Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Growing Pains Felt at SFS – Qatar Campus

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 As SFS-Qatar commences its second year of operation, a new phenomenon is creeping upon the veterans of the first year, when the school consisted of only 25 students, several professors and a few staff members. We, the veterans, like to call this phenomenon “The Freshmen.” We were all fully aware of the fact that we were not going to be the only class at SFS-Q forever, but we enjoyed it while it lasted. We had a small classroom, two conference rooms, a library and a student lounge, all of which we thought of as our small, cozy home. Those were the days when we walked into our student lounge, said the traditional Arabic greeting, “A’salamu Alaikum” (“May peace be with you”), and everyone replied back. After that, we’d settle down and gossip or work quietly on our laptops. You would occasionally find someone sleeping on one of the comfy leather sofas because they had spent all night working on a paper (or procrastinating, as was often the case). At the time, everyone knew your name and recognized you as a member of the small SFS-Q family. Nowadays, the lounge is a zoo. With the addition of 35 new students and a handful of new staff members, life has become a little different. It would be an exaggeration if I said people didn’t know each others’ names; even with the increase in numbers, we are still only 60 students. Still, it’s not the same. In every corner, there’s a new member of our community who doesn’t necessarily reply to your greeting. Simultaneously, the new school year has also brought about cutbacks on student activities like tea, campus lunch and debates. Now that SFS-Q has grown, there are more mouths to feed. Gone are the days when the lounge could fit the entire school and a guest speaker. At that time, many wonderful people joined us to speak about life after college, and to ask us about our thoughts and opinions on current issues. We’ve had the honor of welcoming guests such as Dean Robert Gallucci, Madeline Albright, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai and many others. I do not mean to say that the quality of life at SFS-Q has declined since the freshman class came; I am merely asserting that it’s just not the same. Although most of the people here come from similar backgrounds and probably have a similar mentality and outlook as the first class, there’s just something missing. It’s like the clicking sound a door makes when it closes. Sometimes you think the door is closed, but you haven’t heard that final reassuring sound that confirms that the door is indeed shut. I have several explanations for these feelings, including dislike for the increase in the school’s size, intimidation about the new students and even indifference. Perhaps both parties – that is, the veterans of the first year and the new students – are worried that the other is too brash or different for their liking. It could also be that some people just couldn’t care less about getting to know other students. If students at SFS-Q wish to become a part of the community, they must contribute to it, not just take from it. The way I see it, there are two potential solutions to this dilemma. First, we could completely ignore it and let things play out as they will. Second, we could actively work at getting the new class to bond with the old one. I think we would all like to know each other, because life would be pretty boring if we only interacted within our small cliques. Just as the older SFS-Q students accepted each other’s quirks, we could all probably cut the freshmen some slack. There needs to be a little more effort from all of us to live together in a community. Assmaa Al-Adawi is a sophomore at SFS-Q.

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