Mary Dishigrikyan is a fourth-year Psychology and English student at UCLA. She is a logophile with a passion for puns and Disneyland.
Ever wonder what your first day of college might be like (assuming you haven’t gotten there yet)?
Here’s how it starts.
- You’ll put on about 5 alarms, give or take, for fear that you’ll miss your first official college-level course as an actual college student. Maybe you’ll hit the snooze button on the majority of those alarms, because one of the most common mistakes students make in their first year in college is scheduling 8am classes. You’ll think to yourself, “Why, why, why did I do this to myself?” It’s okay, though. It’s during your first year that you have the chance to make all the mistakes you’ll eventually end up learning from. You’ll get up, get ready, and may or may not forego comfort in favor of looking your absolute best for class, because you never know who you’re going to meet in a general education class of 400 students.
- You’ll leave a bit early to allow yourself time to find your classrooms because, seriously, some of the buildings on campus are built like a maze. This is probably in order to give students the extra challenge on top of their academics. It’s like the cherry on top of a very stressful and at times unmanageable ice cream sundae.
- You’ll diligently take notes for some classes, and in others you’ll sit back and relax because you believe it’s just a review of all the things you learned in high school (Spoiler alert: it’s never “just a review.” Everyone teaches things differently. Always take notes, unless your memory is exceptionally amazing). In most of your classes, you’ll doze off, because all the professor really needs to do that first day is hand out the syllabus and repeat verbatim what’s written on there. Yawn. (You’ll learn this soon enough, and stop attending first days of class altogether.)
- When you doze off on your first day, you might find yourself thinking things like, “Is it normal to miss my parents, just a teensy bit?” and “I wonder what my archenemy from high school is doing. Is (s)he enjoying class or is (s)he as bored as I am?” You’ll look to your right, you’ll look to your left, and you’ll think, “So…am I supposed to say something to these people? Isn’t that weird? Won’t they be annoyed? When did being social become so…complicated?” Some classes will start out particularly difficult and you’ll wonder, “Geez, is anybody having as much trouble as I am right now? Should I join a study group today?” Additionally, you’ll probably be bewildered by half of the class population. There’s that one person who won’t stop asking questions, there are the poeple all the way in the back of class who are building up their reputation as the Class Nappers, and then there are those who, for some reason, are texting people way too early in the morning.
- Between classes, you’ll push and shove through crowds of people rushing to class in a desperate attempt to grab the last first-row seat available. You’ll think to yourself, “Are people always this forceful?” And the answer is no, not always. It’s only during the first week of classes, and right around midterms and finals when people are significantly sleep-deprived.
- Also between classes, you’ll grab a quick bite to eat in the student center, where you’ll see a friend that you met at orientation. You’ll talk to each other about how interesting your classes are so far and how excited you are about how the rest of the year will pan out. If you didn’t already know about them, you’ll learn about all the Welcome Week activities being thrown and plan to go to an event or two that you were invited to on Facebook by a not-so-close-friend.
Here’s the trend you’ll realize during your first day as a college student:
Most of the time in college, you’re actually…*gulp* alone. You’ll walk to class alone, you’ll sit in class alone, you’ll study alone, your roommate will go home often, by default leaving you in the dorm alone often…college starts out as one of the most solitary experiences in our lives. However, it’s important to keep in mind that your first day is not indicative of what the rest of your days will be like. No matter how your first day unfolds, it is always up to you to decide how to continue. That is to say, college never has to be as bad as it has the potential to be. Your not-so-close friends will seem to be a common trend at first, but when you think about it, isn’t this how all of our closest friends start out? As distant ones? And then, if you allow it, they’ll slowly just kind of immerse themselves into more of your daily activities, contact between you guys will steadily increase, and before you know it these will be the people that you do everything with. That you go everywhere with. These are the people that somehow are always there when you experience a first. Your first frat party, your first midnight premiere of a critically well-received film, your first road trip.
The first day of college is a breeze for some, and a flurry of chaos for most, but the most comforting thought to have is knowing that one thing will be constant throughout your college career if you allow it to be (two things, if you never change your major). Those are your friends. Classes will be hard, studying will be stressful, professors will degrade you, and you’ll reach, like, ten thousand breaking points during finals. Your friends, however, are the ones who keep you sane, take ridiculous-sounding classes with you just to alleviate your loneliness, and introduce you to some of the best times of your life. No matter what, don’t let first days get you down. Introduce yourself to people, go to events, sit next to people in class, and open up. Do all that, and your days will only ever go uphill.