(Photo retrieved from csus.edu)

FRESHMAN FOCUS: Shelly Zalezniak, ’21, stays close to home, loves her decision

Shelly Zalezniak, 21, attends California State University, Sacramento. She is majoring in marketing but plans to switch to finance and entrepreneurship.

Q: Why did you choose to attend Sac State?

A: Honestly, I wasn’t so prepared like everyone else. I didn’t know where I would end up going, and I wanted to stay close to home, and my parents wanted me to stay close to home. 

At first, I was kind of bummed that my parents wanted me to stay close, but it turned out to be better than I anticipated. It’s nice, and I feel comfortable here.

Everyone around me is adjusting to Sacramento and how far they are from home, and I don’t need to do that because this is my hometown. This is going to be my fourth year here (in Sacramento).

Q: Why did you choose your major?

A: I just picked whatever. If I want to change my major I just need to fill out a form to my advisor and in two days I’ll have my change in major concentration. So it’s marketing right now but I’m going to change it to double concentrations — finance and entrepreneurship — because I have a career in mind for after I graduate from college: owning houses, renting out apartments and more.

Q: What safety precautions has Sac State taken for COVID-19?

A: If someone’s not vaccinated, they have to get tested twice a week at The WELL, which is where they have the gym and health center. It’s a rapid test so  they get the results right after they take it.

You have to wear a mask at all times unless you’re eating and there are safety ambassadors walking around. If they see you without a mask, they’ll tell you to put one on.

Q: How has the pandemic affected your college experience?

A: I was smart enough to pick all my classes in person. A lot of people didn’t know that you can change your classes. I only have one class that is online and the rest are in person which is freaking awesome, so I wasn’t really affected by the whole pandemic.

Q: What is your housing situation?

A: I’m off campus but Sac State is a commuter school so it’s not as big of a deal. A lot of my friends also commute so I don’t feel I’m missing out on a lot.

Q: What classes are you taking?

A: I’m currently taking five classes which is 15 units. I’m taking two GE courses and then three required for the business major. I’m taking accounting, education, English, Math 24 and management, which is an introduction to business law.

Q: What is your favorite class?

A: My favorite class currently is management. I like studying business law, and it introduces you to the fundamental business problems and the legal consequences. It’s very relatable to real life. The professor is really nice and a lawyer so it’s just a really fun class.

Q: Are you participating in any clubs?

A: I tried volunteering at this organization we have on campus called UNIQUE where you go to events but that didn’t happen. Then I started my own club called the Israeli Jewish Association. I was kind of surprised that they didn’t have anything or any club for Jewish people. They have a club for almost every other religion but not for Judaism, so I was like, “I’ll do it;” then I found out that there are more Israelis like me.

Q: What was the process for starting a club?

A: It was kind of hard because of the deadline. I went and waited until the last minute and then I had to find a faculty advisor. Then I had to form the club constitution. Since I’m the founder, I’m kind of the president and then there is my friend who is the treasurer. We have to fill out forms, turn it in, get it approved, get a faculty advisor and then the faculty advisor needs to fill out their forms.

Q: What are your largest and smallest classes?

A: My largest class is management law, and it has like 60 students, and my smallest is my English class and we’re only 21 students.

Q: What is your favorite part about college?

A: Honestly, everything. The community, the professors, the campus. I walk around campus and it’s still amazing. The trees, the air, the school –– I’m embracing everything that there is on campus. 

Q: Have you made any freshman mistakes?

A: Maybe I should have tried my best to join the tennis team when I had the chance. It’s been about three, four months and there’s not a lot of time to socialize. Next semester I’m taking 18 units and that’s going to be a lot. A lot of my friends are busy, a lot are med majors and it’s kind of hard socializing. We’re all so busy with studying.

I also didn’t sign myself up for the 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. classes this semester which means every day I start at 10:30 a.m. except for Friday when I have no classes.

Q: What advice would you give to the class of 2022?

A: I would say don’t be afraid to socialize and make friends. Everyone is going to try and make friends. So for the first two weeks, it’s going to be so easy finding friends, and hopefully every person you talk to becomes a friend. Just do it.

  Go out there, try out the clubs, talk to your professors, go to office hours. It’s so important to make a connection with the professor outside your class. They can give you tips on how to get around campus, what resources the university offers. They can give you job recommendations. If you’re talking to your professor for your business class or a teacher for your specific major, this professor can help you learn what to do for your major.

California State University, Sacramento
Quality of classes
Student-teacher interactions
School spirit
Social scene

— By Kali Wells

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