Whether you’re just starting your Steinhardt experience or coming back after your summer break, jumping right into classes can be a rude awakening (or re-awakening) if you’re not prepared. Here are a few things you can do to make sure you’re ready to go on (or better yet, before) Day 1:
Know what classes you’re taking, and when and where they are.
Print out your schedule, or have it with you on your phone. Double-check Albert to be sure you’re going to the right class at the right time in the right place. Courses sometimes change locations after your initial registration.
Buy your books.
If you’re 100% sure you’re taking a specific class, don’t wait to buy or order your books, especially if you’re ordering online. You’ll have reading assignments right away and you don’t want to fall behind.
Your professors may post helpful info on Blackboard before the first day of class – check out your course sites.
Check your email.
Goes without saying. E-mail is still the most convenient way for most professors to reach out to students – make sure you’re checking (and actually reading!) yours regularly.
Figure out your organizational style.
Are you going to use a separate notebook for each class? One big ol’ notebook for all your classes? Go old school with a Trapper Keeper? Whatever style you prefer, pick one and make it work for you.
Have a pen. And paper. Or a computer. Or something. Please.
Be prepared for your classes. Don’t be that guy/girl who has to mumble to the student next to them, “Um, hey, can I ‘borrow’ a sheet of paper….thanks….oh, do you have a pen too?” C’mon folks, get it together – you should have what you need to take notes every time you go to class.
Get some sleep.
The start of a new semester is always an exciting time, and it’s tempting to stay up all night getting to know new friends or reconnecting with old ones. Be sure you get enough sleep to keep you fresh for your classes. Professors do notice if you’re dozing off/struggling to stay awake in their class – that’s an impression that can be tough to bounce back from.
Get a calendar, and use it.
You’re going to have a lot of things going on in your life – classes, exams, due dates, jobs, fun stuff. Even if you’re the type who doesn’t like to be tied to plans and prefers to embrace the spontaneity of life, we beg you to use some type of calendar/planner. Students who claim to keep track of all the dates and details they need “in their head” make us really nervous.
Your professors, your RA’s, counselors, tutors, advisors, administrators, student affairs staff, student organizations, the list goes on … they’re all here to support you and help you find your way at Steinhardt. You have resources everywhere on campus – seek them out and use them.
Devon Pryor is a Graduate Student in the Higher Education Personnel Administration Program