Advice from the Other Side: Your First Week

Welcome back, Terriers! And if you’re a brand new Terrier, welcome to your very first week as a Boston University student.

Let’s begin by examining a very important question: What should your first week back to school or starting school look like?


One day (sooner than you think) you’ll be entering the very first week of a new job, and if you learn to prepare like a pro while at school, all of the transitions that come later will be much easier for you. And whether you’re new to BU or not, the first weeks are always a pretty big transition. Here’s what your first week (or weeks) can look like if you’re on top of your game:

Read Your Syllabi and Read them Well

You know that document that your professors hand out to you on the first day of each class? That’s called a syllabus and it’s important, so go ahead a fish it out of the trash (or find it on blackboard). In so many ways, minding the syllabus can be key to academic success because just about all the information that you need for the semester is contained within in. You’ve got book selections, due dates, test format, expectations, office hours, Faculty and Teaching Fellow contact information…the list goes on! So, take some time this week to read your syllabi and make note of all your important due dates. This can be in a planner, on your phone, on a paper or electronic calendar, but it can’t be inside your head. Make note of when your professor’s office hours and make sure that they don’t conflict with other classes; if they do, find out if your professor will see you by appointment. Doing these things now will make it much easier for you when you actually have an exam or need to see your professor—the logistics will already be taken care of.

Explore Campus and Find Your Perfect Study Spot

Whether it’s your fourth or first year at BU, you should always be looking for hidden gems on campus—I assure you, there are many! If it’s your fourth year, you may think you’ve found your perfect spot at Mugar, but have you checked out the Theology library? Did you know that CAS has a new Think Tank that’s perfect for studying? Too often, we decide where to study haphazardly, but atmosphere can make so much of a difference in helping you focus and get the work done. Maybe you need to be in your dorm room or apartment. Maybe you need to be on the 6th floor of the Yawkey Center because of that view of The Charles (I’m biased). My point is that you’ll never know where the best place is for you in terms of performance and focus if you don’t experiment and explore. Take the first few weeks of the semester to do just that!

These are just two small things that you can do during the first week or weeks of the semester. Stay tuned for tips from my friends at the CCD and never hesitate to reach out the ERC to talk about syllabi management, study strategies, or anything else related to academics. We’re so excited to see you again!

Sarah Farkas blogs for Advice from the Other Side from the BU Educational Resource Center (ERC). 

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