Whether it’s your first day of college or your second year of graduate school, the first day of a new semester is always nerve-wracking. There are so many thoughts running through your head – with trying to memorize your new schedule and making sure you at least have a pen to write with. While walking through the hall, it may seem that other students have everything together, but trust me – they don’t. Everyone gets anxious – especially on the first day of the new semester. Here are a few thoughts that I had on my first day.
“Hopefully none of my professors changed their already-assigned classroom…”
This seems to happen every semester. You have already checked your online schedule to see what building and room all of your classes are in. You make sure to park near said building, get to the classroom and there’s a note on the door. The note reads something along the lines of, “MEDA 111 Thurs 11:20-2:15 will now meet in MH Room 211”. Now you find yourself walking to Main Hall from a completely different building and are late for your first day…thanks, professor.
“I wonder if I’ll have enough time in-between classes.”
So, you’ve scheduled some classes back-to-back. Your first ends at 2:30PM and your next starts at 2:50PM. It seems like a wonderful idea on paper but sometimes, when it comes down to the actual day, it just isn’t enough time to get from class to class. Sometimes the classes are in different buildings (which you could never know at the time of registration) or sometimes you’re starving and need to grab a quick snack before your afternoon class. Suddenly you don’t have enough time. While there are other times that scheduling back to back works perfectly. It’s a luck-of-the-draw type of situation and you won’t know until that very first day.
“What if there’s no parking?”
As a commuter who attends a small, overcrowded college – I know this pain all too well. There’s no way that you can arrive 10 minutes before class starts because you spend at least 20 minutes trying to find a parking space. And this anxiety is heightened on the first day because there’s no way you want to be late. You cannot be labeled as the “late kid” for the rest of the semester. So, while you leave your house way too early, you think about this on your drive to school.
“Imagine we start Chapter 1 instead of just going over the syllabus…”
It is safe to say that it’s a college wide consensus that this is the worst way to start the semester. You are all prepared to do introductions and go over the syllabus, hoping to have an easy day, and then the professor puts Chapter 1 up on the projector. You aren’t prepared mentally or physically because you planned on taking a nap after class ended early. It may be the beginning of the semester, but you need all the sleep you can get.
“I hope I have enough time to get coffee before class.”
Like most college students – caffeine runs through my veins, all day every day. While making your schedule you think “Okay, a 10:30AM isn’t that bad. That way I get out in the afternoon and have the rest of the day to myself.” This again, looks good on paper, until you wake up at 10:15AM and don’t have enough time to get your daily latte without being late to class. It’s important to have enough time to get coffee, especially during midterms and finals season. However, with coffee shops like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts offering free apps, you can easily order and pay on-the-go and partially eliminate this uneasy thought.
“I have no idea what ‘fun fact’ about myself I’m going to tell the class.”
Let’s just be honest, introductions are both awkward and dreadful. The professor starts off with giving their introduction and then has everyone go around the room to tell the entire class what their name is, their major and a “fun fact” about themselves. Personally, there are few things that I hate more than this because I never ever know what to say. No matter how much I think about it on my way to school, I can never come up with anything worth saying. And it’s not because I’m bland, it’s just because I don’t want to share anything personal with strangers. This makes even the most carefree students anxious. Since ice-breakers are pretty common, ease this anxiety by picking one good fact and using it in all your classes! But most important – don’t overthink it. Use up that brain space for something that actually matters, like how you’ll fit a 15-minute nap in that 30 minutes before the next class.
You may think you’re the only person who still gets nervous at the beginning of the semester, but we are all in the same boat. If you have any of these thoughts, you are not alone. Share some of your first day thoughts with me in the comments section below!