With strict adherence to national safety guidelines and the approval of all authorities, ten students at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) came together for the first in-person extracurricular student activity since the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted schools across Qatar.
The Awareness Walk, a wellness exercise that included a meditative walk through Education City’s Oxygen Park followed by group discussion to promote personal awareness, gratitude, and goal setting, allowed the Qatar Foundation partner university students to create a sense of community, despite the continued need to stay physically apart.
“This was the first Georgetown event where I got to actually be with my classmates,” explained Rejoice Onyenagubo, a first year student at GU-Q. With final exams coming up, she added, the meditative experience allowed for some needed relaxation. “I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure, and there is never enough time to settle down and breathe. But after this walk I feel more calm, focused, and ready to be more productive.”
Before the activity began, students were reminded to follow all health and safety protocols. Wearing masks and headphones, the participants listened to audio instructions that focused their attention on their surroundings as they walked, allowing them to connect to the sensory experiences offered by the 130,000sqm Oxygen Park, the "green lungs" of Education City. At the conclusion of the walk, they sat in a widely spaced circle to share their experiences with each other.
First year student Somaia Alisawi also found personal rewards in the meditative walk. “I learned that I need to notice the little details in my day, the beautiful things, instead of just focusing on the future. After all, it’s what I am doing in the present that will determine my future.”
Returning to the physical or in-person learning environment, explained Afsha Kohli, associate director for Student Development and programme organiser, sends an optimistic message to all learners. “The intention of this activity was to heighten the students’ awareness of themselves, their awareness of Georgetown, awareness of QF, and awareness of the world around them.”