Preparing for Classes to Start
Coming to college is one of the most exciting and yet terrifying experiences any late teenager generally experiences. It’s a new world away from parents, friends, and familiar environments. Before classes began, there is usually a few days in which the university gives students a chance to get used to their new school and community. A lot of new students look at this as a time to live it up now that they are on their own for the first time. Others may struggle with homesickness. However, whatever you do during these free first few days, also use the time to get ready for the start of your classes (the whole reason you’re in school). Knowing how to prepare for your semester and being ready to tackle this new journey of college classes can be scary and overwhelming, but hopefully these few tips will make the preparing process a little less intimidating.
Learn the Campus – If you go to a small school this may only take a few hours, but if you are attending a large university this will take time. Many schools have different designated sections of the campus for different academic majors, living, dining, recreation, and so on. It is important to know where you will be able to eat, exercise, and study before classes start and college gets into full swing. Using the first few days at school to get a feel for the entire campus will be very beneficial.
Map Out Classes – On top of learning the campus, before classes begin it is a really good idea to map out your class schedule. You don’t want it to be the first day of class and have no idea where you are going or what you need to be doing and end up missing class. Walking your class schedule a few days before school starts will help ease the first day of class stresses because you will know where you are going as well as allow you to see how much time is needed in order to get to various buildings on campus. Generally other new students need to do the same, so ask your new friends and roommates to join the fun in finding your classrooms. It would give you a chance to get to know them better.
Make a Schedule for Yourself – Remember you are coming to college to receive an education. Start on the right foot by organizing yourself and your life. Make a schedule of you classes and weekly to-do’s and post it somewhere, or in multiple places, where you will see it often. On top of this, make a weekly study schedule that plans out times in advance to study for different classes. For example, if you have a break from 2pm to 4pm on Tuesdays between your biology class and math class, why go to the dorm and sleep or hangout when this is a prime time to knock out Friday’s weekly English paper that is due in a few days. By knowing what your weekly schedule is going to look like and having a study schedule planned out to make sure all your work gets done, life will be much more organized and the result will be less stress overall and better grades.
Wait to Buy Organization Supplies – This may sound crazy, but I have experienced a few semesters where I went and bought a variety of different school supplies before classes began and realized the professors wanted all my information in one notebook or a certain way and had to go buy different supplies. Staying organized and on top of your work in college is a game changer. So after the first day or so when you have a feel for the course, go buy the necessary organizational supplies. And then use them! Rarely do the students who stuff everything in their backpacks and not use a planner to keep up with assignments make the same grades as those who are organized and on top of their work.
Buy Textbooks You Can Return – Often freshman will buy every book their professor has on the class book list only to show up on the first day and hear the professor say, “We are only using two of the four books on the list.” This can be frustrating as well as a huge money pit if you cannot return the books or get a refund. After my freshman year of college I found that I needed to wait until I attended the first class, or at least wait to get the syllabus to really know what books I needed to buy and which ones we were not going to use. Sometimes professors will even tell their classes that it’s okay to share their books with each other, again another way to save money.