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Campus Celebrity: Tasneem Elghandour

Bright eyed and fully caffeinated, this week’s campus celebrity is always ready to check out that last-minute course reserve you need in order to cram before that 2:10 midterm. Yes ma’am, she’s that girl. You can count on her to answer all of your burning library questions, no matter how juicy. Or if you want to feel warm and fuzzy inside, she can make it happen.

Name: Tasneem Elghandour

Major and year: Philosophy (minor in Political Science), 4th year

What does your name mean?

“There are two springs that flow over God’s throne in heaven. One is Tasneem and the other is Selsabeel, the name of my sister. My other sister’s name is Jannah, Arabic for paradise. My mom was smart planning our names.”

Where are you from?

“I’m originally from Egypt, but I was born and raised in San Luis Obispo.”

How do you keep in touch with your Egyptian side?

“A lot of it is religion-based, so we celebrate a lot of the religious holidays.”

Do you want to stay here after graduating?

“I’m super obsessed with the east coast. I went in 2012 and was really attracted to it. That independent lifestyle is very attractive.”

What made you choose your major?

“I originally was a Political Science major but it was too cut and dry. I looked at the flowchart and thought, ‘No way.’ I took a class with Elenour Helms and I learned how to argue with different perspectives and for different perspectives.”

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

“I’d be practicing law, either in the criminal justice field or human rights field. And then I’d also want to have a family of my own.

What’s your taste in music like?

“Foreign music. Period. When I’m studying I love listening to foreign music because even if it’s vulgar, you wouldn’t be able to tell.”

What’s your job at the library?

“Student assistant. We just work at the front desk and answer a whole bunch of questions not only about the library, but also about SLO, the campus, this building, that building. People come here to ask questions, almost like an info desk.”

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve witnessed at the library?

“I worked over the summer and we get a lot of…communities. Once we were closing and someone was in the bathroom and wanted to stay overnight. Another time on the fourth floor a woman was smoking in the bathroom tapping her cigarette in the sink. So I just left, I didn’t know what to do! It’s very hard to be assertive and compassionate with people that you don’t know.”

How do you stay so cheery at work?

“Honestly, coffee. Also a lot of my coworkers are nice and we just go off each other’s vibes. But honestly, coffee is the main one.”

Favorite item at Julian’s?

“I just like their black coffee. It’s very quick and easy, $2, so pretty inexpensive. They keep you caffeinated throughout the day.” *insert hysterically cute laugh here*

What’s your favorite thing about SLO?

“I love the clean air, you don’t find that everywhere. I love how sweet the people are. They’re not super on the go but also not unproductive. You get the oceans and blue skies and mountains and grass within 15 minutes of each other. Pretty much everything you’d want in a safe, family oriented town.”

Your go-to meal downtown?

“I guess my go-to with my family is Oasis. We are family friends with the owners and they’re Moroccan, so it makes a difference in the quality. It’s fancy, too.”

Spirit animal?

“Fish, because ‘Finding Nemo.’”

Dinner date with any celebrity, go!

“Jennifer Aniston, I’m kind of obsessed with ‘Friends.’”

Favorite pastime?

“It used to be reading but now it’s been about family. Sunday nights are reserved for going to the pier and spending time with family.”

Most embarrassing moment?

“I was crossing the street downtown midway and I just fell on my hands. It was hilarious because I was with my friends. Tripping is my thing.”

If you could wear one nail polish color for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

“I love a subtle pinky-cream. It’s very simple and it would match with everything.”

Speaking of color, your hijab is fabulous. Mind telling us about it?

“Sure! I first started wearing it when I was 13 years old. I was definitely ready for it but throughout high school and my first year of college I was the only one who had it. I’ve never had anyone treat me differently.”

What does wearing a hijab mean to you?

“My dad always described it, ‘When you’re looking for a pearl, you go deep into the sea and you don’t find it laying out in the open but instead you find it hidden inside of a clam—hidden and protected.’ People are supposed to see us for our personality instead of for our body. People would be talking to you for the wrong reasons.”

Do you ever feel restricted?

“It’s about how good it makes you feel, it feels so liberating! You also never have to worry about bad hair days.”

Do you coordinate your hijab with your outfits?

“I do. The best thing about the scarf (hijab) is that you can wear the same outfit and different scarf and people won’t recognize you’re wearing the same outfit.”

What’s your favorite quote?

“There’s one moment in ‘Akeelah and the Bee.’ The teacher is telling her to read this off the wall: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, ‘who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? The glory of God that is within us and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

That’s so beautiful. Why’d you choose that one?

“As women, we’ve seen so many great improvements as to how we’re seen. Women are powerful and independent and strong. This shows that just by being who we are, we let others be the same.”

Anuja Argade is a fourth year Event Planning student studying at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Her guilty pleasures include late night cereal, good olive oil and spiritual TED Talks (preferably in that order). At dinner parties you will find Anuja admiring the wall instead of socializing like a decent human being. When she's not at dinner parties, Anuja loves crafting things with her hands and hopes to one day build a barn for her potential pet goat. For business or pleasure, contact Anuja at [email protected]  
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