Mechanical Engineering Junior Excels in Academics and Athletics


Anna Stahlak is currently a Junior at SDSU, after transferring from San Diego Mesa Community College. Her story of how she has excelled in athletics and academics is told in her words below:


My academic and athletic story has been a journey to get to where I am today at San Diego State University. I always knew I wanted to be an engineer once I got to college, but I also had been an athlete my whole life and I did not want that to stop when moving to the next level of my education. My freshman year (2015-16), my athletic career took priority when I chose to attend CSU-Bakersfield, a Division I university, in order to have an opportunity to continue my swimming career which had started when I was 5 years old. At Bakersfield, I was an engineering major, loading my schedule with calculus, physics, and, of course, engineering classes, but I began to realize that I wanted to transfer back home and attend the school I always wanted to, San Diego State University. I knew that this was going to be a difficult task not only academically, having to keep my grades up, but also because I wanted to continue to swim. After putting a lot of thought into it, I knew I was up for the challenge of transferring. I ended up leaving Bakersfield with a 4.00 GPA, which truly amazed me, proving to myself that I could achieve anything and motivated me even more to take this challenge head on. I then transferred to a local community college, San Diego Mesa Community College, my sophomore year (2016-17) in order give me a better opportunity to transfer to SDSU. I knew that transferring classes over would be easier from a local community college but it was still a huge risk for me to transfer back home because I truly had no idea what my future would hold. I also continued my swimming career, competing with Mesa half the year and then training with my club and by myself the other half. I still was determined to continue swimming if I was able to transfer; I was not ready for that aspect of my life to end. My sophomore year was packed with a full-time school schedule, 19 units each semester, and training full-time, and though it was tough, I needed to do this in order to reach both of my goals. Finally, the determining day came of whether I was going to be able to transfer to SDSU, and not only that, but swim there too and I did it! All my hard work had paid off, getting accepted into SDSU Fall 2017 as a Mechanical Engineering major with a 3.95 GPA, and on top of that I was given the opportunity to continue my swim career as a Division I athlete again. I still to this day, around a year later, as I am walking through campus think to myself “Wow! I am here at SDSU, all the risks that I took and the hard work put in was all worth it”. With that said, my hard work has not ceased, I continue to strive for all A’s in my academics, which thus far I have achieved, and continue to train harder then I ever have. Swimming at SDSU has definitely been a challenge, training the NCAA maximum of 20 hours a week, 6 days a week, as well as doing around 6 hours extra of prehabs and rehabs to ensure my body can recover and stay strong, but I would not change it for the world. I love what I do. Every day, studying and working hard to be the best mechanical engineer as I can, as well as training hard to have the most successful swimming career as I can. As the end of this school year approaches in Spring 2018, so does the end of my 16-year swimming career and 4-year college athletic career. Though it has not been easy, a lot of late nights studying and long days trying to stay awake in class with a coffee in hand after 6 am practices (not going to lie), it was all so worth it. And when the day comes that I have a mechanical engineering degree in hand from San Diego State University in Spring 2020, after studying this subject for 5 years, I will have proven to myself and everyone around me that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.