You've stocked up on orange and navy clothing (it's ok, everyone does it), you've printed out three copies of your schedule and even set it as your cellphone background (no shame), you've met your roommate, now what? During the hustle and bustle of move-in day and all the chaos surrounding it, it's hard to remember that the reason you're on Grounds is to, well, take classes. We've all been there. In the next couple of days, take some time to prepare for your first week of college classes to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible and you have fewer things to worry about.
Get a planner (and use it!): For the first few days of your first year, each dorm should be stocked with *FREE* UVa planners - take one! By keeping track of everything going on around Grounds - your classes, orientation events, and so much more - you'll find yourself a lot less stressed as you can plan ahead knowing what events are happening in the upcoming days (and trust us, there will be SO MUCH happening in your first few weeks at Uva!).
Buy a couple of notebooks: If given the choice, most students will choose take notes on their laptops; however, some UVa professors prefer that their students take notes by hand. Before you know which professors allow laptops, come to class prepared to take notes in a notebook. After you've attend your first lectures, you'll know what to bring to each class to ensure you get the most out of your professors' lectures.
Read your syllabi: Overwhelming at first glance, your syllabi can actually end up being one of your best friends all semester long. Familiarize yourself with the course materials, assignments, exam schedule, and even your professors' contact information.
Plan to attend (at least a few of) your professors' office hours this week: Even though you won't have too many questions on course material after the first lecture or two, take advantage of having a little more free time this first week and introduce yourself to a few - or better, all! - of your professors in their office hours. As mentioned above, professors often print their contact information and availability on their syllabi, so mark down those office hours in your planner and make it a goal to attend as many as possible.
Make a list of all the books you need (but don't buy them all at once): It's always a good idea to look up what reading materials are required for each class (search for your courses and the corresponding textbooks on the UVa Bookstore website), but often your professors will tell you exactly what you need and don't need to buy in their first lecture. Take a look at your course syllabi and purchase only the books used in the first few weeks of the semester. After that first lecture, purchase the rest unless your professor reveals that the material can be found online or that certain books aren't required.
Walk through your classes: Explore Grounds and get to know your roommate a little better as you walk through your schedules before classes begin. Knowing where your classroom buildings are and how long it takes to walk from one building to another will make you much more comfortable come the first day of class!
BREATHE! Don't let the unfamiliarity of college life stress you out. The first semester of college is all about figuring out how things work and meeting incredible new people who will make this big transition much easier. Don't worry if you get lost or are late to a class or two this week - you're learning the ropes and your fellow Wahoos are here to help you along the way!