General Education

The Ultimate To-Do List for Your First Day of College

The Ultimate To-Do List for Your First Day of College
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Lauren Drewes Daniels August 12, 2014

When you first start college, learning everything about being a freshman can be overwhelming. Follow this simple list, and soon you’ll be the coolest and most well-adjusted kid on campus!

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The first day of college is an important one, yet it’s easy to walk away from it feeling a bit overwhelmed and a little lonely.

Hold tight, like any worthwhile adventure, a little planning and forethought will get you a long way. Below are a few suggestions that will help you ease into your first day, make new friends, and get on track for academic success:

Keep Tweets and Updates to a Minimum

You’re going to make some of the best memories of your life in college, but one thing is for certain, none of the stories will start with, “I remember that time I was updating my status.” Don’t use your phone as a social cloak, passing bits and bytes with the tip of your finger while missing what’s right in front of you. Put your phone down and engage.

Go to the Cafeteria

Eating isn’t just for sustenance; it’s also a great social bridge. Grab a turkey sandwich, take a few deep breaths, and crash a table. It’s hard to put yourself out there at first, but it pays off the next time you walk in and see a smiling face or two.

Meet Your Neighbors in Class

Some professors might set aside time during class for a big round of “Hi, my name is …” introductions. If not, make an effort yourself. You can start a study group or have a classmate let you know what you missed in class by making it a point to connect with your classmates. Plus, it’s a great way to meet new people.

Get Organized

No matter the size of your high school, college is like getting called up to the big leagues. And you’re going to need to up your game accordingly. Randomly tossing papers in your backpack will no longer cut it. Invest in binders or folders and stay organized from day one.

Your New Favorite Word: Syllabus

Pay special attention to your class syllabus, which lists every important date and detail for the semester. Give your syllabus the same attention you gave your first driver’s license: study it, cuddle it lovingly, know it by heart, and never lose it. It’s your road map to success.

Eat Healthy

As you’re getting settled into your newfound freedom, which includes being the master and commander of your meals, make sure to locate a few healthy food options in the cafeteria and only allow yourself a cheat meal on occasion.

Find A Physical Outlet

Whether it’s a brisk walk around campus, an intramural league or a yoga class, find a way to move. Most campuses have gyms and exercise classes that are free for students. You’ll function better if you’re taking care of your whole self, body, and mind. Exercise is also a great way to relieve stress.

Promise You’ll Join At Least One Social Group

If you’re a long way from home and left many of your old pals behind (good for you!), make a promise to yourself to find at least one extracurricular or social activity. Whether it’s a tennis league, painting class, book club or chess society — find something. You’ll meet people with similar interests and the rest is fabulous history.

Find A Few Good Study Spots

Don’t limit yourself when it comes to study environments. Your dorm room might have too many distractions (or be too conducive to napping). Scout the campus for different places. Obviously there’s the library, but what about that set of cubicles in the biology building next to those huge windows? Seek interesting and new places to study, as they might stir your creativity and sharpen your focus.

Find Peace and Quiet

After sitting in classes all day, then studying for several hours, you might very well find yourself in need of a snooze, which you certainly deserve. A power nap can refresh you for a few more hours of productive study. If your room is too noisy, find a cozy nook elsewhere to lay your head down for a few minutes.

Find Your Advisor’s Office

News flash: You already have a great friend at college, and it’s your academic advisor. Every student has one. The advisor’s job is to make sure you have a positive and successful experience on campus. They are your advocate and primary contact for academic success. If you’re overwhelmed, struggling, or in any way questioning a class or path, go talk to them ASAP. They’ll know things you don’t, they’ll have ideas that you haven’t thought of – it’s their job. They’re there for you. Seek them out.


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