Professors expect more than mere attendance on first day

The first week of school is a great time for students to learn many aspects of the course such as exam accommodations and how the course will run for the upcoming semester. (File Photo by Hannah Hunsinger | The Collegian)

Walking into your new classroom on the first day can be nerve-wracking. New professors with new expectations can leave everyone from freshmen to fifth-year students questioning what to anticipate.

The first week of school is the time for preparation, according to Kyle Ross, economics instructor.

“Get prepared for how the semester will lay out,” Ross said. “Get your schedules all lined up.”

For some classes, the first week of school is a time to find out when exams are scheduled. Ross also said this is the time to talk to your professors about exam accommodations and conflicts.

“Get everything squared away the first week so we’re not scrambling close to the exam,” Ross said. “Everything works a lot more smoothly the earlier in the semester we get everything taken care of.”

Two important keys for the first day are going to class and reading the syllabus. Ross said students often come to him with questions that could easily be answered just by reading the syllabus.

Going to the first day of class is not just an expectation from professors. K-State has an attendance policy stating that “an instructor may drop a student from any or all components … of a course if the student is absent at the beginning of the first class period of any component of the course.”

Another question students often have walking into class is whether their professors expect them to come prepared with their textbooks. Ross Jensby, K-State alum, said he believes younger students in college tend to be more prepared out of naivety.

“Once you realize not all textbooks are created equal as far as passing the class is concerned, you’ll put off buying your books until a week into the semester,” Jensby said.

Jensby said the first day of class is when you figure out how necessary the textbook really is. He said he had experiences in his undergraduate career where professors actually asked who had bought the book, which can be a sign to go out and buy it.

“It sometimes creates the awkward showdown with a professor asking who has bought the book,” Jensby said. “I think one professor actually made us hold our books in the air.”

That being said, professors expect more of students than simply attending class with your textbook on the first, or any day, during the semester.

“They expect more than just a cheek in the seat,” Pat Bosco, vice president for student life and dean of students, said. “Our professors, who are some of the most prepared, caring and brilliant you would find anywhere, expect you to be in the moment, engaged and focused, personally committed to being open to new ideas, having the strength to be challenged and willingness to be taken outside your comfort zone.”