What to expect when progressing from Vantage to Second Year at UBC

Wondering what it’s like to transition from Vantage College to Second Year at UBC? Former Vantage student, Aya Hioki, explains what changes you can expect, and what stays the same.

Thinking about life after Vantage can be both exciting and scary. As a former Vantage student, I totally understand how it feels. But from experience, I can tell you that by the time you complete the Vantage program in July, you really are ready to start a new journey as a second-year UBC student. While there are some changes, many things stay the same, too. So relax, embrace the change, and read on to find out what progression into second year is really like.

Classes

Joining the wider UBC community in second year means some components of classes do change — mainly, the size of them. Expect bigger lecture rooms with a lot more classmates.
As classes get bigger, the distance between professors and students also seems wider, too.
The other major change is that not everyone is an English-second-language student. As a result, I personally found that the pace of the classes got faster.
At first this may all seem overwhelming and intimidating, but there are many strategies to adjust to your new environment.
For instance, it helps to arrive early to class and get a front row seat so that professors may remember you more easily.
It’s also important to talk to your new classmates — they can be a great source of help.
Also, don’t procrastinate and make sure you always review the content from every lecture so that you fully understand it and feel prepared for the next class.
While there are many changes to classes, several things stay the same. The structure of classes almost stays the same, and just like in Vantage, you are still going to have assignments, discussions in class, and group work.
So long as you put in the work and apply the same skills you learned in Vantage, you can adapt. Be confident, because you are more than ready!

Accommodation

In second year, you have the option to remain living in UBC’s student housing, or to move off campus. Both options come with their own advantages and challenges.
Remaining on campus has the advantage of being in a familiar space and close to classes. There are also many more accommodation options in second year, such as the Marine Drive Residences, Ponderosa Commons, and Fairview Crescent
Moving off campus also has advantages, as you can often find rooms that are cheaper than living on campus, and it’s a great way to meet new people and extend your social network. However, with the extra freedom comes extra responsibilities, such as managing landlords, housemates, garbage disposal, and utilities.
I lived off campus in second year and then returned to campus housing in third year because personally, I found it a more convenient option for me.
Accommodation is a very personal decision and you need to choose what works best for your lifestyle.

Friendships

Moving into second year is a great opportunity to extend your friendship circle outside of Vantage. While it’s important to maintain the existing connections that you’ve made throughout first year, there’s no shortage of places you can meet new people.
I have made many new friends through the bigger classes, new residences, student clubs, leadership experiences, and student organizations after transitioning to second year.
If you’re nervous about talking to someone you don’t know, just relax and smile — it’s a powerful way to attract people around you.
I am also still in touch with friends that I made in Vantage and we constantly motivate and encourage each other to strive.

Studying

Moving into second-year studies can seem scary for all students at first, whether they’re from Vantage or not. There’s a lot to take in: new coursework, new classmates, and a new environment. But there’s no need to panic, you’re not alone, and you will adjust.
Realistically, the amount of time that you need to spend studying is the same as when you’re in Vantage, possibly less, so you already have those skills.
Remember to take a big breath and calmly set yourself a study plan to help manage your time and feel more at ease.
If you do need extra support, you can still turn to the same places for help. Just as you did in Vantage, you can always contact your professor and arrange a meeting, ask your TAs or classmates questions, study with friends, or book an appointment with UBC Counselling Services.
Moving into second year, you also have the bonus of more options in courses as you no longer follow the Vantage standard time table. 
The best advice I can give is to take advantage of all these resources and ask for help when you need it!

Faculty

Since second-year classes are so much bigger compared to being in Vantage, you may receive less interaction with faculty and not feel as connected to your professors.
However, many Vantage faculty also teach classes to the wider UBC community, so you may still see some familiar faces around campus.
There are also many benefits of joining your UBC faculty in second year, such as more learning opportunities, attending academic conferences, research opportunities, and undergrad workshops or career building seminars held by departments.
Progressing from first year also means you can participate in more student services such as certain community engagement programs, academic advising, career fairs and undergraduate societies.
It’s all about embracing the shift, your new contacts and surrounds.

Student organizations

Unlike classes and accommodation options, UBC student clubs don’t really change in second year. If you’re not involved with any yet, second year is a great time to join as you already feel comfortable and settled into university life.
As time goes on and you spend more time associated with clubs, you often gain more responsibilities and skills, which looks great on your resume.
For example, I joined a club in my first year so that when I progressed into second year, I was promoted as an executive member to a treasurer position. I learned to run a club and gained a lot of experience.
There are so many ways you can expand your comfort zone and your student experience in second year. You may also consider applying for internships, UBC worklearn positions, or volunteer roles. You can also join the Vantage Peer Mentors!

While many things will change as you transition into second year, others will stay the same.
However daunting transitioning may seem, remember that you’re not alone and have confidence in yourself and the skills that you have already learned.
I am certainly thankful that I went through the Vantage One program in first year, it made the rest of my university experience so much easier. Soon, you’ll be saying the same too.