If the University of Central Florida campus has seemed a tad deserted lately, that changes this week. Classes for the Summer B semester began today, bringing an influx of nearly 17,000 more students to campus.

The size of the UCF community drops precipitously after classes end in May, with many students graduating or returning home to spend time with family. With the start of the Summer B semester, 16,967 students have registered for classes. Coupled with the 20,252 students taking classes during the Summer C semester that began last month, more than half of UCF’s 63,000-strong student body is back hitting the books.

It’s just the beginning of life as a Knight for many Summer B students, including 17-year-old Megan Driggers. She was one of the students moving into rooms in the Nike, Hercules and Neptune housing communities Friday, the first move-in day.

“It kind of looks drab right now,” Driggers said, surveying her new home after her fourth trip lugging clothes, bedding, snacks and other necessities. “But when I put a rug in and hang some stuff on the walls it will start to feel like home.”

Driggers said she’s not nervous. She’s already gotten a head start by taking dual-enrollment classes during her senior year at Mount Dora High School. And she’s familiar with UCF: Her mother is an alumna, and her father – an engineer – conducted his doctoral dissertation research at UCF.

“UCF has a really good engineering school, and that’s why I wanted to come here,” said Driggers, an electrical engineering major.

Tatyanna Thompson of Riverview first visited UCF on a field trip with other students from East Bay High School. She’s majoring in athletic training.

“I love the campus – it’s so big,” Thompson said as she and her parents unpacked a mini-fridge, microwave and what she called the most important items: snacks.

UCF won’t be up to full size until the start of the fall semester on Aug. 22. That’s when the majority of new freshman and transfer students start classes.

Still, the start of Summer B means traffic will be heavier and parking a little tougher. For tips on how to find parking, take a shuttle and navigate campus, visit here.