Students of all ages have gone back to school in the last couple of weeks, their backpacks full of new pencils, blank paper, and uncracked textbooks and their stomachs full of butterflies.

Sound familiar?

Your first day on a new job is similar to the first day of school. You will have a new teacher training you on company policies; you will meet new people that will be your companions for what may be the rest of your career; you will make first impressions that may be hard to throw off later and so will your colleagues. Here are some tips for making sure your first day of work is only the first of many great ones:

  1. Get Some Sleep–The night before might be tough, but try to get some extra rest in the week or so before you start your new job. The more sleep you get the week before, the less that last sleepless night with affect your transition.
  2. Eat–Have a good breakfast. You might have a hard time taking a lunch break on your first day so fuel up. And bring a sack lunch just in case all you can find is a few minutes between meetings. There’s no way to predict the schedule.
  3. Take Notes–There is just no way you will remember everything you hear today, especially names.
  4. Ask Questions–It’s true: there is no such thing as a stupid question the first day of a new job. But you can feel stupid walking into a broom closet instead of the restroom.
  5. Help Out–You may not have any responsibilities on your first day other than getting your bearings, but if you find yourself with nothing to do, offer your assistance. You might make a friend and you will definitely make someone’s day.

It takes 90 days or so to really know your way around a new job and feel comfortable. Don’t put pressure on yourself to know how everything works the first day, week or even month. It will happen if you listen actively, participate enthusiastically, and take care of yourself. Sounds like good advice for a student, too!

Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative