Congrats freshman! You’ve made it! …to the day before classes start. Did you think we would leave you hanging once NSO was over? We considered that option, but decided in the end that, gosh darn it, you deserve it! Didn’t Amy G tell you you’re Penn’s best and brightest?
So here you are: everything you need to know to avoid the dunce cap on your first day.
1. Don’t Bring All Of Your Textbooks
Relax, kid! The first day of classes is not the first day of classes, per se. It’s more of a meet and greet where your professor tries to communicate that they’re one of those “cool” professors by making it rain with syllabi, playing a funny youtube video, and then shrugging with a look that says “that’s all I got”, followed by a few upperclassmen high-fiving and packing their stuff up like they’re on a super toy run.
If a professor does try and tell you to turn to page 270 on day one of class, drop the class immediately. You deserve better, girl.
2. Arrive Five Minutes Before Class Starts
Five minutes is just enough time to carefully position your fountain pen, moleskin notebook, and iced coffee in a crop-circle attractive arrangement on your desk, creepily dart your eyes across the room in search of potential mates, and appear ready and eager to learn— but less so than the dweeb who got there ten minutes early.
For the love of Jesus, do not show up late to your first day of class. In addition to miffing the prof and the guy who thought he had an extra seat to store his stuff that he now must abdicate for your butt, it will only create unnecessary anxiety for yourself. And as a freshman on your first day of class, you’ve already got plenty of that.
3. Wear Real Clothes
You might be operating under the assumption that college is a four–year catwalk of Coco Puff–stained jammies and fuck-you sandals. It isn’t. Everyone has their off days– but save yours for exam season, when you’re judged by your notes and the noise your jewelry makes when writing instead of your pullover. For the professor’s sake at least (who is contractually obliged not to show up in a onesie and Uggs), show some respect.
4. Don’t Introduce Yourself To Everyone Within A 10 Seat-Radius
Its harmless— even polite— to say hello to the people sitting on either side of you. But NSO is over, and with that should also end your ravenous hunger for meeting new people. Depending what class it is, it’s also likely to be full of upperclassmen who have a laundry list of regrets and excuses as to why they’re in Math170— none of which involve making friends.
If it’s a writing seminar or another freshman-heavy course, don’t be shy about being friendly. Class friends can share such special things as lunch dates in Houston and notes. Just don’t approach a 10 a.m. class like your first hall meeting.
5. Don’t Ask For Permission To Go To The Bathroom
If you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. But don’t interject into a spirited discussion on the nature of art with “Can I go to da batroom?” You will sound like a toddler. Making as little noise as possible, just walk out the door. The same applies to nosebleeds, distracting sneezing, vomiting, cute dogs outside the window, etc.
The professor won’t gape in horror at your impudence. Your fellow students won’t be gobsmacked by your daring. The universe won’t fold into itself when your foot touches non-classroom ground. Welcome to adulthood! Perks include not having to announce to a room full of strangers when your bladder is taxed.