The first week of classes, AKA “syllabus week,” is usually a hectic one. It’s filled with searching for classrooms, buying textbooks, and panicking about how much work I will have (maybe that last one is just me?). Syllabus week is also a great time to start the semester off on the right foot.
One thing I like to do at the beginning of each semester is to make a master list of assignments, presentations, exams, and due dates for every class. Having all of those listed in one place lets me see which weeks will be particularly busy, and which weeks will be more relaxed. Knowing what’s coming ahead of time helps me feel prepared and also helps me limit procrastination.
Another thing I do is look around my classes for familiar faces, or make friends with people I haven’t seen before. Part of the reason is I do this is that it’s nice to know my classmates. The other reason is that I never know when I will have questions about assignments, want help studying for an exam, or need notes from a class I missed. If I know someone in my class, I won’t be stuck bugging the professor with quite so many questions.
Finally, I try to make the best impression possible my first week. I try to get to USG early, in case I have trouble finding a classroom or hit unexpected traffic. Nobody wants to be known as the person who was an hour late to the first class! On the same note, the first class is a great time to clarify class policies with professors. Will they expect me to participate in every class? Am I allowed to use electronic devices? How do they prefer to be contacted? Asking questions like this during the first class (if they aren’t already listed in the syllabus) prevents me from inadvertently violating a policy and getting on a professor’s bad side.
Do you have any suggestions for having a successful first week of classes? If so, be sure to let me know in the comments.