How to survive the First Day of Classes

Here is a tip that should be stated before we begin: Classes in college are different than in high school. You may be saying “Well DUH, I knew that” but it needed to be said again. Here are 5 generic tips that can be used from semester to semester.

1. Don’t be intimidated by what the professor may put on their syllabus or may say during the first class.
Every semester I’ve had some professor who tries to intimidate us by assigning numerous readings, projects or state things such as “The person to the right and left of you will drop this class”. Nine times out of ten, they end up sticking the class out. Remember to stay organized and you’ll do fine.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask if you are in the right room.
As I am entering my senior year of college, I still ask if I am in the right room. There is no harm in doing so.

3. Take some notes down, even if the professor just goes over classroom management details.
Sometimes, even the most routine items will be forgotten. Take them down just in case.

4. Establish a place to study.
Even if this place is your own room, set up a place where your supplies will be ready to go for all projects and studying time. Maybe even set up a study group with 1 or 2 other students in your classes. Don’t wait until the first weekend to set a place up, do it on the first day!

5. Relax.
Don’t stress over the small stuff. A lot of professors don’t start on time, just in case students get lost. Take your time, enjoy the ride, and have fun along the way.


Look to The Freshman Survival Guide chapter 10 for some more tips. Chapters 11-14 are good as well for tips on getting good grades and how to stop procrastination, things that can definitely ruin your first day of classes.


  1. My advice for the first day of class is to be on time. I tend arrive late more often than I arrive early. However, I make it a point to arrive early for the first day of classes.
    *Know your location. Getting there early ensures you have enough time to find the right building, room, and accommodate for any last minute changes.
    *Get a Seat. You also get first dibs on your optimal seat for learning; I never liked sitting in the back of the class nor on the first row. Arriving early allows you to choose a seat rather than being stuck with whatever seat may be left. Some classes have students anxiously awaiting the professor to sign them into the class, because the class was full and they could not register for it. Do not give up your rightfully registered seat to someone who may not have originally been in the class.
    *Don’t be the example. Some professors feel the need to make a point the first day. Do not give the professor a reason to call you out in front of the entire class.
    *Know thy self. Often times professors like to start a new class with a introduction activity. Be prepared to talk about yourself, who you are, where you are from, major, and my favorite a fun fact about yourself.
    *Learn expectations. Reviewing the syllabus is the best part of the first day of class. This is where you learn what you really HAVE to do rather than what is suggested in the syllabus or online. You learn about the books you need to buy, you may pick members for your group project, or you may learn about schedule changes….you don’t want to be the only one to show up when the professor goes on vacation.

    Enjoy your first day. The first day is best day

  2. How to survive the first day of classes? Going to class is a great start! Some colleges will actually drop you from the class if you do not attend the first day or the first week.

    Another way to survive the first day is check out where your classes are going to be before hand. So you are not wandering round the campus lost and end up missing your first class.

    Don’t be afraid to say hi to people in your classes. They are probably just as nervous as you are. This is a great way to meet new people. I met one of my best friends this way. We had a huge 200 people biology class together. She sat down next to me. We introduced ourselves and I invited her back to by dorm to grab lunch at the local dining hall.

    Like Megan said above. Don’t stress and enjoy the ride. Its just beginning 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *