What To Do Before the First Day of College

College Life with EmmaGrace: Part 1

Happy Monday! Did you have any fun plans for this week, or did you just plan on getting some work done Good news is that I don’t have too much homework yet, which hopefully means that I will have some time to relax and hang out with friends. Oh, and bullet journal of course;)

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BREAKING NEWS: I am really excited to introduce a new type of post to you: “tips and tricks.” My goal is to turn this into a mini series, where I share different college tricks/hacks each week. This is my first time trying this type of post, so please bear with me! Also, if you have any type of post you want to see, please feel free to leave a comment or email me at anytime. You can also fill out a form at the end of the post!

#1. Get your room done right away

With COVID restrictions, you probably won’t have much time to move all your stuff into the dorm (if you’re reading this at a later time, you can skip the next couple sentences). In my case, we had three hours for parents to move us in, then they had to be out of the dorm room. To add on, it was a very staggered move in, meaning my roommate and I weren’t able to move in on the same day. This makes it extra crucial to have everything packed neatly. Make sure everything is in a suitcase or bag, so you can carry everything in the room easily and in fewer trips. Once everything is in the room, start to unpack. Hopefully your parents are able to help you start hanging everything up, which is probably the most difficul part of setting up your room. It may seem easy to put everything off, but trust me it helps to have everything hung, your desk set up, etc. Once your bed is made and you have some pictures on the wall, you will feel so much more at home. Try to organize all your clothes and food as well, then you won’t have to do it at a later time and it eliminates some stress from your first week.

  • PRO TIP: if you start off with everything organized and your bed made, you are much more likely to keep it that way. Try to KEEP everything organized as long as you can because it is so much easier to maintain organization than to not clean the room until it is insanely messy.

#2. Go outside and make new friends

If you read #2 and said “yikes,” don’t worry: it’s very common. While you may just want to stay in your room and go on your phone, trust me it will be so much better if you go out and meet people. My best recommendation is to go somewhere with your roommate, so you have someone to make you a little more comfortable. With the circumstances(social distancing, masks, etc.), it is even harder to make friends and get to know people. Start with something simple like asking someone to sit with you who likes like they’re alone. Chances are, they’re looking to make new friends just like you are.

#3. Organize your classes

Write down everything you know about your classes in a planner or notebook. Bonus points if you can put it in a bullet journal ;). This can range from the class teacher, number, building, and location. Usually, you will have your professor’s email on your schedule, and this is a great place to keep it. It’s so important to keep track of what days and times each class is. There are a few ways to do this, the first is making a timed schedule of the week. You can do this by writing out the hours of every day, and writing each class in its assigned hour. The second way is make a notebook section for each class, and include all the information about a class you have. You can do this in a bullet journal if you are really crafty, otherwise just write it in a lined notebook. You will want to make sure that you leave some extra room below each class for information teachers tell you on the first day, such as their phone numbers. If you really wanted to, you can write your important assignments for each class here as well.I have both the schedule and information section in my bullet journal, and will include them in next weeks blog for you!

#4. Recognize you’re not alone

Here’s the truth you’ve been waiting for: you are doing the exact same thing everyone else is, and you have the same feelings as them too. Whether you’re a freshman or a senior, leaving your family is hard. Everyone around you is trying to adjust just like you are, and they may be struggling even worse than you. Whether you’re totally excited to leave home and be somewhere new, or it totally freaks you out, you will get homesick at some point. As a freshman, it’s even worse because you’ve probably never been away from home this long. Trust me, I am experiencing that right now. Your roommate feels the exact same way, and so do thousands of others all around you. If you can recognize you’re not in this journey alone, it will make you feel so much better. Go and talk to someone about how you are feeling, whether it be a friend on campus or a staff member. If it’s a friend, they will more than likely tell you they’re feeling the same way and you can strategize together. Staff members can be helpful too because they have seen so many other kids go through being homesick, and know how to help you get through your first week and beyond.

#5. Familiarize yourself with the area

Pay attention if you’re directionally challenged like me, because this is even MORE important. Before you start the first day of class, it is so crucial that you get familiar with the campus and the buildings. If you have some extra time, explore the town you’re living in: find the closest grocery store, gas station, and your favorite fast food place. If you can’t do that before class starts, no worries, but DO make sure you at least find your classes. First, start by either writing down or printing off your schedule, with all the rooms and buildings included. Kudos to you if it’s already written in your bullet journal. Furhtermore, a really important item is a map of the campus, whether you have it printed out or bookmarked on your phone. Locate all the buildings you have class in and circle them on the map (a lot easier if you can just get it printed). Write the room numbers on the map as well. Then, you should go into all the buildings and walk to each of your classes, in order, starting with Monday morning. If the buildings are locked (most of the time they will be open) and you are unable to walk to each individual class, make sure you know the room number and leave yourself a few extra minutes to walk to each class on the first day. If you can find a building layout somewhere online, that can be really helpful as well, so you at least know what side of the building to go to. Once you have all the rooms down, just walk to each building one more time like you’re going from class to class. No need to go into the buildings again unless you feel like you need more practice with it. Lastly, find all the resources that you might need on campus, such as the library, dining halls, and campus safety.

Just be aware that if you’re on a bigger campus, it might take a few weeks to get into the groove of things. If you follow these steps, at least you will have gotten an idea of wehre evrything is before classes start. I would recommend leaving early on the first day no matter what because we all get tripped up sometimes.

If you didn’t make it through #5, here’s a more condensed version

  1. Print out or write your schedule with room numbers. Make sure you have a campus map too.
  2. Locate all your buildings on a map
  3. Physically walk to each classroom
  4. Walk to each building one more time (don’t have to go in)
  5. Find other campus resources
    • Dining halls, library, safety office

Final Words

If you’ve made it to the end of this post, congratulations! I hope these tips prove helpful to you as you embark on your journey! If you liked this style post, let me know! If you didn’t, or you have any other suggestions, feel free to let me know in the message box below as well! I hope you have a wonderful week!

As always,

with love,


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