Your First Day of College is Special! Make the Most of It!


It’s your first day of college! You probably have a lot of different emotions pulsing through your veins, from the excitement for what’s yet to come to the anxiety of what you don’t yet know. And, if you’re setting up for your first day of college in a remote setting to earn your online degree, the first day may look a bit different. 


So, here are a few ways you can prepare and ensure that you have a great first day of school, no matter where you may be. And, if you’re a teacher who’s looking to know how to prepare for the first day of work, then these tips can help you, too! 



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Tips to Make Your First Day at College Great 



Practice Self-Compassion 


Remember, it’s everyone’s first day, so know that you probably aren’t the only one with first-day jitters. Even upperclassmen and teachers can feel those nerves on the first day of a new semester! 


One way to help is not to rush into everything at once. Make sure not to put too much pressure on yourself for your first day — you have all week (and beyond) to do things like get started on textbook readings, make friends, and set up your perfect study routine. 


If you need a little extra help on how to manage your time for the upcoming year, check out these time management tips for students.  



Be on Time


If you are taking classes at a traditional college (on campus), do a walk-through of your classes the day before to know your route and how long it will take you to get between buildings. Don’t be afraid to ask someone for help if you get lost.


For online classes, set up a good study area (more on that below). Double-check your internet connections. If you are attending live lectures, then be sure to log on a few minutes early to ensure there are no technical difficulties. If you are attending an online college with pre-recorded course content, then decide when the best time of day is for you to be the most engaged. 


For example, some people are more alert in the mornings, whereas others prefer to learn at night. Don’t be afraid to get unconventional and log on when it makes the most sense for you. The University of the People provides this type of flexibility because all classes are online, so students get to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule. 


If you’re sharing a living space, be sure to coordinate with your roommates or family for the day of, especially for shared kitchens, bathrooms, or cars. Make sure your family, roommate, or housemates are all aware of each others’ schedules for a smooth first morning without hiccups or distractions.



Be Prepared


If you need to be up early for classes, make sure to get a good rest and do as much as you can the night before, such as choosing your clothes, packing your bag, or setting up your workstation. Talk to a student advisor beforehand to answer any questions you may have, and don’t be surprised if you have homework assigned on your first day.


Pre-planning your meals and snacks can also be a big help. Here are some easy first-day snack ideas to keep your brain fueled:


  • Dried fruit and nuts (add in some chocolate chips, too!)
  • Yogurt with fresh fruit and granola
  • Apple slices and peanut butter
  • Carrot, celery, or cucumber sticks with hummus



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Also, before your first day, spend a few minutes writing down some goals for your first day. Goals can be as simple as being on time, introducing yourself to one person in each class, reading through syllabi. 


Don’t overload yourself with things to do on the first day. You’ll have time to set up a schedule that works in your favor as you become more accustomed to what’s expected from you. 



Be outgoing


Making friends in college can be easy — whether it’s done online or in person. The amazing part of studying online is that your classmates will come from all over the world, which leads to unique discussions and a multicultural learning environment. You may even end up making friends with someone across the globe!


If you’re on campus, take breaks between classes and have lunch or coffee in open areas where you can meet people. While it might be tempting to visit old friends or make frequent calls to family, leave plenty of time for unplanned social meet-ups because you never know who you’re going to meet. 




First Day of College Essentials


Let’s take a look at some things you can do before your first day of college to set yourself up for an enjoyable experience. 



The Ideal Workstation


Whether you’re studying from home, a cafe, a library, or elsewhere, you’ll want to ensure that your workstation is well-equipped for your perfect first day (and every day thereafter).


Take note of what environment you study best in. Whether it’s a quiet space, the perfect lighting, large windows, or inspirational art displays, figure out what you need to focus and be productive, and then tailor your workspace to fit your needs.


Here’s a checklist to get you started:



✓ Enough space


✓ Snack and coffee area


✓ Laptop, phone, or e-reader, if you prefer to read textbooks this way


✓ Close to an outlet (make sure you have your chargers with you)


✓ Good lighting (not glaringly bright, but enough to see what you are doing)




Where to Study


The fun thing about studying online is that it can be done from anywhere! You have the freedom to choose and/or set up the right study environment for you. You can even find locations with amazing views, and switch it up! Try studying in different places every once in a while to avoid getting bored with the same scenery.


Here are some ideas for where to study:


✓ At home, in a quiet area where you can concentrate


✓ At a local coffee shop


✓ In a local library or nearby college campus library


✓ Outdoors at a park with wifi on a sunny day


✓ Co-working spaces that allow free days


✓ Some tech companies such as Google and Microsoft also have open days where you can study on their campus for free!




Backpack Essentials


If you know you’ll be on the move to get to your classes on your first day, pack your bag the day before. This way, you’ll have time before you head out to make sure that you throw in any last-minute items you could have overlooked the day before. 


Also, when gathering materials for the new year, remember that you don’t have to break the bank to have the right gear. Check around the house or with friends for things that aren’t being used, such as used but high-quality backpacks, or notebooks with only a few pages penciled in. Use what you already have, it’s better for your wallet and the environment.


Here are some items to make sure you’ve got in your bag before you go:


✓ Laptop and Charger


✓ Snacks


✓ Notebook


✓Pencils, sharpened or with extra lead


✓Colored pens and notebooks if you prefer to take paper notes


✓ A good set of headphones


✓ Earplugs for noisy environments




Your First Day Awaits 


With the right amount of planning, you won’t need to worry about your first day of college. 


If you’re attending an online college and logging on from home, you’ll have less to prepare in advance since you’ll be staying home. Alternatively, if you’re heading to a remote location to log on and learn, then consider it just like your first day of college on campus (as in, pack your bags and snacks in advance).


From being on time to making friends, you can make the most out of your first day of college when you think positively and remain open-minded. 




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