Bidding the old goodbye, Welcoming the new: A Look into NU-Q’s Class of 2019 Orientation

By Neha Rashid

Photo by Neha Rashid

Photo by Neha Rashid


At the same time the school was graduating its largest class, Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) was prepping to accept another record setter. According to NU-Q Student Records, 41 students in the Class of 2015 graduated the Journalism or Communication programs this June.

“When they came in, they were considered the best and the brightest. They really proved that. They were very engaged, very smart and very excited,” says LaKisha Tillman, Student and Residential Life Manager at NU-Q.

 According to Tillman, the Class of 2015 were “true Wildcats.”

“Orientation is really integral for incoming students,” Tillman added. She attributed the success of the Class of 2015 to their orientation program, four years ago, when the program was first revamped and changed.

Four years later, NU-Q has welcomed the Class of 2019, NU-Q’s second largest class, following the Class of 2018. But this is also the first class at NU-Q to have an enrollment of 50 percent Qataris, the largest one yet, according to Leon Braswell, Director of Admissions at NU-Q.  

Additionally, NU-Q has three transfer students from other Education City campuses and a 20-25 percent acceptance from the Academic Bridge Program.

However, the most drastic difference in the Class of 2019 is the number of students enrolled in the Journalism and Communication programs. Unlike previous classes where the numbers in the two have been more or less equal, the Class of 2019 has fewer than 15 Journalism students, with no male students enrolled, and fewer than 50 Communication students, with exact numbers yet to be determined by Student Records.

According to Braswell, NU-Q’s new freshmen class is, “pretty global.”  “They certainly would have a strong interest in global issues, social and community service – not only a local level but at a global level – and we have a little bit more athletes,” adds Braswell. “It’s not just about media, but they’re curious about the world.”

Orientation for the Class of 2019, which ran from August 16 to 20, included Scavenger Hunts across NU-Q and Education City, self-reflective and engaging activities such as the True Colors personality assessment activity run by Tillman and Tell Your Story by Evan Witt, Coordinator for Campus Life at HBKU; introductory panels with program directors, as well as various sessions with faculty and staff who introduced the students to life at NU-Q.  The annual chant off with the CMU-Q Tartan’s and the traditional March through the Arch also took place on the last day.

According to Katie Hyon, Student Affairs Specialist at NU-Q, the students “feel comfortable in at least being well introduced to NU-Q,” and have had “some really great conversations with faculty and staff.” Hyon added that the Class of 2019 may add more competition to student trips and experiences across NU-Q and predicts that, “This whole class will remain very engaged, to a larger degree.”

Hisham Ashour, an incoming freshman, says “I’m excited to see where I will end up a year from now and how much I will have changed.” Hassan Al Jahni, another freshman, adds that he is “excited to go on this path and enjoy my time at Northwestern.”

Classes start this week all throughout Education City, many freshmen were reminiscent but grateful for the Wildcat Welcome Week.

“I was actually kinda scared cause it’s a different environment, different culture but it’s been really great. And I think it’s mostly because upperclassmen and faculty members worked really hard in order for the experience to be really nice for us. I’m really thankful,” said Isabella Palma, a member of the Class of 2019.

According to Hyon, the only thing that could improve orientation would be “better pre-planning during spring semester.” But besides that, it was “swell.”


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