7 Ways to Succeed on the First Day of Class

The first day of class is not big deal, right? Wrong! Many students blow off this day and don’t take it seriously—and that’s a mistake. Professors and other college instructors spend the first day of class setting the tone for the class and going over the important information you need to do well in the class.
It’s also important to take the first day seriously because that helps you get into the right mindset for the rest of the semester. It’s kind of like going on a diet. If you don’t take it seriously the first day, how are you going to get into the habit of eating right and exercising more? Which doesn’t mean that diets don’t fail—and that your classroom experience won’t be a failure—but neither diet nor a college class is likely to go very well if you don’t get into the habit right away of taking it seriously.
Here’s how to succeed on your first day of class:

  1. Be there. There’s no way around this. If you’re not there, you’ll miss key information. And believe me, as a former professor, I knew who wasn’t there– and this made a terrible first impression! Nothing says, “I don’t intend to take your class seriously” more than not showing up on day one. So if circumstances dictate that you can’t be there on day one (and sometimes they do) be sure to call your professor ASAP, apologize, and arrange to stop by his or her office to get the syllabus and to chat about what you missed.
  2. Pay attention to the course expectations. The purpose of the first day is to let you know what’s expected of you in the class.The teacher will probably give you a syllabus and go over it.Knowing what’s expected of you is necessary before you can succeed—so be sure you know.
  3. Ask questions.If something that the syllabus or the professor says about the course expectations are unclear, ask questions.Don’t be shy—this is information you need to know.
  4. Be friendly.Say hi to the professor and your fellow students.I’m not kidding.Help create a pleasant classroom atmosphere from day one by being nice.
  5. Participate in whatever is asked of you.Perhaps the teacher will include an ice breaking exercise, or ask the students some questions.Do what you’re supposed to do, or you risk making a bad impression.
  6. Get a hold of required materials immediately.On the first day class, you’ll find out which books and other materials you need.Don’t procrastinate.Take care of getting what you need now before the semester becomes very busy.
  7. Do your homework.Is there a homework or reading assignment due soon?Even if it’s not due the first night, do it as soon as you can.This is a fantastic way of getting off to a good start, and also freeing up time later when you’re more busy.