Your first week at university or college is going to be an exciting, fun-filled time.  I certainly remember my first few days, feeling excited about all the cool things I was going to learn, all the new friends I was going to make and all the amazing possibilities that lay before me.   But the truth is, as excited as I was to be at university, I felt a little overwhelmed by all the things I had to do during my first week. Like most students, I came to university with a vague idea of what I wanted, but had no real idea as to how I was going to achieve any of it.   Obviously, this was not a good way to start what would be the most important four years of my life.  Having had the rare opportunity to experience many first terms as an Academic Advisor, I can offer the following advice to help you through your first week in higher education:

  1. Plan your days.  It’s super important that you have a schedule that includes your classes and a list of tasks & goals you want to accomplish that day.  I remember wasting hours lining up to pay tuition, go to the bookstore, etc… simply because I wasn’t organized enough to find out important deadlines and organize myself before classes started.  A good tip to note is to never ever show up on the last day of anything and expect to do it quickly.
  2. Know where you’re going.  This is going to sound really obvious, but I clearly remember being late to more than a few classes simply because I didn’t bother to find out where my classes were.  If you can’t find something, it’s always good to ask!  As an added bonus, this it turns out to be a surprisingly great way to make a new friend.
  3. Get ahead in your readings & assignments.  One of the most dangerous things about first week (in terms of academics) is that false sense of security that everything will be easy since most of your classmates don’t seem to be doing that much.  But, you’d be surprised at how quickly deadlines can creep up!  So, ignore that stoner-of-a-roommate of yours and read ahead!
  4. Have fun, but don’t get too caught up in the festivities.   Always remember that you’re there to learn, which doesn’t mean you can’t go have fun.  The key to success is to find a balance between work and play.  So, enjoy the parties and get-togethers but always remember that your terms are short and you’re not there to party your way to academic failure.
  5. Figure out where to get help.  Whether you’re trying to figure out how to use the laundry in your dorm or trying to figure out that crazy math assignment you just got, it’s super important that you know where to go for help.  Despite it all, always remember that you can’t do everything on your own and sometimes you just need to ask that cute girl/guy at the laundry mat if they can show you how how to turn on the rinse cycle.  😉