With their first semester at the University of California - Sunnydale almost upon them, Buffy waits in the cemetery for a vampire to rise while Willow helps her register for classes. One class they're taking together is a psychology course taught by Professor Walsh, who has an impressive reputation. Distracted with course selection for a moment, Buffy fails to notice her intended target rising out of his grave. The vampire attempts to sneak up on Buffy and Willow from behind, but the sight of their arsenal of stakes, arrows, and crosses forces him to find a meal elsewhere.
On the morning of her first day of college, Buffy finds herself overwhelmed by the sheer size of UC-Sunnydale. While wandering around in a vain attempt to find a building, Buffy bumps into Willow, who is considerably more excited with the college experience. Soon after, they find Oz standing about. Having played on campus several times with his band, Oz has gotten fairly acquainted with the setting, enough to know more than a few faces walking around. Buffy and Willow check out the library, which is enormous in comparison to Sunnydale High's. On the way there, Willow updates Buffy on what Giles and Xander have been up to over the summer. While Xander set out on a mission to drive across America, Giles has been enjoying his unemployed status. After the library, Buffy and Willow head to the bookstore. There, they meet Riley, one of Prof. Walsh's T.A.'s for the psych class they're taking. Willow impresses Riley with her present knowledge of the subject. Riley leads her over to another section of the bookstore, leaving Buffy with nothing to do but tag along. Afterwards, Buffy returns to her dorm room and meets her roommate, Kathy, who has just moved in. Although a fairly nice person, Buffy finds her to be a little too enthusiastic. She also isn't too thrilled with the Celine Dion poster that Kathy puts up on the wall. That night, Buffy learns the hard way that Kathy is an obnoxiously loud sleeper.
The next day, Buffy attends a pop culture class that she hasn't registered for yet. While asking a nearby student if there are any openings left in the class, Buffy attracts the attention of Prof. Riegert, who makes it crystal clear that Buffy has no chance of getting into the class. He then orders her to leave the room immediately. On her way to psych class, Buffy runs into Riley just outside the classroom. Although he remembers Willow perfectly, Riley has trouble recalling meeting Buffy the previous day, let alone her name. Inside, Buffy takes a seat next to Willow and Oz. At the start of class, Prof. Walsh informs the students that her class is anything but a blow-off course. Later that night, Buffy meets another student by the name of Eddie. Besides taking Psych 105 together, what Buffy and Eddie also have in common is their general discomfort with college life so far. While they walk towards their respective dorm rooms, Buffy and Eddie discuss security blankets that get them through the daily grind. For Eddie, it's a copy of "Of Human Bondage" that he always keeps near his bed. After they part ways, Eddie has an unfortunate run-in with a gang of vampires, led by a blonde named Sunday. Shortly after, the vampires rob Eddie's room of all of his belongings. They leave a forged good-bye note on the bed before splitting.
At psych class the next day, Buffy tries to find Eddie in the class, but to no avail. She goes to Eddie's residence hall. Eddie's R.A. takes Buffy to the room and shows her the space that's completely empty, save for the note on the bed. Buffy reads the note while the R.A. tells her that it's fairly common for some freshman to take off this early. Before she leaves, Buffy finds Eddie's copy of "Of Human Bondage" in his nightstand. Meanwhile, Sunday and her vampire lackeys sift through Eddie's stuff. Disappointed with their findings, Sunday decides that she needs someone else to find a better victim, and the just-turned Eddie is her choice for the job. She heads to Giles' apartment for help, but soon learns that Giles is not alone in the apartment. Dressed only in one of Giles' dress shirts, an old friend named Olivia greets Buffy as she enters the apartment. When Giles steps out, Olivia leaves the two of them alone in the living room. Buffy tells Giles about the missing student. In response, Giles reminds her that without a Watcher officially assigned to her anymore, Buffy will have to take care of such matters by herself. Later that night, Buffy sees Eddie walking around the campus. When she catches up with him, Buffy realizes Eddie is no longer the human student she met the previous night. After a short fight, Buffy finishes Eddie with a stake to the heart. The Slayer soon realizes that she has an audience. Spinning around, Buffy meets Sunday. While the rest of the vampire gang surrounds Buffy, Sunday battles the Slayer one-on-one. In no time, Buffy realizes that this fight is much more difficult than she expected it to be. When Sunday gains the upper hand by snapping her opponent's left arm, Buffy decides to retreat. That night, the unbearable pain in her arm makes it impossible for Buffy to sleep.
The next morning, Buffy sees Willow and Oz having a pleasant conversation with another student. Instead of joining her friends, Buffy turns the other way and heads home. Joyce is surprised to see her daughter home this early in the semester. After Buffy learns that her room has been filled with her mother's crates from the gallery, the phone rings in the kitchen. Buffy answers the phone, but no voice comes from the other end of the line. Buffy hangs up and goes back to her dorm room, only to find that all of her stuff has been stolen. A good-bye note similar to Eddie's rests on her bed. Down in the dumps, Buffy heads to the Bronze. For a split second, Buffy thinks she sees Angel standing at the bar, but a second glance reveals it to be a complete stranger. Suddenly, Xander surprises Buffy with his unannounced presence. Xander tells Buffy the story of his summer vacation, which involved a road trip that pretty much never happened, his car dying in the middle of nowhere, and a job at a ladies' club that, for one evening, forced Xander to join the ranks of male strippers. Realizing that Buffy shouldn't even be in the Bronze, Xander gets her to confess her troubles at school. Knowing that her self-confidence is shot, Xander tells Buffy that she's been nothing but a magnificent inspiration, and that he considers Buffy his hero. With her spirits lifted, Buffy uses Xander's assistance to track down Sunday to an abandoned fraternity house. They spy on the vampires through a skylight on the roof. Unable to see her weapons chest, Buffy sends Xander back to her dorm room to retrieve the necessary equipment. After Xander takes off, the skylight gives way under Buffy's weight, sending the Slayer down onto the hard floor below.
While Buffy tries to fight Sunday again, Willow and Oz read the note on Buffy's bed while Kathy wonders what's going on. Fearing that they somehow drove Buffy away, Willow drowns herself in guilt. Xander suddenly arrives and subtly hints to Willow and Oz that Buffy is in trouble. Unable to find the weapons chest in the room, they head for Willow's room to get supplies. Back at the frat house, Buffy spots her weapons chest in the corner of the room. Before she can reach it, Sunday steps in front of her and holds up the Class Protector award. When Sunday breaks it, Buffy goes into overdrive, using a flurry of kicks and one-armed attacks on the hapless vampire. The rest of the gang tries to make a run for it, but Xander, Willow, and Oz arrive just in time to reduce them to dust. After taking the fight out of Sunday, Buffy sends the vampire flying across the room with a punch from the same arm that Sunday thought was broken. Xander, Willow, and Oz watch as Buffy hurls a stake right through Sunday's heart. After gathering all of Buffy's stuff, the gang heads outside to see Giles running towards them, carrying several weapons in his arms. Giles apologizes to Buffy for trying to teach her a lesson in independence. He vows to help the Slayer out in any fight that comes her way. While the gang heads back to Buffy's dorm room, one of Sunday's vampire lackeys that managed to escape roams through the park. Suddenly, he is hit by a couple of taser shots. The electric volts send him to the ground, immobilized. As the vampire watches, an anonymous team approaches him, dressed in black and carrying rifles.
Episode Synopsis by: Alan Hufana