GU-Q seniors standing on stage at the senior dinner
Category: Campus Life, Student Experience

Title: Georgetown Qatar Graduating Seniors Reflect on Four Years as Hoyas

Author: Maliha Khan (SFS'24)
Date Published: May 7, 2024

Our four years at Georgetown are about to end and it’s hardly believable that we will be graduating in a matter of days. Senior year can be a mix of excitement, nostalgia and perhaps a bit of apprehension about what comes next. 

For me, the word that best describes the feeling is bittersweet. Amid the anticipation and nerves about starting a new chapter in my life, I feel sad about leaving college. I will miss Georgetown, the familiar faces that brought me joy, seeing my friends every day, and the freedom to try new things and take exciting new courses every semester. Looking back on my college journey, I’m grateful for all that Georgetown has given me. From building meaningful relationships to spending time in DC and South Africa and shooting videos for Georgetown Stories, Georgetown has been a beautiful and at times stressful experience. While I will miss all the people I met here, I will not miss the finals and the crushing deadlines. 

How are seniors feeling now that this chapter of their lives is wrapping up? I caught up with a few seniors from Georgetown University in Qatar. Here’s what they had to say.

⁠How do you feel about graduating from GU-Q?

Anam Fatima (SFS’24): It’s a bittersweet feeling. Georgetown was such a learning experience, so it’s sad to leave, but also exciting to go out and apply everything I learned here. I’m going to keep a piece of being a Hoya with me.

Umiama Ahmed (SFS’24): I am excited to go home and spend time with my family, but I am scared of the unpredictability that graduation brings with it. Also, I’m really stressed about packing my room.

Anwar Malik (SFS’24): It feels like yesterday when we came to Georgetown Qatar and time has passed so fast. It’s a mixed feeling. I’ll miss this place, but I’m looking forward to what’s coming next.

Nada Algahiny (SFS’24): It brings up a lot of emotions. I’m happy and excited about this new chapter in my life, but it’ll also be sad and tough to leave Georgetown. So yeah it’s bittersweet. 

Noha Alhamid (SFS’24): I have very mixed feelings. I feel happy but at the same time sad about leaving a place I got so used to. I feel proud of all my accomplishments and am excited to celebrate at graduation.

Asma Shakeel (SFS’24): It doesn’t feel real. Sometimes I feel my environment like my juniors, peers and professors are the ones reminding me that I am about to graduate. I don’t feel like my mind and body are ready to graduate. I am excited for many of the ceremonies, but I also feel very nostalgic about it.

Juan Carlo Landayan (SFS’24): It still hasn’t sunk in. We’re in our finals week and I still can’t believe that classes are ending. Is this how it ends? 

Two young women outside at night sitting on a ledge with a cityscape behind them
Maliha Khan (SFS’24) and Asma Shakeel (SFS’24)

What will you miss the most about GU-Q?

Anam: Definitely the people that I met here! My friends are some of the closest people in my life. Also, the campus, the professors and the people who make Georgetown what it is.

Nada: I’ll miss the Office of Academic Services because I work there and it’s like my second home at Georgetown. And of course, the community I built here.

Asma: I feel very uneasy at the thought of not being around my friends all the time. I’ll of course see them and stay in contact, but I won’t have this convenience of being around them and seeing them all the time. I’ll also miss the comfort of being in Education City.

Noha: Being around people who love and care about me. We started in the pandemic and I felt a disconnect, but as I started to come to campus I was able to build very strong relationships. I will miss having friends from such diverse backgrounds — geographically, religious and culturally. 

Anwar: Obviously, I’ll miss the people, my friends, some of the professors and staff members. Not just at Georgetown, but across the Education City. Also, we don’t realize it now, but in Education City, we are living in a big bubble, where we have everything and we are being taken care of. I will miss that after graduation.

Carlo: How spoiled we are at GU-Q! Things like free printing and spa massages that are offered during finals week. I just came and got one after my class today. 

Two young women at the Senior Dinner in dim purple light in a ballroom setting.
Nada Algahiny (SFS’24) and Noha Alhamid (SFS’24) at the Senior Dinner.

What’s been your favorite moment at Georgetown?

Anwar: I think there have been quite a few moments. But the one that stands out is when we (Georgetown) won the cricket tournament for the first time. After 15 years of close calls and making it to the finals in my junior year, it all came together. I was the vice captain that year. My semester in Italy was also an unexpectedly wonderful experience. I left with incredible friendships, and living in Italy was exciting.

Anam: All the Georgetown leadership track events were great, especially when we went kayaking, and my friend dived in the water and left me alone in the water. I think my senior year also has been great. I went to Belgium for the international law competition and won the best speaker award.

Umiama: I think when I got to know about studying abroad. I bonded with one of my closest friends at GU-Q at a party during my semester abroad.

Asma: In my sophomore year during finals week, my friends and I were sitting in my room, chatting, laughing and making jokes. Also, the time we went to the beach together to watch the sunrise.

Nada: My semester abroad! I experienced everything for the first time. I was also able to live in the dorms for the first time! I miss that.

Noha: I enjoyed all the community iftars. I got to enjoy Ramadan with all my friends.

A group of young men playing soccer in an indoor gym
Anwar Malik (SFS’24) playing football.

What has the Georgetown community meant to you?

Anwar: When things go wrong, there are always people who can help you. Whenever I have a problem or I don’t know what to do, I call John Wright. I have my friends, and I can reach out to the people on the cricket and football teams. It’s like you’re away from home, but you have your people.

Asma: I think GU-Q as a community is very different from what I expected. I was expecting a large campus, where I wouldn’t know the majority of the people. It’s a very small and close-knit community. All of us international students also have this shared struggle of being away from home and have similar challenges. So there is this comfort in knowing that there is always someone to rely on in the community.

Nada: You always have someone to support you.The wellness center, your professors or friends. There is always someone you can reach out to. It makes you feel like you matter and you belong here.

Noha: It meant having a strong support system of people who care about you. Not just my friends but also my professors, deans, and mentors. I am very grateful to my friends and my mentor Professor Zabara and Dr. John Wright.

⁠Anything you’d like to say to your freshman self?

A young woman with a Muslim headdress sitting in a booth
Anam Fatima (SFS’24)

Anam: Don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable. Live in the moment and have some fun!

Anwar: I think I’d tell myself to not stress too much and do everything I can. I would also say to be more active and look for opportunities and resources Georgetown offers.

Umiama: Be optimistic!

Asma: Explore Doha more, and go out more often. Go easy on yourself and you will be fine.

Nada: Even though the beginning might not be what you expected, given that we started university online, things get better.

Noha: You will be fine and you will discover things you like. Trust the process.

Carlo: Try to be daring. Don’t undersell yourself.

What’s next?

A woman in business attire standing in front of a GUQ pull up banner.
Asma Shakeel (SFS’24) at her Honors thesis presentation

Anwar: I don’t know what exactly I’ll be doing after I graduate, but I do know that I’ll be working in the sports industry. I’d love to combine my degree in economics with sports and work on sports and data. It’s a very niche area and isn’t related to my degree, but I am excited.

Asma: Packing Of course! All the formalities and wrapping everything up. Also, going home and then to Oxford and hoping that it is just as lovely as GU-Q.

Nada: I am going to graduate school in Barcelona!

Noha: I am taking a break and I want to take my time and relax. The last few months were crazy and I feel it’s important to reflect and take things slow.

Carlo: I’m going to spend my summer in the Philippines and then go to DC for  my master’s at Johns Hopkins. I’m glad its DC because I feel I already have built a community there, and students are going to DC coming fall for study abroad and graduate school at Georgetown.

Maliha Khan is a Georgetown Storyteller and senior at the School of Foreign Service (SFS) at Georgetown’s Qatar campus. She is majoring in culture and politics with a minor in English.