There is a lot of anxiety when it comes to first day of school.  Will I like my professor?  Will there be a lot of group work?  I hope my outfit looks great.  I hope there is a hot guy/girl in my class.  Why did I pick a 8:30AM class?!?!?

Whatever your anxiety may be, I realized that there are some commonality that does happen on the first day of class.  So, here are my 7 things to expect on your first day of class….

On campus

  • Getting lost.

Although our school is less than a block long, students can still get lost.  Don’t sweat it and just accept it.  The great thing about the campus being small is that you won’t be that far away from your destination.  Unlike campus like Kapi’olani or Mānoa, which can set you back 20 minutes or more, you’ll only be like 10.  On the first day, professors are usually cool about it, just apologize, walk in quietly and quickly as possible, and just pick the first seat you see, that usually pleases the professors.  The last thing you want to do on your first day of school is to be on your professor’s hit list.

  • Ice breakers.

Ice breakers are like the dentist.  It’s scary and painful, but in the end, you end up with a nice smile on your face.  Nobody likes ice breakers, but it’s the only way you’ll ever find out your classmates’ name, major, and interests.  I use ice breakers as a way to figure out which student I could get along with, who has the same major as me, and who I can bum off notes from.  Seriously, you need someone in each class to be your go-to note taker.


  •  A detail explanation of the syllabus

Yes, it’s boring, but super important.  This is where you, as a student, can see an outline of the semester’s work and say, “Ya, I could do that,” or “Whoa, what did I get myself into.”  I use this time to really ask myself, “Is this the class I want to be taking?” or “Does this professor’s teaching style match my learning style?”  Plus, you learn the policy of being absent/late, make up tests, homework, and office hours, which are equally important to know.

  • Prepare to work!

It’s sad, but true.  Some classes dive right in to it the first day.  No easing into it.  No kumbaya, no leaving early, but BOOM….”first test next week Monday!”  In my experience, classes like Math and foreign languages (ie: Japanese, Korean, etc) usually starts right from the get go.


  • Homework already?!?

I’ve had some classes where homework was already due.  Wait a minute, what’s going on here!  Yes, it’s true.  The best way to avoid looking wide-eye and lost, go check your MyUH portal, EARLY and OFTEN.

HonoluluCC bookstore

  • Textbooks

Having your textbook for the first day of class has been a 50/50 thing.  Subjects like Math and language, yes; you need your textbooks on the first day of class (see #4).  All others subjects, not necessarily.  For me, I like to receive the syllabus first before purchasing my books.  I want to be absolutely sure that I buy the correct edition.  Since bookstores sometimes have a “non-refundable” (aka You-opened-it-you-keep-it) policy, I don’t want to be the sucker buying a book that I don’t need.

  • Keeping an open mind

Don’t judge a book by its cover.  Many times, I’ve thought in the beginning, “Oh, I’m not going to learn anything from this professor,” or “My classmates are smarter than me,” turns out to be wrong.  I, also, believe that if you have a bad attitude, nothing will change your mind about the situation.  So, here’s my advice, going to school is supposed to be about making your future brighter.  You coming to class everyday, do the work, and buy the proper tools (ie: textbooks, writing utensils, etc) are only for your benefit, not the schools or the teachers.  The end goal is getting your degree and getting a job that pays!  Life is hard, why make it harder with a closed mind?

HonoluluCC Graduation

First day of class is stressful, boring, and tiring, but 100% crucial for a successful start to the semester.  Each professor has a different agenda to the first day of class, but these are some of the common things that I’ve experienced here at Honolulu Community College.   I hope these tips will help you ease your transition from summer.  Take it from me, just come prepared (as much as you can), have a smile, and you’ll be fine.  Just tell yourself, “It’s only the first day, nothing to get too stressed about.  Stress, we don’t got time for that!”  Enjoy!

About the author:

Jennifer (right) receiving a HonoluluCC's STAR Awards.
Jennifer (right) receiving a HonoluluCC’s STAR Awards.

 Jennifer Kakio, double major in Communications and English, who started her education at Honolulu Community College.  During her 3 years here, she was a student ambassador to Passport to College, Editor to HonoluluCC school newspaper, The Ka La, and Student Media Chairperson.  Currently, Jennifer is attending Windward Community College and University of Hawai’i, Mānoa.