Walking around campus, signs remind students to study for 25 to 35 hours per week. Add this to the full time job of being the president of Associated Students, Inc. (ASI), and students can get a glimpse into the life of Kiyana Tabrizi.
After half a school year consisting of 14-hour days and juggling classes with presidential responsibilities, Tabrizi said she still manages to deal with her workload with enthusiasm and optimism. She said she rarely ever gets a 10-minute break and has become so acclimated to her busy schedule that the concept of free time is unnerving.
“When I have spaces in my day, I think: ‘What’s going on? What’s wrong? Are people mad at me?’” Tabrizi said.
Tabrizi, a political science senior, recently reached the halfway point in her term as Cal Poly ASI president. Working on campus from dawn until dusk illustrates her dedication to follow through on her goals to be a voice for the students and provide a connection between them and their administration. Sixteen weeks into her term, one thing is certain: Tabrizi loves her job.
“It’s been an amazing experience, one that I will definitely never forget,” Tabrizi said.
Tabrizi stands at 5-feet-7-inches, but this Bay Area-native comes off as larger than life: Her bubbly personality and conscientious attitude are overwhelmingly apparent. Tabrizi said she relishes any opportunity she gets to interact with people, and much of her job has been to work with different people on campus and in the community. This aspect of ASI president is what Tabrizi said she enjoys most.
“I’m really obsessed with people,” Tabrizi said. “I like to be around people; I like to communicate with people. If I ever have an opportunity, I don’t want to spend it alone, I want to spend it with people.”
Collaborating with groups on campus and members of the community also exposed Tabrizi to new experiences, helping her broaden her horizons, she said.
“It’s been such a growth opportunity,” Tabrizi said.
Her ear-to-ear smile and matter-of-fact tone are testament to her mastery of the presidential image.
Being the bridge between the students and the administration, Tabrizi said the most essential thing for a president is to remember every student has a voice, and it’s important to answer any question students have. Tabrizi said she will work closely with any student on an individual basis.
“My goal that I will continue until June 8 is to make sure that students have answers to their questions and to give them this information any way we can,” Tabrizi said. “I have never told a student I will not meet with them … Every student deserves to have their needs addressed.”
So much time devoted to other students leaves little time for Tabrizi to spend with her own friends. Tabrizi’s roommate and theatre arts senior Sarah Schiff said the amount of time they spend together has dramatically dwindled since Tabrizi started her year as president. In the few opportunities they have had to go out on the weekends, Schiff said she noticed Tabrizi has to maintain her image, and socialize responsibly.
“She’s been more reserved than she was because she’s got to, you know, keep up the presidential face,” Schiff said.
Tabrizi confessed she has to make sure to maintain her image, just in case fellow students recognize her as ASI president.
“(Being ASI president) does make me extra cautious when I go out, and extra responsible, even more so than I thought I was before,” Tabrizi said. “I don’t get called out for being president often, though — which is a good thing.”
Whether on or off the clock, Tabrizi’s affable personality drives her to communicate with all of her peers on campus to spread her ideas of what it means to be a Cal Poly student.
For instance, Tabrizi is collaborating with clubs to promote a set of principles of integrity, unity and academic excellence, called the Mustang Way. The Mustang Way was originally designed for athletics, but Tabrizi’s goal is to advocate all Cal Poly students to model their actions according to these standards.
In addition to promoting initiatives such as the Mustang Way, Tabrizi also wants to encourage her fellow students to get involved with their university. Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong recognized these outreach efforts.
“(Tabrizi) has reached out to a variety of student groups, including some of the cultural groups … urging them to participate and run for office and be part of ASI, and I was very impressed with that,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong also said Tabrizi represents the students well, and he enjoys working closely with her.
“She is a very good voice for the students,” Armstrong said. “She brings the student perspective forward. She has communicated with the administration very well.”
Tabrizi has worked hard to be the connection between students and what’s going on in the administration, which she said was her main campaign platform. Now entering the second half of her term, Tabrizi said she has one new goal — to inform the students about the Student Success Fee.
“The Student Success Fee task force is a huge thing that will take up much effort for the next month,” Tabrizi said.
Tabrizi said she wants all students to know the fee is an increase in student costs, meant to maintain high academic performance by offsetting budget reductions. Tabrizi emphasized the importance of knowing the proposal’s details before the students form their opinions about it. ASI has organized a series of educational forums that students can attend before a vote on the fee is held on Feb. 29.
Once Tabrizi has reached the end of her day, she normally goes home and gets as much rest as she can, she said. The amount of work she puts into being president leaves her too tired to spend time out with her roommates.
“Everyone calls me grandma because every opportunity I have, I like to rest and hang out (at home),” Tabrizi said. “But I’ve been trying to live up my last year as much as I can, so I’ll go out to dinner, have a glass of wine with a few girlfriends … just so they don’t think I’ve fallen off the earth.”
If Tabrizi and her friends feel like staying out late on the weekend, they go to Mo|Tav.
“My girlfriends and I love to dance, so we’ll just get around in a circle and dance,” Tabrizi said. “It’s my way to get all my energy out.”
Tabrizi and Schiff started sharing their love for dancing when they were both on the Cal Poly stunt team. Schiff said she knew right away she and Tabrizi would be great friends when they met in Schiff’s freshman and Tabrizi’s sophomore year.
“We just clicked instantly,” Schiff said. “She’s just friendly with everybody.”
Tabrizi and her roommates have the most fun when they’re just at home, joking around and talking about their day. She said her friends like to tease her, particularly for her all-time favorite concert.
“My roommates and friends will all make fun of me because I am obsessed with Celine Dion, and my mom treated my sister and I in Vegas when we were in high school,” Tabrizi said. “She got us really nice tickets, and I remember the dancers coming in the hallways, the songs, and I knew every single word. I remember her singing and pointing to me — I was just in heaven.”
Whether she is with her best friends or a complete stranger, Tabrizi’s enthusiasm and contagiously friendly personality make her approachable, and each interaction intimate. In spite of the countless, tiring hours she has invested in her work, she refuses to confess any downside to being president.
“I really can’t complain, it’s been such an amazing opportunity,” she said. “I feel selfish to even complain about it.”