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Avoiding the Sophomore Slump

'Reorientation' aims to help second-years find their way.

They don’t call it the sophomore slump for nothing. Second-year students are often overwhelmed as they try to choose a major, land fulfilling summer internships, locate research opportunities and decide whether to study abroad. And all without the guidance of New Student Orientation, with its advising sessions, placement tests and curricular talks.

Enter Sophomore Reorientation, held January 7 at the Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center. The three-hour program allowed students to attend up to five panels or presentations on topics ranging from internship and law school applications to fulfilling general education requirements. Organized by the office of freshman and sophomore programs, the event drew an estimated 150 students.

“I’m starting to look around for something to do this summer,” said sophomore Evan Hindman as he waited for an internship seminar to begin. “I thought I’d check this out to get a few ideas and get going.” Students looking into research and career opportunities had the chance to speak with juniors, seniors and professionals with experience in their areas of interest.

Dena Slothower, an academic technology specialist at the office of freshman and sophomore programs, said the event exceeded expectations in both attendance and positive student reactions. While Sophomore College, in which up to 300 students participate in 20 intensive two-week courses before the start of fall quarter, has included a reorientation for several years, Slothower says it was “about time” to offer such a program to the entire class.

It hasn’t been decided whether the event will be held again next year. If so, it will likely become part of the University’s effort to focus more attention on sophomore advising under the leadership of new faculty director Steve Zipperstein.

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