10 tips for surviving the first week of school

Julie Sisler

The end of August brings good and bad news. The good news: the Herald is back to print. The other news: classes are also back. After a long, hopefully relaxing summer, students might need a little help with getting back into the swing of things. Here are 10 tips to help you survive and thrive through the first week of school. (After the first week, you’re on your own again.)

  1. Print out your syllabus for each class. This gives you a hard copy to write on if professors make corrections or add important notes. It also means you can follow along without using your phone, which professors will appreciate. Lastly, it means you can trick your professors—and yourself—into thinking you’re a prepared student!

  2. Introduce yourself to your professors. It never hurts to establish a connection with your instructors. A majority of professors will be delighted to meet a student and chat with them. By introducing yourself from the beginning, you’re not only showing them that you care about the class and them, but also putting a name with a face BEFORE you need to ask them for an extension or extra credit.

  3. Choose your seat wisely. Sit near other people so you can get notes if you miss a class. Don’t sit too far in the back, or you might miss something, especially since you don’t know if the professor is a quiet speaker or not. Pick a spot where you’ll be able to see the entire front of the room and will be able to pay attention.

  4. Shop around when looking for school supplies. Do your research and find where you can get the best bang for your buck. Check out Amazon, Chegg, the WKU Bookstore, Walmart and Staples’ websites before you decide where to get your books and supplies.

  5. Start good habits. Kick off your school year by staying organized and responsible. Beginning the year with good habits can make those habits more of a routine and help you stay consistent. Stay organized in your room and study space, and practice time management with class work. Be responsible by staying on top of tasks and even working ahead. Get yourself into the best routine for academic success throughout the rest of the year.

  6. Get enough sleep. The first week of class brings a great deal of additional stress and can be downright exhausting. Get plenty of sleep at night and make sure you are well rested and ready to take on class each day.

  7. Don’t forget to eat! It’s important to keep in mind times for meals and snacks. This is especially important if you have classes back to back to back. Think ahead and pack a snack to keep you full and focused throughout classes.

  8. Be realistic. This means realizing that you can’t make it from Hugh Poland Hall up to Cherry Hall in five minutes and giving yourself plenty of time to make it to class. This also means not taking on more than you can handle and realizing your own limits. Be realistic in your planning, commitments and goals. Don’t push yourself, especially not during the first week of school.

  9. Ask plenty of questions. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your professor, classmates, resident assistant or a WKU staff member to clear up any confusion you might have. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and a great way to do this is by asking questions. There’s no shame in reaching out, and the people on campus are more than likely to be happy to help.

  10. Step out of your comfort zone. Whether you’re a freshman or senior, the first week of school is an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and explore. Wander around campus, which is always changing, and find a new study spot or attraction. Befriend someone you’ve never met in a class or strike up conversation with someone you see a lot on campus, whether it’s a student, professor or staff member. Try a new spot to eat on campus, like the Topper Grill and Pub. Visit the Preston Center, Downing Student Union or another spot on campus that offers various events and programming to give something new a try. Use this new beginning to explore and grow.

Features reporter Julie Sisler can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]. Follow Julie on social media at @julie_sisler.