Happy Friday! Today marks the end of my first semester back in school and boy was it a busy one. I had a couple of younger students ask me about tips for the first week of school and I thought it would be a great blog post to share with my student readers. This is my 1st Week of School Checklist - things that I do my best to accomplish during the first week of classes.
Go to class | This seems obvious, but in reality most people choose the first week of class to skip their classes because professors normally don't cover most material. This is true. But, professors do normally state important facts about the class and their expectations. This is also the best time to make a great first impression, introduce yourself to your professor, and get a good feel for the class while you still have time to change your schedule.
Read the syllabus | Again, this normally happens on the first day of class with your professor leading the reading. However, I make sure to read the syllabus myself and make sure I understand the course requirements and what it takes to get the grade I want. Having a good understanding of the syllabus can also help you later in the class when the professor may try to propose something that was not originally in the syllabus, possibly violating a school policy.
Add important dates to your planner | After reading the syllabus for each of my classes, I always go through the due dates and test dates and add them to my planner. I am surprised that more people don't do this at the start of the semester, but it makes life so much easier. Instead of trying to keep up week by week, you'll already have the entire semester planned out and you can plan your other life activities accordingly.
Stay on top of your email | I think I got about 300 emails this week. People are always super productive at the beginning of a new year and a new semester, meaning more emails. But it's important to check your email regularly during the first week of school to stay notified about class announcements, organization announcements, or important messages from your campus. Here are some tips for email management.
Don't over commit | This is something that I had to remind myself of during this week. Don't over commit. The start of a new semester means tons of new opportunities - internships, organizations, leadership roles, events, parties, etc. And of course we want to do it all. But we can't! It's easy to fall behind with classes if you over commit yourself during this first week of school. It's also a recipe for stress and unhappiness. Remember that saying "no" is ok, and you can always get involved in things once the semester settles down.
Dress for success | I'm guilty of dressing down for class on days when I don't have work. But during the first week of classes I try to make a great first impression and this means looking presentable for all of my classes. You won't ever catch me wearing heels or anything that extreme to class, but I do stray away from Nike shorts, leggings, and sweats during the first week. Dress for the kind of career you want.
Smile and network | During the first week you're not only making an impression on your professors, but your classmates as well. I'm always very friendly during this first week and try to meet anyone in my class I don't already know. My program is pretty small so I know the majority of the people in my classes, but it's great to visit with them and catch up during the first week back. I also make sure to have contact info for a few people in each of my classes in case I have a question about classwork, want to study with them, or miss class one day.
Set goals for the semester | Setting goals is a very important part of my first week back at school. I set goals about how I want to perform academically and also set personal goals and achievements that I want t accomplish during the semester. I normally write these down somewhere so I can be reminded of them throughout the semester.
Feel free to leave other suggestions in the comments
I hope you have a happy and successful semester! :)