Guide to the First Week of Classes


headshotLet me introduce myself before I give you the low-down on what to expect during your first week of classes at the Warner School.  My name is Claire Del Monte and I am a first semester Master’s student in the Higher Education Administration program here at the Warner School.  I’ve lived abroad in both France (Bonjour!) and Austria (Servus!) and studied international affairs as an undergrad at the George Washington University.  My passion for all things international led me to the Warner School, where I hope to apply my experiences to the field of international higher education.  I just started working as the Graduate Assistant in the Admissions Office here at Warner and part of my job is to tell you all about what it’s like to be a student here.

hallway at Warner

As a new student who has had a bit of a break since undergrad, I was both excited and nervous for my first week.  Luckily, the first week of classes at Warner can be characterized as welcoming, warm, and all about getting to know your professor, classmates, and the syllabus.  Expect to share basic information about yourself and make sure to have a “random fun fact” in your back pocket.  The professor will set the expectations for the semester, as well as ask you what your expectations are for the course, and you will have a chance to ask any and all questions you may have about the readings and assignments.

Tips for a Great First Week

  • Assess your assignments! As you get each syllabus, make sure to keep all major assignments from each course in mind so that you can get a sense of your workload throughout the semester.
  • Bring a snack! Classes are over 2.5 hours long and will include a 10 minutes break to take care of your basic needs and stretch your legs.  Most professors are fine with discreet snacking in class as well.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak up! If you have questions about the course, most likely someone else in the class does too.  There are really are no silly questions.
  • Get to know Blackboard! This is code for the website which you log into with your NetID.  Each course has a portal with its syllabus, readings, and assignment drop boxes that you will need to become familiar with.  Additionally, Blackboard has a lot of helpful links on the left hand side like course schedules, financial aid, bus schedules etc.  This is also where you can access the library’s search engine and databases.
  • Have your materials! Make sure you have your books, as reading assignments will be due for your second class.
  • Learn the alphabet soup! Now that you are in a specialized field, there will be many professional associations that will be referenced and serve as resources for your time at Warner and beyond.   For example, in Higher Education, there is NAPSA, ASHE, AERA, and more.  Each of these associations hosts conferences that your professors will likely attend (and cancel class to do so).  Students can be members and attend as well for discounted rates, so now is a good time to start thinking about whether it would be beneficial for you.
  • Take advantage of Writing Support Services! Writing Support Services offers workshops that start the first or second week of classes that are really helpful to get back into the swing of academic writing.



    As a student and staff member at Warner, I so enjoyed your story and the Tips. This was a great reminder on how great it is to be a part of the Warner community.
    Thank you – the page looks great!


    Welcome to the Warner community! Great to have you on board and blogging.


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