FRESHMAN FOCUS: Saachi Sikaria, ’16, enjoys Santa Clara University’s small classes, plans on joining intramural basketball teams

(Photo used by permission of Sikaria)
Saachi Sikaria, ’16, visits Mission Santa Clara with her grandparents. It was the first time that her grandmother had seen Santa Clara University.

Saachi Sikaria, ‘16, is a freshman at Santa Clara University. Sikaria plans to major in accounting and information systems.

Q: What classes are you taking?

A: This quarter, I am taking OMIS 30: Introduction to Programming; Economics 3: International Economics; and English 2A: Critical Thinking and Writing.

Q: How big are your classes?

A: Typically 20-35 students.

Q: Do you like the sizes of your classes?

A: I really love the small class sizes because I get more one-on-one attention from the professors. By the end of the quarter, the professor knows their students really well. The small class size allowed my English professor to have a one-one discussion with each person in the class about their essays. Also, there is the ability to talk to the professor right before and right after class.

Q: What’s your favorite class?

A: (So far it’s) Business 70: Introduction to Business Contemporary Issues. I loved every single aspect about the class. The class went over the major areas of business, including marketing, finance, accounting, etc. It was neat to go over those fields in a rapid-fire way.

(Also, the) professor – an adjunct lecturer – was really nice, understanding and very easy to talk to. It was his first time teaching. The best thing about it was that he was very lax about everything, so that did not stress me out. He cared so much for his students that he actually showed up to one of our review sessions that happened late at night. Usually, professors do not come to review sessions taught by the teaching assistant.

Also, we played a business simulation called Mike’s Bikes. In the simulation, we were part of a bike company and had to sell (bikes) and make a profit. It was realistic.  

Q: Least favorite?

A: I really have liked all my classes so far, but if I had to pick one it would be my critical thinking and writing class. I am a math and science person, so the class and I did not get along.

The professor made us move away from the five-paragraph structure, and I was so used to the five-paragraph structure that it was a little hard in the beginning. Even though I do not typically like writing classes much, the professor was excellent, and that is why I have so much difficulty in picking a “least favorite” class.

(Photo used by permission of Sikaria)
Saachi Sikaria, ’16, and her friend take a picture after Winter Ball in the second quarter.

Q: Have you participated in any traditions?

A: (Not) so far, but there is one (that) I might this quarter. It’s called the Primal Scream in Week 10, (which is) right before finals. It is where people can scream out their lungs to relieve their stress about finals. It seems fun, and people are so loud that they can be heard from very far away.

Q: Have you participated in clubs or extracurriculars?

A: I am participating in three-on-three intramural basketball this quarter. It is really exciting to get back to basketball since I have not played since I finished playing for the varsity team at Country Day (I played all four years). I remember all the times that coach (Matt) Vargo wanted me to shoot more in high school, and I think that is making me a better player now!

Q: What is the intramural basketball season like?

A: Our first game is pretty soon, so we haven’t met the other teams in the league yet. There are four teams in the league including (mine).

There are three games in total in the season, and then there will be playoffs and championships.

Q: Did you transition well?

A: I was very worried about being independent and transitioning to college. However, Santa Clara University has been such an amazing place for me that I have had very little difficulty.  

Q: What is the overall attitude of the student body?

A: There are some people who are very studious and some people who are big partiers. In my opinion, the majority of the student body is great at keeping a good balance between studies and parties.  

Q: How do you get around?

A: I walk. It takes about 20 minutes to walk from one end of campus to the opposite end. To go outside of campus, for example – to San Francisco – I take the Caltrain. If I want to go to restaurants nearby, I take Uber. Freshmen are not allowed to have cars during their first year as they are not allowed to use campus parking.

Q: What is the city of Santa Clara like?

A: From a walking standpoint, there are some restaurants nearby. By car, there are so many places to go: restaurants that serve various cuisines, a shopping mall and a movie theater. There is also a place called Santana Row, which is an outdoor shopping mall. Also, like 15 minutes away by car, there is Levi’s Stadium, where you can see the 49ers play, famous singers and bands. Also, 45 minutes away by car, you can get to San Francisco or Santa Cruz.

Q: What is your dorm like?

A: I live in a suite, which has one double, four singles, two bathrooms, and a common area. Basically, six people live in the suite, including me. I live in a single, which is very fortunate. I like living in a single because it is the best of both worlds. I can have my alone time, or I can socialize with my other suitemates.

Q: How are your roommates?

A: Overall, my suitemates are great. I get along with them really well, especially with one of them. All of my suitemates are in different academic schools, like the school of arts and science and school of engineering. It is neat to talk about what they are doing for their majors. One of my suitemates is in ROTC, so it is really neat to talk to her about what she does.

(Photo used by permission of Sikarai)
Saachi Sikaria, ’16, takes a photo with her big (left) and her grand big (right) before going to a Diwali party hosted by the Intandesh club, one of the clubs that she participates in.

Q: Will you participate in Greek life?

A: As of right now, I do not think (so). SCU does not acknowledge the traditional fraternities and sororities, so they are not big around campus. I might want to participate in the professional chapters of Greek life. There is one business fraternity on campus that seems interesting.

Q: What’s the weather like?

A: The weather is pretty much similar to Sacramento. It changes day to day. One day, it is raining really hard, and the next day is sunny. One thing that is different from Sacramento is the Bay Area chilly winds in the evening, making it way colder at night. When it is sunny, I feel like I am on a beach because of the weather and because our campus has so many palm trees.

Q: Has the college lived up to your expectations so far?

A: Honestly, coming into college, I did not have any expectations. I am so glad I am at SCU because it was definitely a perfect fit.

Q: What don’t you like about your college?

A: It would (be) nice to have even more restaurants in walking distance from campus.

Q: What makes your school unique?

A: It is a Jesuit university right in the middle of Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley provides so many job opportunities, and a lot of large corporations and start-ups come to SCU to recruit.

Q: Have you made any freshman mistakes?

A: I have made only one so far, and it was going to the wrong classroom. The hilarious part about it was that I went to the wrong classroom recently, and the class has been going on for a few weeks! Fortunately, I always come to class early, so the people in the classroom who were there for a different class were very few, and it was not all that embarrassing.

Q: What is your advice for the class of 2017?

A: Remember the quote “Smile seeps inwards!” In other words, have a positive outlook when you have hurdles coming your way in your first year of college. Just know that it will be only a matter of time before you pass the hurdles.

The other advice would be to take your courses at SCDS seriously. Our teachers are awesome, and it really helps to have strong foundations when you get to college.

By Spencer Scott

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