Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What-To-Know Wednesday : Prepping for the First Class

 Picture this:

You're fresh off a nice long's a brand new semester. Yes, it's great to be back with all your freedom and friends in your second home, but there's one little thing poking incessantly at the back of your mind.... have four new classes that you'll be attending for the first time this week.

You've heard that a certain class isn't necessarily difficult material, but it's a lot of work.
You've heard that a certain professor is super nice, but not so nice of a grader, or vice versa.
But regardless of which rumors you've heard, you're probably wondering the same thing across the board: how do I come prepared for a class when there's nothing due, and how can I stand out to the professor this early in the game?

Essentially, it comes down to what you bring, and what you do. (These will all ensure that you're as at-ease as possible on a quintessentially stressful day, and they'll also be an immediate hint to your professor that you're on it and ready to hit the ground running.)

1.) Check the Booklist Over Break

 You never know what your professor might assign straight from day one, so it's best to be moving back in with all the required books for your classes.

Some students choose to buy them at the St. Mike's bookstore upon return, and others order them over break and ship them to school. Both are acceptable options...but if you want to be hitting that first class as ready (and ready-looking) as possible, your best bet is to order those books as early as possible over break, pack them up, and have them at your immediate access when that first class rolls around Monday morning. (You'll have enough to do moving back in, so you'll be glad that you don't also have to go pick up your books.)

The easiest way to track down that often-elusive booklist? Mosey on over to the St. Mike's website, search "booklist", and that very first result should lead you to the most recent version. (Make sure the appropriate semester is at the top of the page!)

From there, you're just looking for your class section along the left side. Once you find your section and the books listed beneath it, your best bet (if you're online shopping) is to search for books by their ISBN (it'll be right there on the list), just to make sure that you're getting the exact edition/revision/cover-art/various other specifications that your professor will be going by.

** I've found that the best deals are typically with used books on Amazon. Plus, you can make a student account that guarantees you free 2-day shipping on your books, and they'll buy them back from you once the semester ends! (Just search "textbook buy-back" on Amazon once you're ready to return!)

2.) Bring Everything You Normally Would

You should be going to your first class with all the supplies you would bring to the 35th class: writing utensils, a planner, a notebook/folder/binder/all of the above, any required books, and any assignments that may have been given over break (rare, but it happens. Remember to check your St. Mike's e-mail over break for any messages from professors!).

This way, you'll be prepared for any notes to be taken, handouts to be given, or assignments to be assigned. And believe me, most professors assign at least a little bit of work after the first class. (But no worries, we're talking minimal.)

3.) Etiquette, People!

And, of course, don't treat the first class like a flimsy syllabus-overview/meet and greet. The main thing to take away from this post is that the first class isn't a freebie or an uphold the same class "etiquette" that you would for next week's classes, the week after, etc.: come on time and be engaged. Treat it like any other class, between what you bring and what you do. This will ensure that you're as well prepared as possible, kicking off your semester to a roaring start!

Be sure to stay tuned for Sum-It-Up Sunday on the 18th!

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Instagram: @claire_cavanaugh
Twitter: @CavanaughClaire

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