Surviving the First Week of a New School Year

Starting a new week of college is a crazy experience! There is so much to do, see, and learn. People often refer to the first week of classes as “Syllabus Week,” because professors often go over the syllabus in the first couple of days of the semester. Most of the time, professors try to ease you into the workload.

Since I am a senior in college, hopefully I should be somewhat of an expert on this. I have my set things that I do on syllabus week that help me set the tone for the rest of the year. I hope you find these useful and can use them, not only starting a new semester of college, but in any new area you find yourself.

  • Prepare beforehand- I don’t want to rush on my first day. That is going to stress me out if I have to rush. I like to give myself time to prepare. I’ll pick out my outfit the night before, and I’ll have my backpack ready to go.
  • Know where you’re going- As a senior, I can look at the building of where my class is and have an idea of where I am going. But that wasn’t always the case. My first semester, I literally walked most of campus and took pictures on my phone of the number signs of each of my classes that semester. That way, I had a much harder time being late. Speaking of…
  • Be early or on time- When I am going somewhere new, I always try to give myself extra time to get there. That way, I am not rushing. Also, being early gives a good impression on professors or bosses. It shows you are serious and committed.
  • Pay attention- When starting something new, it can be easy to be overloaded by information and zone everything out. However, this isn’t the time. Pay attention and ask questions when you have them.
  • Start out doing well- I see it all the time. People slack off in the beginning of the semester, and then they have to scramble to make their grades up. If you start out doing well, then you’re at an advantage later on.
  • Accept (constructive) criticism- It’s okay if you don’t get a perfect score on your first assignment. I know for me, it takes a little bit to adjust. Each professor grades differently, and what one professor accepts another will not. I had a professor who marked me down because my page numbers were in the wrong font! But let me tell you, if someone asks me to do full APA formatting, I can have it done in like 5 minutes now. Criticism that provides ways for you to be better is constructive criticism.
  • Take advantage of the easy stuff- I’m a Teaching Assistant to a history professor this semester, and in her class, she has an optional practice quiz this week. It’s worth 5 bonus points and it’s over the syllabus. I have had similar opportunities in my own classes, and I have taken full advantage of them. Easy things that will help you get situated are so worthwhile!
  • Ask for help- I’m a senior, and this is my last semester on campus. However, I have already met with two of my professors outside of class time (One of them was my TA professor, but still). If you don’t know where you’re going or what you need to do, ask someone for help! Seriously. Because…
  • Don’t have a chip on your shoulder and think the world is against you- Listen, from my conversations with professors, they want students to do well. For the most part, this is true with bosses as well. Don’t think that people are out to see you fail. That’s not usually the case.
  • Find your routine- On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays this semester, I am back and forth between two buildings. Tuesdays and Thursdays, it’s three buildings. As I get more into the semester, it will be a more developed routine, but for now I’m still working on settling back in with classes, homework, work, and free time.

So there you have it! The things I do to survive the first week of school. Best of luck on all your new endeavors!

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