First Day of College Essentials

Happy official back-to-school everyone! I started classes yesterday, and with every first day of school comes some first day essentials. For those of you who may be heading to college for the first time this year, the first day is super intimidating, scary, and exciting all at the same time. But, don’t fret! I’m here to share my first day of class college essentials because there’s nothing worse than showing up unprepared.

College Essentials for the First Day

First off, embrace and enjoy syllabus week. Syllabus week is the first week of classes because you don’t really do much except go over the syllabus (hence the name). Your professor may mention the class expectations, whether or not you need the textbook, and other important factors for you to be successful throughout the semester.

Clearly there’s not much you physically need for that first day, but success in college comes from a lot more than just a notebook and pretty pen.


Don’t forget that student ID.

It’s your lifeline while on campus. From food to dorm access, that ID does it all so make sure you grab it on your way out the door.

Whether or not you’re going to be out and about on campus for a few hours, always keep a snack handy. You’ll thank yourself later when it’s September and you’re starving and you remember how you still have that granola bar somewhere in your bag.

I don’t know about you, but I eat constantly, and when I don’t, well let me just say hangry Abigail is not a good Abigail. Throw a granola bar in your bag so you can save yourself from those hangry moments. I’ve been reaching for these Nature Valley Protein bars because they’re high in protein, relatively low in carbs, and decent in calories!

Make sure your staying hydrated by packing a water bottle full of good ‘ole H2O.

It’s summer, the weather’s hot, and you’ll be sweating. A lot. While you may be craving some caffeine or a bubbly beverage, H2O is the way to go.


Confidence is a top priority when it comes to the first day. As a freshman, you’re probably scared out of your mind (trust me, we all were). The classes are huge, there’s so many new people, and you probably don’t know a single person. Whether you’re full of confidence or you’re faking it ’till you make it, everyone is nervous. Yes, everyone. Even the upperclassmen.

The first day of class is not the time to whip out a brand new outfit that you’re not comfortable in. You’ll be consistently worried about how you look and how uncomfortable you feel instead of focusing on having fun.

Wear comfy, weather-appropriate clothing.

I’ve had several questions about whether or not you should dress up for the first day. And honestly, you do you.

If you’re the most comfortable in sweatpants and a t-shirt, wear that. If you’re the most comfortable in a dress and cardigan, wear that. Just know that if you’re dressed up in college, people really admire you. Most of us can barely get up early enough to change into shorts and a t-shirt.

College Essentials for the First Day


Like I said earlier, you may want to hold off on buying those textbooks.

While the syllabus may say the book is “required,” a lot of the time it’s actually not. Or the professor may give you an alternative to buying the book.

I always show up to class with a one-subject, spiral-bound notebook. Some people like a 5-subject notebook and use a section for each class. It’s all really up to you and how you like to stay organized.

Make sure you bring a planner. 

You may have not been a planner person in high school, but college is a whole different ball game. There’s due dates popping up with little to no notice. Copy those dates from your syllabi to keep you on track throughout the semester!

I’m using my 17 Month Monthly & Weekly planner by Rifle Paper Co. (read my review here) and friends let me tell you A. how pretty the planner is and B. how much I love it. It’s the perfect size to pop in a book bag, and it’s absolutely beautiful.


Last year, I did  First Day of College and First Week of College reflections so if you want to see Living the Gray Life in it’s early stages, make sure to check those out! Those posts view college as a new, bright-eyed college student.

This year was a bit different.

Instead of being a bright-eyed freshman, I am a worn out sophomore straight out of residence life training. I’ve had zero time to think about classes, what I need, or the fact that my life is about to get about 10000x more stressful in the next few weeks.

My day started off with good intentions. I had planned on going to the gym for leg day at 7 am, but that did not happen at all. Instead, I opted to sleep in, which by the way was much-needed.

I shaved my legs, packed up my bags, grabbed a quick breakfast and headed out the door. So, for some reason all college campuses like to build the engineering and computing buildings on the outer-most edge of campus. USC is no different.

College Essentials for the First Day

Two computing classes later, I already have so much homework and have a ton of dates to write in my planner. Honestly I don’t know how I’m going to be able to finish this semester. It’s only the first day and I’m super stressed about it.

To end the night, I headed to our first soccer game (go Gamecocks!) which was awesome, as always. And then we hit up the student union for a night of freebies. Freebies make any night better! Now, I just have to mentally prepare myself for tomorrow’s long day of classes and the gym!

How was your first day? Are/were you nervous? Hope you have a wonderful first day of class!

~abigail gray

  • You got this Abigail, best of luck on all that hw!
    xo, Syd

    • Thank you! I was actually super productive this past weekend and got three posts out of the way and all of my homework done.

  • You got this, girl! Don’t worry, I’m sure it’ll all get better soon! Great post!

    • Thank you! I’m sure it will, too, especially when things start getting into a routine.

  • You’re gonna kick butt girl! Loved this post, don’t let all those assignments stress you out!
    Sunny |

    • Thank you! So far I’m feeling good, but who knows, by the end of this week things could be different haha

  • I’m always nervous on the first day of classes haha! Comfy clothes are the best for the first day.

    Alix |

    • I think I was definitely more nervous my freshman year than this year. Now I just come in, do my thing, and leave, not really caring what other people think. Last year I was so concerned with what other people thought of me.