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A guide to making it through this hectic day

Darren Sharp | Fulcrum Staff

Photo by Justin Labelle

BACK IN ELEMENTARY school, the first day of class was always both an exciting and scary event. What would you wear? Who would you sit with? Would you like your teacher?

Newsflash, freshmen: Nothing has changed. The morning of your first class—or afternoon, if you’re lucky—is going to be filled with apprehension. The concerns you had at eight years old are the same concerns you’re going to have at 18—with a few grown-up twists, of course.

With that in mind, here are some tips to ease those first-day jitters.

Find your classroom before the morning of
While you’ll probably be busy during frosh week making decisions you’ll regret the entire year, take a half hour at some point to find the exact location of your first lecture. Looking up the building online is not enough; put down the vodka Crystal Light and make it happen. Don’t be that student who stumbles into class 45 minutes late because you got Morisset mixed up with Montpetit.

Choose your class friend carefully
This is the eternal student dilemma: Who do I sit with?  This decision is no less important now than it was in first grade. The person you choose to sit beside today will likely be beside you the entire semester, whether you like it or not. Much is at stake.

The most important factor in choosing a class friend should be their note-taking ability, as this is what you’ll rely on them the most for. This is admittedly hard to judge off of a simple glance, so show up early and make conversation with potential candidates while you wait outside the classroom. A good class friend will seem genuinely excited to be there. A bad class friend will reek of last night’s party and appear eager to log on to Reddit or Pinterest as soon as his or her laptop is open. Use good judgment.

Read your syllabus
One of the first things your prof will do when you enter the room is hand you a syllabus, which is just a fancy university term for a course outline. Read it. Immediately. This cannot be stressed enough. Flip through those pages and you’ll find everything you need to know about what you’ve gotten yourself into: a topic calendar, the textbooks you’ll need to buy, how you’re going to be graded, and so much more. Knowing all these things right out of the gate will keep you from being completely overwhelmed when it’s October and suddenly you have seven essays due in as many days.

It’s okay to dress up
Looking good on your first day is not just for kids. You’re going to be surrounded by people who will be with you for the next few years, so why not dress to impress? I’m not suggesting you suit up or wear your best gala dress at 8:30 in the morning, but you’ll be shocked at how quickly your classmates will fall into the habit of stumbling into class in a hoodie and sweatpants. Let the hallowed first day of school from your childhood remain sacred by putting a little effort into your appearance for this special day.