First-years at UC Santa Barbara were unable to experience an in-person introduction to college campus life this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a potential solution, UCSB is hoping to get these soon-to-be second-years acquainted with campus life with its 2nd Year Summer program, which will bring incoming sophomores to UCSB for an introduction to life on campus. 

Students participating in the 2nd year program will stay in the Anacapa Residence Hall. (Luca Disbrow / Daily Nexus)

Students can apply for the program through a Google Forms application on the Summer Sessions website. There is no hard deadline for the program’s application, but students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible because applicants are considered on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Like the Freshman Summer Start Program (FSSP), accepted students come to campus for six weeks for Summer Session B, which takes place from July 30 to Sept. 11. Participants will live in the Anacapa Residence Hall, taking six or more units of classes during their stay. 

Initially, according to Director of Summer Sessions Leesa Beck, the program was slated to house 200 students in singles with most of the classes and activities conducted online due to COVID-19 precautions. However, since the country’s swift vaccine rollout, the program has become more ambitious. Capacity has now doubled to 400 students, students will live in doubles, with mixers and discussion sections held in person.

No decision has been announced on whether students will need to be vaccinated. The UC and CSU systems recently announced that all students, staff and faculty must be vaccinated to access in-person spaces in the fall, pending full approval of the vaccines by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

During the program, students will also enroll in The Second Year Experience — INT 95C — a one-unit seminar course which introduces undergraduate research opportunities, campus organizations and leadership opportunities with the hopes of helping students become more involved at UCSB.

“The Second Year Experience is really more geared towards helping students to prepare to make the most out of those remaining years on campus,” Beck said. “They’re really in a place where they’re ready to start thinking about ‘What’s next for me?’ and ‘How do I get the most out of the rest of this time?’”

Along with roommates and in-person mixers and sections, students will also each have a third-year or fourth-year mentor through the INT 95C seminar to provide advice and support for a smooth transition into on-campus life. Beck explained that freshman year is characteristically crucial for meeting fellow students and making friends, which current freshmen have been unable to do in a traditional manner due to remote learning. 

“We’re excited to start giving students an opportunity to get to know each other … and build those friendships and all those other things that other students would have done at this point in their academic career,” Beck said. 

Many current freshmen feel they have been short-changed on important first-year college experiences. 

First-year biopsychology major Lily Waldrop said that she was excited to “live away from [her] family … and learn how to live in a different city independently” this summer.

 “I feel like I was kind of robbed of that first-year experience at UCSB and that first college year experience,” Waldrop said. 

First-year cultural anthropology major Emily Zomoroudi expressed a similar sentiment. Zomoroudi wanted to experience dorm life, including meeting new people, and had participated in FSSP online last summer.

“I originally did the Freshman Summer Start Program last summer, and I wanted to do the same thing again, but hopefully have it in person, so I’m able to experience the dorms and all of what the school has to offer,” Zomoroudi said. “I just want to continue doing summer classes, just be able to graduate on time and find some more friends.”

Ultimately, the program is looking to give some students a glimpse of what they missed from their first year, while also preparing them for the rest of college, according to Beck. 

Beck said she wants “to do something for this cohort of students who haven’t gotten the opportunity to live on campus, to really let them come experience the campus, enjoy being in Santa Barbara and get to know all the things you would expect a student to know by the end of their first year.”

A version of this article appeared on p. 4 of the May 20, 2021 print edition of the Daily Nexus.