The first day of Fall classes is quickly approaching — are you prepared?
Note-taking and textbook-reading aside, here’s what you need to do before the semester starts:
1. Locate your classes
On Wednesday, campus will be crazy. Add the fact you haven’t been to UF since Preview, and chances are you’ll wind up outside the Reitz Union five minutes before your class starts in the Carleton Auditorium.
So grab a map and locate your classrooms. Do an actual run through. Practicing your walk to class will help you learn how long it takes to get to various buildings. That way you won’t be super early the first day, but also, you won’t be late.
2. Map out your bus schedule
You may think you’ll walk every day or ride your bike, but this is Florida — it rains a lot. So map out all routes, just in case, because you’ll likely be taking a bus to get to your classes.
Find out what time the bus arrives at your stop, how long it stays there and what your route will be. Mapping out off-campus bus routes to get to Publix and Target is a good idea, too, if you don’t have a car.
3. Look up your professors online
Do some research on your teachers. Find out what other students have said about them. Will the class be easy or hard? Does the professor read from a PowerPoint or interact with students? Is it worth buying the textbook?
Previous students can usually answer these questions. If you don’t know anyone who has taken the course, check out your professors’ evaluations at http://www.evaluations.ufl.edu. This data can be difficult to wade through, so if you’re looking for written comments, try http://www.ratemyprofessors.com. Just keep in mind that not everyone has the same opinion as you do.
4. Buy school supplies
In general, bring a pencil, pen, notebook and highlighter to the first day of class. If your professor has emailed you a syllabus, other required supplies are often listed. Also, take a look at ISIS to make sure you know what books you’ll need.
No matter what you decide to purchase, make sure you know the return policy for the store. Some businesses allow returned items until the end of drop/add week, but others don’t give refunds.
5. Find your study spot
Among the most popular study spaces are Library West, Marston Library, the Hub, Pugh Hall and the Reitz Union. Find out which atmosphere you like the best.
Club West might be where all the “cool” kids hang out and drink Starbucks during finals, but it can get kind of loud. Marston, on the other hand, can be scarily silent if you prefer studying with background noise.
Take the few days you have before classes begin to plan out where you’ll study when exams roll around.
This story originally ran on page 3 on 8/14/2013 under the headline "Your pre-first day to-do list"