. 

There are plenty of opportunities await you once the school year starts, so good luck on this new chapter! 

Iris Vida

Well, Iris Vida is very into reading books from different eras, cultures, and anything that has been going viral lately, etc. Her passions can't be put in a few words only. Whether it's the "Jazz Age," a Neil Gaiman notable novel, the pitter-patter melodies of Taylor Swift's music, or anything else, she always sends the best materials to her top-notch writings, engaging all readers everywhere. Moreover, like Nick Carraway, who captured global attention with his rich and glamorous look, she leaves readers with a satisfying sense of wonder and an urge to learn more with her compelling writing style.