So college starts again soon. Like, really soon. My sister has a countdown until she moves in – she has 25 days. However, a lot of people don’t really think beyond the whole “school is starting up again aaaaaaaaaaaaah” panic to figure out exactly how they’re going to handle that first week back. It’s an important week – starting off strong will give you a good foundation for the rest of the semester.
How should you do that? It’s funny you asked, because I’ve been spending some time thinking about my own plan off attack. Here’s how I’m going to be handling Week 1:
Know where you’re going. If you’re a freshman, do what you can to figure out exactly WHERE, in WHAT BUILDING, and on WHICH FLOOR, all your classes take place. Don’t be the person to sit through half of a class you think is Bio 105 before you realize it’s actually Econ 213. Walk your routes from class to class. It will be super helpful, I promise!
Get syllabi figured out early. Many teachers will have general project and paper deadlines on their syllabi, which will usually get put up online a couple days before class starts. Print out those syllabi or put them on your computer and bring them to class! Then put all the deadlines and such into your planner, so you don’t lose track. Most professors will remind you about stuff, but I’ve had a couple that will give you a reminder three weeks before, and then the class before, and that’s all. Don’t be the person who misses one class and shows up to find there was a test they didn’t know about, just because you didn’t read the syllabus.
(Don’t be meeeeeee.)
Figure out plans of attack for long term projects. You probably won’t have any semester long projects as a freshman, but juniors and seniors, this is for you. Know how you’re going to approach that practicum/thesis/seminar paper. Put time in your schedule to work on it regularly. It deserves more than three days of work, and you deserve better than the hell those three days would be. For my thesis, I’m going to be spending about 4 hours a week at the library for the first half of my semester, then moving up to 6 the second half. I shouldn’t need to do more than that, if I stick with it.
HAVE A SCHEDULE. Oh my GOD do schedules help. I would forget my own birthday if it wasn’t on the schedule, I swear. If you can’t schedule huge blocks of time for studying, that’s okay. If you need to schedule every single thing in your life, that’s fine (I certainly do). I will never ever ever stop repping for schedules – they help my disorganized disaster brain know what it’s supposed to do, so I don’t get paralyzed by decisions and end up staring at the wall listening to the Adams Family theme song on repeat.
Be flexible. Keep to that schedule I mentioned like 86% of the time. However, when someone asks you to go with them to a trampoline park? GO TO THE TRAMPOLINE PARK. If someone wants to do a late-night ice cream run? DO IT. Your schedule will recover, but trampoline parks are gonna get sued out of existence eventually, probably. If a unique opportunity comes up that won’t completely kill your GPA or whatever your long-term goal is, try it.
Be willing and able to meet new people. I don’t care who you are, your first two weeks on campus every semester are a GoLdEn time to meet new people. Talk to people next to you in your classes. Join a new club. Keep your dorm room door open if you’re home (note: I do not recommend this for apartments). Friends are great, friends will help you get through stuff, and classmates will help you study. Meet people.
Have a backup class in mind. There’s a 75% chance that during your college career you will go to the first or second day of a class and you will realize you absolutely DETEST it. If you can, dropping this class and taking a different one will make life much nicer. Have an alternate class that you could sub in if one of your classes completely sucks butt. You will thank yourself for it.
Your first week at school may feel scary, or exciting, or you might not feel anything much at all about it. But keeping these things in mind helps me get through it intact, relatively calm, and on time, which is all I can really ask for. Good luck!