How to Beat First Day of College Nerves

college nerves, first day of semester nerves, scared for college, scared of first day of classes
Dearest reader,


Sorry not sorry for all the college posts the past week! School starts in a little less than a week for me, and by sharing my wisdom with you I’m preparing (procrastinating) my own upcoming semester. Today I want to give you some advice on how to beat your first day of class nerves. 

The first day of college classes are so scary! You are already overwhelmed by moving to a new place, being thrust into a ton of freshman activities, then BAM…classes start and you don’t know if you’re ready. I understand, I’ve been there. I was so scared I’d miss a class because I accidentally went to the wrong classroom or miss important information because I didn’t know it was important to write down.

But your first day shouldn’t be scary, it should be fun and amazing and a great learning experience! By preparing for your first day and understanding what’s going to happen in your classes, you’ll less nervous and more ready to start the semester off right!

Pack your bag the night before classes start

Make sure all your laptop is charged, your notebooks are ready, and you have plenty of sharpened pencils and backup pens. Dani Dearest has a great post on what she carries in her college back pack, and I totally agree with everything she says! I would also include chapstick and a water bottle or drink of choice to carry around with you. You never know when you’ll get thirsty or need some chapstick to get you through the day!

If the syllabus is available online, print it out and read it before class

Highlight due dates and any important information like assignment instructions. When reading the syllabus, if you have any questions, write them off to the side. Bring this with you your first day and if the professor doesn’t go over that, ask. A lot of students might have the same question and will appreciate that you thought to get more clarification on it.

Check your email

I had a professor email the class two weeks before we were supposed to start. This email included a long to-do list of things we needed to complete before class even started. It’s important to get into the habit of checking your email at least once a day, if not more. Professors will cancel class at the last minute, and believe me, you will hate it if you get to class only to find out it was cancelled and you didn’t have to use the energy.

Pick out your first day outfit

I’m not into fashion, really. But I love picking out clothes to wear for special things, like the first day of a new semester. Your outfits these first few days are how your professors will see you for the rest of the semester.

I suggest wearing something comfortable but not immediately heading for your sweats drawer. A nice pair of tennis shoes (you’ll do a lot of walking), some leggings or shorts, and a nicer shirt will do the trick just fine. Do remember to take into account the weather! I hate getting caught out in the rain without an umbrella, and simply checking my weather app before I leave my apartment can avoid that.  Here’s a post about good outfits to wear to class.

Wake up at least an hour before your first class

Especially the first day, you don’t want to be late. Make sure you think about how long it will take you to get ready and how long it will take you to travel to your class (see tip below). I like to get to class 5-10 minutes early to get a good seat and maybe talk to a few of my friends if I have any in the class. Plus this time is great to go over the notes you took last class for a quick refresher. When you figure out how much time you need to get ready, what time you want to get to class, and how long it will take you to get to class, you can then have a time you need to be awake by.

Find all the buildings and rooms for your classes the day before they start

When you’re doing this, think about how long it will take you to get to that building from your dorm room or library. Some classes are a three minute walk on campus, while others are a ten minute walk. Calculate this and plan on leaving 5 minutes earlier than that, just in case something pops up. You’ll be early to class almost every time, even if you have to run back to your room because you forgot something (which I did constantly my freshman year).

Pro-tip: make a mini map of campus and keep it in your back pack. This way if you get lost or need to meet someone and you’re unsure of the location, you have easy access to a map.

Pick how you want to take notes

Oh, the amount of ways you can take notes! There are so many. You can take notes on your laptop. Typing them out is very quick and you get a lot more information down. The down side to this is that it has been proven that students who type their notes instead of handwriting them retain less information and don’t do as well in class. Plus, if you get to class and your laptop is dead, you don’t really have any other option if you forgot your charger. So it’s a bit of a double-edged sword.

If you do decide to take notes on your laptop, you should decide if you want to take them on Google Docs or Microsoft Word. Both are great programs and I love them both. They also have their pros and cons.

Google Docs, you can access from anywhere. Waiting for a bus on the way to class? Bring up the app on your phone and start rereading your notes. On the other hand, if you don’t have internet access, you’re SOL (Student Outta Luck).

Microsoft Word saves and you can keep it for as long as you like, but you can’t access it anywhere. So if something happens to your laptop, you’re again SOL.

You can also handwrite notes. This is how I like to take notes in classes. You can use a notebook, looseleaf paper, a binder. It’s really up to you how you take these notes. With handwriting them, you can also use fun highlighters to pinpoint crucial information. They have a ton of cool ones, from neon to pastel, that you can buy in stores or online.

If you have any questions/concerns, talk to the professor after class or email them

Sometimes, you have a very specific question that will only apply to you. Instead of telling everyone in your class about something in your life that you would rather remain private, talk to the professor after class or email them. Professors love to get to know their students, and truly want them to do well in the course. If you’re unsure of something or want your professor to know about an illness that you have, bring it up privately and let them see what they can do for you.

Read these posts also to help you on your first day of classes!

Because I’m not the expert of everything, I’ve compiled a list of a few other great articles that will really help you your first day of classes. These college bloggers really know what they’re talking about!

16 Tips for Navigating the College Classroom Pt. 1

16 Tips for Navigating the College Classroom Pt. 2

First Week of College Checklist

First Day of Class Essentials

Your Guide to the First Day of College Classes


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Check out these posts also!

What 1st Generation College Students Really Need to Know

The Introvert’s Guide to Flourishing in College

How to Choose Your College Major


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