Since we were young, the beginning of school was an exciting time. Now that you attend Penn State, exciting is an understatement. There is nothing like stepping onto Penn State’s campus for the first time in the fall. Stepping into your first class, however… that’s another story. To get you started, Valley has provided some tips to help adapt to the new semester.
DO: Show up to class.
Don’t get me wrong, it was hard to go to class during “sylly” week, when you’re coming fresh off a summer of having no obligations. However, the fun’s been had. It’s not a great idea to blow these first few weeks of classes off. Getting to familiar with how your professor runs their classroom, grades papers and plans lectures will help you navigate the course to your advantage for the rest of the semester. Not to mention showing up during the first weeks sets you apart from many other students who decide to sleep in and can help build a strong student-teacher relationship right from the start.
DON’T: Show up to class hung over.
Many people view “sylly” week as a seven-day long party. Though it is easy to be persuaded to go out, it is important that you don’t come to class in the same clothes from the night before. Making a good first impression with your professors can really benefit you over the course of the semester. Showing up looking like a hot mess is really disrespectful to your professor and to the students around you. To gain respect, you must give it. So take a shower, throw some makeup on and get to class!
DO: Make an effort to get to know your professors.
Professors emphasize the importance of attending office hours, but few students actually take them up on the offer. Getting to know your teachers on a personal level can be really beneficial to you in the long run. If you show them that you are a person rather than just a student, you will be treated as such. Showing up to office hours also shows that you care about your success in the class and are willing to take proactive steps to get ahead.
DON’T: Text during class.
Samantha Acri, a teaching assistant for Accounting 211, “Texting during a class period is the easiest way to tell your professor that you don’t care about the subject matter.” Your professors do not teach simply because they have to. Professors put time and effort into preparing class materials because they genuinely care about the subject they teach. The least you can do is show some interest in the material they care so deeply about. Texting during class also prevents you from learning the material. If you plan to be on your phone during the whole class period you may as well not show up.
Photo by Meghan Tranauskas