Back to School 2013: Six Tips To Nailing Your First Day

With Labor Day behind us and summer “officially” coming to an end, it’s time for college students to head back to campus and start hitting the books. From fresh-eyed first-years to seasoned seniors, the first days of classes always prove to be a challenge: in one day, you have to go from weeks of rest and relaxation to a daily academic grind. To avoid a rocky start, follow these steps to a blunder-free first day!

1.  Know where your classes are. It may seem obvious, but check where your classes are going to be held. Too many times, students (myself included) walk in late to their first class, with embarrassed looks on their faces, as the rest of their classmates look on. If you’re unfamiliar with the campus, grab a map and some walking shoes and give yourself a mini tour, scoping out the buildings and classrooms you’ll be in for the next few months.

2.  Check the class website — there may be homework due! It’s a grim reality, but yes, some professors do assign work to be completed by the first lecture. Familiarize yourself with your class’ websites, take a peek at the syllabi, download class lectures and start filling in your iCal or planner with important academic dates, like midterms, paper due dates and finals.

3.  Don’t be afraid to talk to your neighbor. Your next-door (or next-desk) neighbors are in the same boat as you, attending the same lectures, completing the same assignments, readings and papers. Chat up the people sitting next to you; it’s a lot easier to survive in a class when you have study buddies!

 4.  Bring your laptop to class. Though you may expect a basic overview on your first day, many professors quickly breeze through the introductions and head straight into the course material. Have your fully-charged laptop or tablet (or, if you’re old-school, notebook and pen) at hand so you can take down notes.

5.  Schedule a visit to your college or departmental counselor. While it doesn’t have to be on the first day, definitely drop by the office of your academic counselors early on in the year! If you’re confused as to what classes you still need to take to complete your requirements and don’t want to be caught by surprise when graduation rolls around, it never hurts to ask the experts!

6.  Find your niche beyond academics! Though you may be in school to get a degree, don’t drown yourself in academics; it’s all about balance! Head over to the clubs and activities fairs during the first weeks of classes and go to any meetings or events that pique your interest. It’s a great way to meet new people and to get yourself engaged in something outside of the classroom! College is one of the most opportune times to discover more about yourself, don’t let it go to waste!

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Back to School Guide 2013 | College Regrets

When it comes to the question of how to make the most of your college experience, there is no “correct” answer. Everyone’s experience is different and valuable in its own right. However, there are those instances when we look back on our time as undergrads and think, “I wish I could’ve…” The Audrey Magazine staff, although all have great college memories, share about the things they wish they got a chance to do during their undergrad careers. If nothing else, hopefully it spurs you on to take full advantage of your college experience and the unique opportunities available to you at this time in your life.

Not studying abroad has been one of the biggest regrets for multiple Audrey staffers.  One of our editors explains:

There was an English study abroad program that was essentially studying Shakespeare in London. It was described as a mixture of Literature and Theater and if you know anything about me, thats basically riiiiiight up my ballpark. Unfortunately, I had already taken the classes that satisfy that requirement prior to hearing about this program. My suggestion is to really look into study abroad programs. I always assumed that as an English major, I wouldn’t find a study abroad program that would fit my requirements. Obviously, I was wrong.”

Budgeting time between family, old friends, and the constant excitement of a completely new college environment also cropped up multiple times with our staff as something they wish they had managed better.

“I regret the way that I managed my time with my family. When I went off to college, I was experiencing an entirely new lifestyle. I was living on my own, creating new friends, having new experiences, etc. My family completely understood that I was too busy to call and to come home often, but it wasn’t until I graduated that I found out how difficult it was for them. In hindsight, I realize that while I was in college having the time of my life, they felt like they had just lost a presence at home. Even worse, I had lost a family member during this time and I definitely regret not putting in enough effort to contact them all on a daily basis. A phone call isn’t all too hard after all. “

“Sticking with my group of friends/one org for 4 years; it would’ve been nice to branch out and meet more people!”

“I usually make the effort to call my parents everyday, but I never regularly checked up on my friends who I’ve known since like childhood or middle school. I guess I got around to thinking more about the friendships I cared about and needed to put more effort into when I found out one of my friends was depressed and suicidal.”

College is also a good time to learn to be responsible with your finances, as one of our editors found out.

“Not paying attention to my finances. I didn’t go on shopping sprees or anything, but I’d forget to pay the credit card bills, eat out for every single meal, continue to pay for expensive cable for months after we stopped watching it. College is a good time to develop good spending habits.”

Another common regret among our staff and one of the best tips for all you soon-to-be collegiates is to appreciate the opportunity you have to attend college and just enjoy the ride.

“Not taking the time to let everything sink in. College passes by FAST and even then that’s an understatement. If I could do it all over again, I would take more time to just walk around campus on my own and really take it all in. Its easy to get distracted by everything going on, but sometimes it helps to slow down and appreciate the privilege/opportunity of just being there.” 

Mostly I regret not making the most of where I am. Things like not getting to know some really cool people or not taking advantage of weekends to travel.” 

“Sometimes I also regret taking my classes for granted. Yeah, we always complain, but in the end it’s a real privilege to have learning as your sole obligation.”

“I’d have to say the one thing I regret about college — other than my crazy dorm roommates freshman year — is not appreciating my time in college enough. Looking back, I really had a great college experience — one that was good for me at the time. All my bills were paid, I traveled, I made great friends, my love life was always interesting, I studied hard and had a lot of good, clean fun.”

Get the Look for Back to School | Asian Models Edition

Sure, it may be the middle of summer, but in less time than you might realize, school will be back in session.  Though the thought of hitting the textbooks and late-night study sessions can be a bit of a downer, some back-to-school shopping may lift your spirits.  For this upcoming school year, ditch the college co-ed uniform of leggings and a t-shirt and take some cues from some our favorite models’ off-duty style.

 

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The first Asian winner of Ford’s prestigious Supermodel of the World contest shows off an easy, but put together look in her basic shift dress. Pair one with a low-rise, cut-out ankle boot — comfort and style in one! As for your books, a tote is a great alternative to the traditional backpack — and we love this polka-dot shopper from Target (inspired by Hyoni’s shopping bag!)!
(1 – James Perse, Woven Shift Dress; 2 – Emma Louise London, Feather Ombre Shift; 3 – See by Chloe, ; 4 – Ecote, Cut Out Lace-up Ankle Boot; 5 – Merona, Dot Tote Bag)

 

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Channel this Vogue Nippon cover girl’s cool, but quirky Parisian chic by pairing a simple skater skirt with a striped tee and a top-handle purse with lots of personality. But while we love Kiko’s ankle-strap heels for night, they’re clearly not campus-friendly; when heading for your classes, throw on a pair of sneakers in a bright, neon color for a fun burst of color.
(1 – T by Alexander Wang, Linen Stripe Tee; 2 – Topshop, Black Seamed Skater Skirt; 3 – Marc by Marc Jacobs, Too Hot to Handle Tote; 4 – Zara, Combined Sandal with Stiletto Heel ; 5 – Superga, Classic Cotu Sneaker)

 

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Take on the monochrome look like Park Ji Hye and pair an eye-catching blouse with a pair of well-fitted jeans and classic ankle boots. A navy blue messenger bag is the perfect complement to this black and white get-up (and the perfect carry-all).
(1 – Bonne Chance Collections, “The New Girl Blouse”; 2 – Zara Combined Blouse; 3 – Forever 21 Striped Georgette Shirt; 4 – Cambridge Satchel; 5 – Topshop Angeles, “Western Boots”)

 

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Another simple, but stylish piece to have is the romper or playsuit. Take cues from this Filipina model and find one that nips in at the waist. Worn with classic sneakers and with easy hair and makeup, it’s a no-fail, frill-free look.
1 – LOVE; 2 – Rag & Bone; 3 – Topshop; 4 – Keds; 5 – Aldo
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One of the stars of this year’s Fall/Winter Chanel campaign, Soo Joo shows us how to wear statement jacket. Make sure the rest of your outfit is neutral, so when the jacket is draped over your shoulders, it draws just the right amount of attention.
1 – Dorothy Perkins; 2 – Puma x Hussein Chalayan; 3 – Suno; 4 – H&M; 5 – Zara; 6 – Carven; 7 – Lanvin

 

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We’re in love with this simple, yet fashion-forward outfit from Liu Wen. Pair a structured skirt (or in this case, a skort — yes, shorts that look like a skirt) with a loose-fitting boyfriend tee. As for your footwear, while the Lancome model opts for leather ankle boots, we love the idea of a heavy sole leather sandal as a comfortable way to add edge to the outfit.
(1 – Monki Lerima Top; 2 – Zara Culotte Wrap Mini; 3 – Zara Two-tone Bowling Bag; 4 – Zara Mini Office City Bag; 5 – Topshop Fran Heavy Sole)