Congrats! You’ve made it to your first day of class. The best way to start the day is by giving yourself time to actually get to class (the assumption is made here that setting an alarm the night before is a wise move) while also doing whatever else you need to do in the morning (eating, doing the homework you forgot you had, etc).

Some things to keep in mind for the first day include (but are in no means limited to):

  • Wear something awesome. I highly suggest something from 22 Jump Street (for example, the WHYPHY shirt is a great place to start, for no particular reason).
    • You may one strap or two strap (whatever floats your boat, given the intense debate about which is actually cooler). Heed Jenko’s “Rules of Coolness” to the extent with which you want to. Punch no one in the face (especially not before second period, or whatever the college equivalent of that may be).
  • Get to class early. Don’t get there too early, because you’ll be stuck in the halls with people you awkwardly want to avoid talking to for a very long time.
  • Don’t get to class late. If you do, everyone will stare at you judgmentally, wondering how you could have been late to the first day.
    • If you do get to class late, know that this is what everyone will be thinking.
  • Wear a watch. If you’re too cool for a watch, master the art of reading analog clocks because they’re everywhere, and are your only way to figure out how much longer you have to wait until you can stretch your legs.
    • You might be thinking “I can just check the time on my phone, because watches are outdated,” and there is something to that, as long as your phone is on silent.
  • Don’t expect to be sitting in a massage chair. I had clearly forgotten how uncomfortable chairs are in academic settings are, so I was in for an unpleasant surprise during my hours of sitting in class.
  • Stay awake. It’s the first day. You have no excuse to fall asleep. Save that for finals week.
  • You’re not in high school any more. Forget sitting in class from morning until the afternoon. This is a beautiful thing to forget.
  • Bring things to write with. Don’t assume that you can type notes in class, and just because this is the first day doesn’t mean you won’t have work to do.
  • Start the process of signing up for Birthright. It’s going to take you until the deadline to do it to collect all of the information you’re going to need about it anyway (regardless of when you intend on doing it, this rule will prove true), plus you might get a water bottle out of it.
  • Assume nothing. I failed the first step for my calc class and was tempted to engage the people sitting in the hall in conversation, but decided against it. I thanked myself for doing it because I would have made some comment assuming we were all terrible at math (“so what are you guys in here for?” or something like that), and it turns out that one of the people in the hall was one of my TAs, so that would have been a terrible way to start the course out. My instructor also easily could pass for a first year, but knows more math than I will ever learn, so keep your judgements to a minimum (but know that everyone else is making them).
  • Hope that you know someone in any of your classes. Sadly I didn’t have this going in my favor, and in science, everyone had already paired off, so I was stuck pretending how to use a microscope all by myself (I managed).
  • Find something to do in your downtime. The odds are there will be several hours of the day for you to do absolutely nothing. Don’t let it come to that. You only have your first day of college once, so walk around (or something similarly productive).
  • Make the most of it! Throughout the course of the day, I went to a poster sale (buying posters for Parks and Rec, The League, Archer, and 21 Jump Street), the first real event at the Institute of Politics (the earlier event featuring Paul Ryan isn’t real because I wasn’t at it), a football game (a televised one, to be exact), snuck into our biggest a capella concert of the year (and am now writing about all of it, which may be the best way to make the most of today!), and defended Thad Cochran’s conservatism on Facebook (not exactly a hard case to make).
    • I will give bonus points to anyone who can think of a sufficiently witty comment to make to David Axelrod about how he no longer has his trademark mustache. I personally wanted to say something about how it meant that Romney won Minnesota (for those who forgot, or who wish to pretend they understood the reference, see here) but decided against it…for now.

Even if you slept through the entire day (probably not a wise move), know that you’ll eventually have that first day (unless you never show up, in which case you’ll probably be kicked out) and that whenever that may be, you should make the most of it.



You only get one chance to have a first day of college. Make the most of it (but avoid the seal, or whatever is your campus equivalent [it will most likely be a seal wherever you go]).
You only get one chance to have a first day of college. Make the most of it (but avoid the seal, or whatever is your campus equivalent [it will most likely be a seal wherever you go]).