First day jitters, most students get them. It’s the first day of class, your palms are sweaty and you are repeating the room number in your head as you go to the first lecture of many to come. You sit in your chair hoping, along with the rest of the class, that you will only go over the syllabus and then leave early to meet with the friends you haven’t seen in months. You have to relearn how to sit still and focus after a long summer of movement and fun. The professor begins to talk about all the unsurmountable mountains of homework and material you will be expected to have a firm grasp on by the time Christmas break comes around to save us all.
All these expectations and challenges stand in front of you in the form of a professor. You start to wonder how you will be able to achieve your goals for this chapter of your college career. It is understandable to be nervous on the first day back to the life as a college student. For some of us, it hits harder than others and for some it seems to have a minimal effect. As a senior, personally, first day nerves have always been a part of my college experience. I may no longer have the nerves that stem from uncertainty as I did as a freshman. However, I do still experience a milder version of the first day jitters, but it stems from a different source.
As my college years have gone by the feeling caused by the first day moved from fear of the unknown to fear of what I knew would come during the semester mixed with excitement to see what some of my favorite professors will throw at me this year. For some students, it seems that nervousness is a plague they are immune to all together. If there was a vaccine against over thinking and nervousness, I wish I had it on my first day of freshman year for sure.
For the few freshmen and the veteran seniors who stroll into class without a care in the world, just count your lucky stars. But for the rest of us, I am here to tell you all that it gets better and there are some tricks to make the first day/week less stressful. I am sure a fair number of students can relate to being a bit anxious and there is no shame in that. College is a high-pressure situation from start to finish with a lot of rewarding moments sprinkled in.
One of the most helpful lessons I’ve learned from the first day is not to compromise comfort for the sake of style. Maybe you and your friends went shopping before school started and found the cutest shoes ever. They make you feel like you look like Beyoncé, but trust me, by the end of the school day you will definitely feel like cutting your foot off. Having a killer outfit without feeling like it is killing you is best so you can focus on starting off the semester on the right foot. Secondly, I’ve learned to always be prepared to take notes on the first day. There is always that one professor who decides to start the class material on the first day instead of just walking through the syllabus. It may only be one day of notes but it’s not fun to start off the semester a step behind.
Lastly, I suggest you bring a snack. Nothing can calm the nerves like a good ol’ Reese’s peanut butter cup. So on the next first day, take a deep breath and enjoy it all as much as you can.