3 Ways to get the most out of your first semester at college


Every college student has had the “first day of class” jitters.Sarah Lupton, Tidewater Community College, TCC, student success, Virginia Beach

You are frantically trying to find your classroom minutes before the class begins. You pass by hundreds of students- some who have that same expression of “where is my classroom?” and some who seem confident about where they are going.  

So how do you ease the start-of-semester stress? Follow these three tips:.

  1. Socialize! Getting involved your first semester at college will make you a more successful student. Your classes will have a mix of students who are new but also returning to college. Rely on the advice of returning students. Ask them about campus resources and their own college success and things they learned as a new student. They can give you tips on study habits, tutoring information, campus activities, becoming a student ambassador, parking information, student organizations, how to avoid long lines at various departments and so much more. Utilize free services such as the student center, fitness center, fitness classes, library, tutoring services, planetarium shows and other free events that will boost your academic and social standing.
  2. Plug in. Find your college on social media and look for information posted on displays around campus and regularly check your student  email. Colleges are utilizing multiple avenues to communicate with students. In the last few years, they have heavily relied on social media to post information about activities, community involvement opportunities, workshops, transfer fairs, graduation information, campus information, closures and other campus news. There are a ton of ways to supplement your education beyond the classroom in your first semester at college – and build your resume!
  3. Get to know your faculty and staff members. Build your relationships with your instructors and college professionals. Your professors can give guidance on study habits and campus resources. Arrive to class early to talk to your faculty members about questions you may have about the class and events on campus. These relationships can make you a more successful student and build a strong foundation for future success.

Don’t forget to look out for that “new” student you meet in upcoming semesters and share with them what you know about college life.

Your first semester at college can be overwhelming but don’t let it frustrate you. Many colleges offer activities and resources on campus to assist you with making your semester the most exciting semester of your college life – you just have to find them!

Sarah L. Lupton was born and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Her academic achievements include an Associate of Science in Business Administration from Tidewater Community College, a bachelor’s in Business Administration and master’s in Public Administration from Old Dominion University. Sarah has worked in various departments at Tidewater Community College since 2004 and is currently the Co-Director of the Virginia Beach Student Center. Since 2010, she has taught College Success Skills at the Virginia Beach campus.  She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Administration and Urban Policy from Old Dominion University.  She completed the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) Faculty & Administrators Leadership Academy in 2015.  Sarah is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the National Dean’s List, the Association of College Unions International and the Young Professionals Division of the Central Business District Association of Virginia Beach.


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One Comment

  1. Martha Timberlake
    January 14, 2016 at 5:31 pm Reply

    Wow! What an informative and interesting article. Ms. Lupton’s advice and insightful suggestions to first-time student’s gets to the heart of college life. It is evident in her writing that she has the experience and gives good information to help students better prepare for and succeed in their classes as well as in all campus activities.

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