What Every College Student Should Do Before the First Day of Class

Sep 09, 2011

The first day of class can be overwhelming for students, particularly if they're about to start their first year of college. However, there are some steps students can take before school actually starts to help ease some of the stress.

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Things to Do Before Your First Day of College Classes

When embarking on your first day of college, you may feel as bewildered as you did on your first day of kindergarten. But if you're prepared and organized, you can make your first day smooth and stress-free. Check out this list of essential things to do and know before the new school year arrives.

Know Where the Important Locations Are on Campus

Whether it's the dining hall, financial aid office or the location of your classrooms, there will be plenty of areas on campus you'll want to familiarize yourself with. Spending some time wandering around campus before classes actually start can give you a chance to find the places you'll be going to on a regular basis in a calm situation. It will be better to find them before the first day of classes than to be rushing from one class to the next without a clue about how to get to each one.

Get Your Apartment or Dorm Room Organized

If starting college also means you're starting a new living situation, like an apartment or on-campus dorm, you'll want to be all unpacked and have everything organized before classes actually start. The start of school could mean getting pretty busy with classes and student activities, so you don't want to have to worry about unpacking on top of that.

Get Some of Your School Supplies in Advance

There are some school supplies, like notebooks, pens or folders, that you're pretty obviously going to need, so you might as well buy them before classes start. This will cut down on what you need to pick up after the first day of class.

Get a Parking Permit or Bus Pass

Be prepared for overcrowded parking lots that will leave you searching for an open spot to park. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to find a parking spot and walk to class, since your parking spot may be further away than you'd like. If you aren't driving to campus, make sure that you have your bus pass and know the bus schedule to ensure that you will get to campus on time. (And even if you walk to all of your classes, make sure you head out with ample time to spare to save yourself from having to sprint across campus.)

Shop Around to Check Out Textbook Prices

If you have your list of textbooks in advance, spend some time shopping around to try to find the best deals so you can save money on textbook costs. Once the first day of class hits, you might be under more pressure to buy textbooks ASAP to get started on coursework, which means it could be hard to find time to look for the lowest prices.

Explore the Surrounding Neighborhood

Beyond knowing about places on campus, there are going to be plenty of important places to locate off campus - your bank branch, a grocery store, the nearest gas station or even some good places to eat. During the calmer days leading up to the beginning of the semester, take a walk around and see what's in the neighborhood.

Start Getting Yourself in a Routine

Even though you might prefer to sleep late for as many days as possible, if you start getting up at the time you'll need to for class and start adjusting to your new routine, it could make it easier to get in the swing of things once school has really started. Planning your routine could also include figuring out how long it will take you to get to classes or when there are breaks you can use to get homework done.

Go Over Your Class Schedule

First, you want to make sure your schedule includes all of the classes that it's supposed to and that there's nothing on there that doesn't make sense. You'll then want to be sure you know when and where each class will be held and verify you know how to get to your classes. By looking at your schedule ahead of time, you'll avoid any surprises during the first week of classes and will have more time to fix potential problems.

Think About Your Desired College Experience

What exactly do you want your college experience to be like? By answering this question, you can start to think about anything else you might want to do during your college years and begin to figure out how to make that happen. For instance, if you want to graduate with work experience, you could start exploring potential internship opportunities. If being active on campus is important to you, you can begin compiling a list of organizations that interest you so you can find out how to get involved with them.

Still feeling stressed about the new school year? Check out these tips for surviving your first semester of college.

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