Shape the World from the Orientation!
Before the Orientation
What does “Orientation” mean? This was the very first question I had in my mind. I looked up for the word in the dictionary, and “orientation” means “the particular interests, activities or aims that someone or something has”. If this is the meaning, I had to say my orientation for Georgetown University, for Doha, for Qatar had already begun long before I came to Doha. The Orientation for me not only means getting ready for my college year, but also, and more important, means my independence and a brighter future.
As soon as I arrived at the Doha International Airport on the morning of August 25th , I could not help myself shedding my tears. I am not that type of people who love crying, definitely not. However, nobody understands how struggled and frustrated I was during these months, from December last year to August. Like most Chinese high school students who are willing to study abroad, I chose the United States as my destination. However, life is hard, and it is much harder when you find yourself have nothing to do to change the reality. The tuition and cost for universities in US are too much for my family to afford. Even though I applied the Financial Aid for all the universities, I got all rejected. George W Bush didn’t like me; otherwise he won’t let the economic recession happen. But this is the truth, and at that time I thought I just made a wrong decision. A student, whose family is not rich, should stay in China and go nowhere to achieve American Dream (for me it’s a World Dream). I found myself lost for my future until Penny, the sophomore in Northwestern University in Qatar, introduced the several American universities in Education City, and the Qatar Foundation, which offers great amount of Financial Aid for students. After her introduction, I felt like opening my eyes again, and found the world to be even much brighter. For me, Penny’s introduction is the first orientation ever in my life. What an orientation for me, is a lighthouse, when the ship lost the direction.
Luckily, I got accepted by all the three universities applied and finally decided Georgetown as my home for the next four years. After receiving the acceptance letter, I thought that would be my happy ending. Unfortunately, things never go the way that we’ve expected. I had no idea how complicated the Financial Aid application was and how anxious when my parents and I were waiting for the result. Some of the documents which QF required never existed in China before, the bank refused to make an and I was told I am the first one to have the official statement to prove the number of my parent’s bank accounts in China. Later on, the visa application became my enemy, and the flight ticket I bought from Shanghai to Doha was expired. When I arrived at the Hong Kong airport, uncertainty was still hovering over my head whether I can land on Doha successfully. God still has some mercy for me, I met Farah and Hashmi. Feeling the heat and humidity, seeing people with white robes, I realized here is a brand-new life for me. When my Chinese friends knew that I would study in Qatar, they would ask me, “Where is Qatar, is Qatar one of the states in the US?” And after I explained them that Qatar is a country in Middle East, they would continue to ask me, “Are you insane? Aren’t you afraid of being killed?” People in my country don’t know too much about Qatar, let alone Doha. I made a decision of my own that Qatar should be known to more Chinese after I graduate. I want to be their “orienter” just like Penny had done for me. When I was sitting in the car on the way to Education City, this was the first time for me to imagine what life will be in EC, as well as in Georgetown University. I couldn’t wait to see my fellows whom will cry with me, smile with me, for the next four years. All these stories would start from the Orientation
(My lovely Penny)
During the orientation
The reason why I wrote so many things before I came to Doha is that the more difficulty you have experienced, the more you will cherish. I treasured every moment with my newly-made friends, and every piece of land, even the air I breathed. The first day in Doha was nothing but exciting. I met my roommate, who is kind and kind. Even though I had introduced myself and answered the same question over and over again, I felt more confident that people like to know who I am. To be honest, fear also existed during the first day, since I was born and raised in China, everything is so different. I enjoyed the City Tour organized by Qatar Foundation. During the trip, I chatted with my friends, trying very hard to memorize their Arabic names and where they are from. The milk tee was cheap and delicious and it made me feel like my whole body melted by the great flavor. The most memorable thing for the trip was the visit for the Museum of Islamic Arts. Amazed by the great priceless relics, I began to think why people around the world haven’t realized that this great culture really exists in the world. There is no doubt that nearly everyone knows China has a brilliant history and Chinese cultural relics are excellent. Why few people know these Arabic countries also the Islamic culture which is as perfect as the Chinese one. Maybe it is due to the instability among the Middle East that everyone only cares about their living, and their culture is just like an abandoned baby that nobody cares. It is pessimistic, but it also means, our generation has a lot of things to do.
My roomie! Adil!
The next day is the Orientation for HBKU students as a whole. During the session, everyone was asked to write their commitments for the next few years on a strike. It’s much more difficult to pledge to our own than to promise to someone else. I wrote three sentences, for me, for China, and for everyone. “I want to eat well, sleep well, and study well. I want to build up real democracy for China. I want everyone to eat well, sleep well, and study well.” Especially for the democracy part, it was more like a dream than a commitment. However, I firmly believe that the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. That’s why I came here, and that’s why I chose Georgetown. By the way, I have to say, I enjoyed the free food so much. Can I have some more?
August 27th, a date which meant a lot to me. Today was the first time I entered the gate of Georgetown. I was impressed by the slogan “SMILE” near the entrance, and somehow I looked at the mirror, testing how good I was when I was smiling. We were divided into several groups for the Georgetown Orientation. Sarcastically, being a Chinese, I was assigned to a group called “Communists”. I asked my Orientation Advisor why this happened. He said it was 110% coincidence, which I 120% doubted. Anyway, it’s nice to be a Communist. Sadly, the academic testing was prepared for us. Since my high school teaches in Chinese, I rarely had chance to write English essay, so I was really upset for the test. My back sored during the test, and I didn’t think the essay I wrote was a nice one. However, as I walked out of the room, the test had just gone with the wind. Forget about the test, amazing life hasn’t come yet. In the afternoon, we ate delicious chocolate, and this was my first time to see the Chocolate Fountain, and also my first time to eat strawberry with chocolate. I had no sooner finished my chocolate strawberry than I realized that I would have more “first time” in Doha. Lalalalalalala, Life is wonderful.
Oh I almost forgot, I played the Chinese musical instrument in the cultural fest. The Chinese name of the instrument is “HULUSI”. I played it well, right?
The second of day of Orientation was no less exciting than the first day. We learned the SFS-Q curriculum during the morning session. A lot of core courses are the most charming part of Georgetown, as well as the American Education System. Even though you will have engineering or economic major in the future, you still have to learn history, philosophy, etc. which look like have nothing to do with your future major. However, Georgetown aims at building up all-rounded students, and people who want to succeed have to obtain more knowledge. It may sound boring and frustrating, but you never know what will happen in the future, and you never know how the things you learn now will contribute to your future. Steve Jobs didn’t know how the calligraphy would help him succeed during his college career, but it turned out that this course made big sense for his Apple Company.
In the evening, we hold a Community Engagement Session, during which we had dinner together with the workers and cleaners in Georgetown. We hardly had chance to know what their life is in Doha, and the session provided us a precious opportunity. I talked with a Filipino lady who is only two years older than me. Both of us loved music very much and we talked about from Justin Bibber to Bruno Mars. She also told me she smoked in order to release her pressure. I thought there are many ways to lighten our pressure, and smoking is definitely the worst one. Georgetown, as a warm community, should provide them with a nicer environment and held activities for them based on their interests. They have been working so hard that we can have such an awesome campus. Respect is not enough; we should do something for them.
By the way, Some of Justin Bibber’s songs are really nice, but I wonder whether he will be still popular when he is as old as my dad. But it also reminds me that youth is the most valuable period of a man’s life.
I should use my youth wisely.
The third day of Orientation was no less exciting than the first day and the second day. In the morning, all the OAs performed a splendid detective drama for us, and our mission was to find out who the murderer was. The plot was really interesting and all the actors and actresses were cable of wining Oscar. Nevertheless, I was totally lost when we were having a group discussion, trying to find out the murderer, since I had great difficulty remember all those Arabic names. (no offense :D) I was amazed by the great logic my teammates had and we finally chose the right person. See, it was nice to be a Communist, because Big Brother is always watching the murderer.
In the afternoon, after some endless but useful presentations, we talked about the spirits of Georgetown University. In my opinion, the establishment of Georgetown, as well as other universities in Doha was extremely meaningful and effective. It not only provided people in Arabic world a great opportunity to experience the most advancing education, but also functioned to unite the Arabic Future. I thought the reason why Israeli was founded, besides the support of the western would, is contradiction and dispute are among the Arabic countries. However, some of the people who study in Education City will be the leader of their countries, and some of them will be very influential. I had no way to imagine that these people, who used to study in the same campus, same library, will fight against each other. I sincerely hoped that the HBKU can make the Arabic World more flourished and stable in the future, if not now.
After that, we set up for the outside trip. We would barbeque on the sea. Lying on the deck of the ship, looking high up the sky, listening to the music and chatting with my dear friends, I realized this is the lifestyle which I am deadly eager to possess. I told my friend, I would like to use this ship to travel around the world. Such conversation included our ideals, our values and religious belief. For me, the best class is not in the classroom, but in the real world, in the state of nature.
The fourth day, also the last day, of Orientation was no less exciting than the first day, the second day, and the third day. Indeed, it was much more exciting, because I received my Dell Laptop. However, it was also the saddest day among this week, not only because we could no longer eat the free food, but also, apparently, the Orientation was nearly to be an end. For all the OAs, this would be one of most memorable experiences in their life, especially for those seniors who will graduate next year. Here, I offer my most sincere wishes to them all. The final activity was the New Student Convocation, and I was declared to be an official Hoya after the convocation. The president was holding a torch at the beginning of the convocation, and Toby said it right, it meant we are the people to receive the torch, and to make the flame even more exuberant.
Toby and Phil. We are bros!
We are suitmen
After the Orientation
We held a tremendous dinner party for all the staff, new students, as well as their family in Georgetown. I didn’t feel sad for the fact that my parents were asleep when I was eating dinner due to the time difference, because Eman’s family was so nice that they invited me to join their dinner. I love them all.
me and Eman’s family
The end of the Orientation means another new future, a new more academic future. During these days, I realized no matter how difficulty it may be in the future, at least I have you, all my friends in Georgetown and Education City.
People say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. For me, I just feel like home.
Feel like home.