Your First Day of College: A Survival Guide

By: Lisa S. Icenogle

Aug 17, 2020 | Casper College News

White background with the words "The Ultimate College Survival Guide: The First Day."

Well, it is almost time for your first day of college classes. Don’t be surprised if you are a bundle of emotions, especially as that big day gets closer. And your first day will probably be the worst of all. But remember, nearly every other person in each of your classes is going through their own first-day emotions too. Below, we offer a few tips to help you tame those emotions and actually enjoy that first day and first week of college.


Check out campus before the first day


Make sure that you know what buildings your classes are in and where those buildings are located. That way, you can know what parking lots are close to the building or buildings you need to be at. And, if you happen to have two classes back to back, you’ll know if you’re within walking distance to your next class, or if you’ll need to drive to that next location class to be on time. Most colleges have a campus map on their website. You can find Casper College’s here, and it is set up so you can easily print it off and take it with you.


Arrive early


Let’s face it, the first day and even the first week of college can be nerve-wracking. Imagine how much more if you can’t find a parking place and end up getting to class late. If you are late to class, you will make an impression on your classmates and instructor, but not the kind of impression that you want. By arriving early, even if you can’t park as close as you would like, you will still be able to walk to your class location and be on time, or even a little bit early.


Look your best

What does that mean? Well first, get a good night’s sleep. Then, wear something that you feel good in, but that also looks nice. So, even though those loungers or sweats feel good, they aren’t a good look for class, ditto the Scooby-Doo slippers. A clean pair of jeans and a nice top are always an easy and safe bet.


Buy your textbooks ahead of time

Even though the first day is usually just a review of the class syllabus, your instructor is also likely to talk about the textbooks for the class and ask if everyone was able to get one. You don’t want to be the person who doesn’t have theirs. Speaking of textbooks, you can always buy new ones at the campus bookstore but check into renting and also buying used at the bookstore. You can save a bundle with renting and buying used. You can also buy used textbooks online, but if you do, be sure to get the correct edition and not an earlier version.


Have your supplies on hand

Be sure you have a good bag to carry your pens, pencils, notebooks, electronic gear, books, a couple of snacks — think protein bars, nut bars, fruit bars, and the like, and some water. You don’t want to get hungry or thirsty on your first day, and you definitely don’t want to not be prepared to take notes should the need arise, and it probably will. If you don’t have a good bag, most college bookstores sell a wide variety of bags as well as sporting goods stores and online. You’ll find convenient online ordering at Casper College’s campus bookstore under “backpacks and bags.”


Sit up front

This may seem odd, but in fact it is better to sit in the front or closer to the front rather than in the back. In the front, your instructor can see you better, but you can also see and hear them better with fewer distractions then if you are in the back of the class. The first day of class is also when your instructors will go over their syllabus, and it is very important that you pay close attention. The syllabus is your map to what your instructor expects of you for the semester, and you will want to make sure that you don’t miss any additions or deletions to that syllabus because you were distracted in the back.


Connect with your classmates

The first day and week of classes is a great time to introduce yourself to others. These people could turn into your study buddies, help you out with notes or assignments if you miss class, or join you on team projects. Introducing yourself and engaging in some small talk is not only a great way to meet new people, but also to make new friends.
Media contact: Lisa S. Icenogle

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