Welcome back everyone, and if you are a freshman or transfer student, welcome to UIC!
So first things first—Congratulations on surviving the first week of college! I must say, I was a bit nervous during my first week of classes (even though it is my second year at UIC!). I didn’t know what to expect from many of my courses when Monday morning rolled by, and I was a bit scared for many reasons. However, by then end of the day I soon learned that I had nothing to worry about. After visiting my classes, reading over the course syllabus, and meeting my professors, the nervousness quickly wore off. All my professors seemed very nice, and it was wonderful to see how excited everyone was to start off the new semester.
Now, I know that the beginning of the semester may be a stressful time for many people, but I am here to assure you that things will get better! While getting used to the new college atmosphere may be hard at first, I want you all to remember that we shouldn't forget to make the best of everything—try to have fun when experiencing this change! Some things that you may encounter during your first week of classes is a tough schedule, intimidating professors, difficult course work, and perhaps even challenging homework assignments. But today, I will talk about ways in which you can overcome these challenges.
To make things a bit easy for you all, here is what I suggest you do the first couple weeks to help get used to the college environment:
Get to Know your Professor: You may feel a bit intimidated by your professor or the course that you are taking the first week of school, but remember, you are not alone. Many professors may seem a bit tough at first so that students don’t slack off right in the beginning. You will soon see that your professors genuinely do care and really want you to succeed. If you have questions about the course, don’t be afraid to ask. Get to know your professor and see when their office hours are so you can go introduce yourself.
Stay Organized: Now that you have your syllabus from each of your courses, be sure to mark down all the important dates in your calendar/planner so that you can be prepared when it comes time for big deadlines. As soon as I got my syllabus for each class, I made sure to mark down all my exam dates so that I know exactly when to start studying. Staying organized in college can really help your transition and will make things a lot easier for you in the future!
Make time for homework: It is very crucial to make time for homework so that you do not get behind. If you are used to simple papers, multiple choice exams, or even small projects from high school, you would be surprised with the kinds of assignments you will get in each of your classes in college. Some classes may require extensive time out of the class to work on special projects, homework, or other assignments. Whatever the case may be, make sure to find time during the day to dedicate to your homework.
Learn to manage your time wisely: It’s crucial to master time management in college because due to the wide gaps and flexibility in your schedule, it can be easy to fall into time-wasting traps. As a college student, it may take time to master the skill of time management. It may be hard for you to fit everything in your schedule, but if you are someone who constantly plans out their day, set weekly priorities, and finish all your important assignments before the due date, you, my friend, will be successful. Learning to master time management is worth the effort because it makes life easier and fun! (To read more about various time management tips and tricks, read my previous blog post: here).
Create a to-do list: Creating to-do lists may be helpful when learning ways to manage your time better. College students are busy people; this means that with a lot of things on their plate, you may not have enough time to do it all. So when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed, I like to make to-do lists. This helps me see everything that needs to be done in the near future so I can use my time wisely. Plus, it always feels good when you check something off your list!
Make New Friends: Making new friends in college can be an intimidating experience. But if you want to make friends in college, all you have to do is remember that everyone is just as nervous and scared as you are. Joining clubs and organizations apart from classes can help you meet new people which will ultimately help with your transition.
If your first week was stressful for you just remember that the second week is now here. By the end of this week you’ll be more familiar with the campus and have begun to get in the routine.
That's it for now, good luck with the rest of your semester!