What You Need for Your First Day of Community College Classes

community college

Are you unsure of what you need for your first day of community college classes? In today's post, we'll take a look at some essentials that community college students should have on that exciting first day.

Back to School

Whether you're in elementary school or community college, the first day (or few days!) can be overwhelming and exciting all at the same time. With that in mind, it's easy to see how you could forget to take something--even something obvious--with you. To help you prepare for your first day of classes at community college, we've compiled a list of essentials to take along--yourself included, of course.

Community College Essentials

Community college can often be very stressful, but being properly prepared may help to keep your stress and anxiety levels down. One way to be prepared is to have the following essentials with you on your first day (and all days for that matter).

Sturdy Backpack

  • You'll definitely need a large, sturdy backpack (or other type of strong bag) to carry all of your belongings in. Even though you might not do a whole lot on the first day, you should still take everything we're discussing in this post with you. It would be a major bummer to show up for your first day of classes without something just because you thought you wouldn't need it yet. If you haven't already purchased a backpack, you can find a large selection of them online. Just be sure to read the details and reviews on any backpacks you check out; that way, you'll know you're getting a good one.


Campus Map

  • Are you attending a large community college, such as Portland Community College? If so, it might be a good idea to carry a map of the campus if you aren't totally familiar with your college's layout. You don't want to be late for any of your classes on the first day simply because you couldn't find the right building or classroom (a little embarrassing, but it happens!). If you'd rather not carry a map, perhaps you should consider visiting the campus and acquainting yourself with everything ahead of time so you know exactly where to go.

Class Schedule

  • You might think you have your schedule memorized, but keeping a copy with you is probably a wise choice because it can prevent you from showing up at the wrong class at the wrong time (also a bit embarrassing, but it happens!). Whether you take a screenshot of your schedule on your phone or carry the original paper copy, you'll feel better having it with you on the first day of community college.


  • Textbooks are the main reason you'll need that sturdy backpack we already discussed, and hopefully you won't wait until the first day of class to buy them! Although you may not need your textbooks on the very first day, you should take them in case your professor wants to go over anything in them or assigns homework. This will also let your professor know that you're prepared and ready to learn!


Notebook & Writing Instruments

  • It might seem pretty obvious, but you should have a notebook and some writing utensils (pens, pencils, highlighters) in your backpack on the first day. Chances are you'll need to jot down some notes or other important information. You can always enter notes into your phone, of course, but for most people, it's just not the same as traditional pen and paper.


  • If you want to be well organized on your first day of community college, it's good to have a separate folder for each of your classes--in different colors so it's easy to tell them apart. This allows you to keep everything for each class (syllabus, handouts, worksheets, etc.) in one place rather than all of your papers for every class thrown together in the same folder (that's just asking for trouble).


  • A planner can be very helpful when you're in community college. It lets you keep track of all assignments, due dates, other important dates, etc. There are also several planner apps available for your phone, but the problem with those is that they aren't in plain sight. When things aren't right there in front of us, we tend not to use them as we should. By having a tangible planner with you at all times, you're probably more likely to use it.


  • While a laptop might not be an absolute necessity for the first day of community college, it may come in handy--especially if you have a long break in between classes. If you have a break (or breaks), you could possibly use this time to complete any assignments or do research assigned in your prior classes. A laptop also makes it easy to access your community college's website should you need to for any reason.


Positive Attitude

  • Last but not least, you MUST take a positive attitude with you on your first day of classes! According to a Plaza College article, having a positive attitude (even through the rough, overwhelming times in life) can lead to bright opportunities, help you get a job, boost your social circle, and more. By having a positive outlook on your first day of community college, you're essentially showing the world that you are ready to knock this whole college thing out of the park.

Are You Ready?

Now that you know what you need for the first day of community college classes, you should hopefully feel a little more confident and informed. Depending on your class schedule, you may also want to pack a few snacks; these will help you get through the day without a growling stomach!

By Erin Riskey
December 2016
community college preparing for college

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