Editors note: Every year, The Daily News produces the orientation guide for incoming freshman. This story first appeared in The Cardinal Field Guide printed in May 2017. To read the full issue, click here.
Where is the AJ building at again? Or is it called the atrium? Or are they connected? How long will it take me to walk there? Should I bring something? No, no, I’ll just bring myself and try to not act like a freshman. To bring the book or not to bring the book? Do I really need my planner?
Did reading that fill you with just a little bit of panic, thinking about your first day of college classes? It’s okay. We’ve all been there because we didn’t know campus and didn’t understand the difference between a teacher and a professor and couldn’t decide if we want to bring a pencil or not.
It may not have hit you yet, but in a minute you’ll be missing your bed, your shower, and of course, your parents. Classes will just add on another nice layer of stress to your first week of college. Wait though, don’t go crawl under your newly bought twin XL comforter yet. We’re going to do this, together. Chirp, chirp and all that.
First things first, stop grabbing everything in America and putting it in your backpack. I had no idea what to do or what to bring so I did, and brought, everything. You don’t need to do this, I promise. For the first day of class, bring just the essentials: a notebook, something to write with, maybe a snack because nutrition is important, and your planner.
For all that is holy, do not forget your agenda. If you can’t get one right now, make a makeshift one. This will be your holy grail of college until you graduate to layout all of your assignments, due dates, and reminders. Never used one before? Better start now or this first week is going to take you down.
Now that you have a light backpack and you’re in your first class, I have two things to tell you. One, listen. Seriously, this isn’t a trick. Put your phone down and actually listen to your professor. Lucky for me, I did this and learned quite a lot about my course and my teacher in my first class.
Second, let’s talk about the syllabus. This will be the key to success to each one of your classes. I wish someone would have told me just how important this thing was because life would have been so much easier. Every class has one and to save yourself unlike I did, read it. Seriously, at the end of your first day, sit your bottom in your desk chair and go through with a highlighter because the most important stuff about your course is enclosed in those pages. Many of them list due dates, extra credit assignments, and just about everything you need to know about your course.
What I’ve told you has started you out but let’s expand a bit shall we? If you haven’t bought books yet, wait until the end of the week and ask the teacher if you really need it or not. This one simple question will save you both time and money. For me, I bought every book on the recommended list and ended up not using half of them.
After your first day, take a notebook, the book for the class (if you end up needing it), and a writing utensil to each class and you should be good. You can add needed materials as you go rather than start out with more stuff than you need. Pay attention to Blackboard for assignment updates.
Do your homework. Participate in class. It’s simple really.
Do you want to know how I know a complete stranger can pull through their first day of classes? Because we all did it and pretty soon you’ll be one of us. So use that new freshman glow and excitement to your advantage and kick butt on your first day.