No matter what, don't show up totally empty handed to the first day of class. The TLDR of this post is: bring a pen and paper. Actually, any writing implement is fine, any type of paper or notebook is fine. A laptop or tablet is optional unless the class specifically requires you to have some kind of technology. And in fact, research shows that writing notes by hand is often a more effective way to retain information. Given this, a pen and paper is always a good way to approach the first day of class. You may also want to bring
If the professor doesn't provide any information in advance, then you won't need to do any reading to prepare. But you should come ready to take notes, since many professors do start right in with covering course content on the first day. If you prefer to take notes on a laptop, that's fine, but bring a pen and paper anyway. Many professors will do things like hand out notecards and ask you to write your information on the card, or hand out copies of the syllabus and ask you to make annotations. In other words, most professors assume you have a writing implement with you. Don't be the person asking around the classroom if anyone has an extra pen.
If you're really on top of it and organized, you might also want to bring a calendar or planner to the first day of class. Now this is advanced stuff, but if you're on top of it, you can do yourself a real favor here. Here's the pro move: Before the first day of classes begin, get out your calendar and mark down any trips you might be going on, major events happening, etc. Download the syllabi for any classes that DO provide them in advance and mark exams and major deadlines on your calendar. When you go to classes where no information was provided in advance, bring that planner / calendar with you. You can add additional due dates, plus be prepared in the event that you are asked to sign up for presentation dates etc. Doing this allows you to plan out your semester in advance, and as much as possible, either avoid overlapping deadlines or at least be prepared for them.
What else do you need to know to feel ready for the first day of class? Anything else you're feeling worried about?