Specific Posts: The Journey of Experience – Best 4 Years of my Life 30 June 2015

  1. Why I chose CNA-Q
  2. Education system & campus/facility
  3. Contribution to Student Life, official appointment, and growth of Mission20
  4. Social and Personal life
  5. Awards & Recognitions
  6. International trips
  7. Completion of Studies
  8. New role & Accomplishment
  9. While leaving as Student, VP of SRC and Projects Coordinator

Why I chose CNA-Q (College of the North Atlantic – Qatar)

I was always interested in studying Business and I wanted to do my higher studies in Qatar itself because I wouldn’t think of leaving Qatar plus the craze I had for Mission20 and taking it to a bigger level. CNA-Q was my first option, I was impressed by their student life activities, the campus and so many things. After knowing what CNA-Q had to offer, I straight away chose Business Management – Marketing major because that’s where I belong to, being very social person, involved in so many events, campaign and with entrepreneurial mindset.

Now when I am graduating as a proud CNA-Q student, I am proud of my decision and happy that my parents let me choose, they did not even think for a second of my decision, this was because of the trust they have in me.

It was hard to decode 10.2.31, this was my classroom for the first course on Day 1, finally I reached after being 5 minutes late, and teacher expected the new students to be late. The first communications (CM1) class started with full excitement, I still remember her full name ‘Ms. Ruth Benson’, this is when I learned that in CNA-Q we call them instructors, not teachers or sir or ma’am. It is more preferred to call them with their name adding Mister or Miss before their names. A lot of my high school systems were complete fail here; I was also surprised to see computers in so many classrooms unlike in the high school. The most surprising was to know that we have different students in different classes/subjects, scheduling was different on different days. In high school the age of the students studying together would be very similar but in the college I could see students 4 – 7 years older than me, a mix of age, gender, and nationality would be seen in the class, which was very good. It wasn’t usual to be with a teacher for more than 45 minutes in high school but here we would sit for 2 hours without being bored, it would seem meaningful. I was not use to having breaks between classes for 1-2-3 hours but  experienced in CNA-Q, it was OK as I had my high school friends taking different majors so I would hang around with them, go to the recreation centre to pass our time, as the time passed there wasn’t any free time.

Education System & CNA-Q Facility

There was a huge difference in the education system from what I have seen in my high school but I am a person who can easily adapt to changes. The attitude of teachers/instructors here was different or I can say more friendly. I could see the college instructors did not demand respect, it would automatically come in most cases. The teaching tools were more inclined to the modern technology.

The students here have to be self-depended, the instructors normally don’t force the students to study and excel, students being grown-up needs to take initiative themselves to make sure they take all necessary notes for studying. The overall environment in the classroom is such that students don’t think of passing, they think of scoring minimum of A. In the beginning I took the things lightly because my CBSE curriculum prepared me well in grade 11 & 12 so things looked pretty easy, but them as the time passed, the challenging courses started which were interesting and overall rewarding.

The students here have to be self-depended, the instructors normally don’t force the students to study and excel, students being grown-up needs to take initiative themselves to make sure they take all necessary notes for studying. The overall environment in the classroom is such that students don’t think of passing, they think of scoring minimum of A. In the beginning I took the things lightly because my CBSE curriculum prepared me well in grade 11 & 12 so things looked pretty easy, but them as the time passed, the challenging courses started which were interesting and overall rewarding.

CNA-Q instructors uses some of the best ways to pass on the knowledge to the students through team work, encouraging critical thinking, innovative projects & assessments. Their successful industry experience before taking teaching as profession has many advantages for the students as we get to have real life experience relevant to our topic of study. I would say CNA-Q  is the example of the best campuses to study in the state-of-art facility with the availability of latest technological advances, secure and safe campus, respectful environment with wide range of recreational activities and facilities, good choice of cafeterias, enough parking spaces, very modern and advanced library services with wide range of books available physically and online, counselling experts, study and chill out corners almost everywhere, good mix of more and traditional  architecture, celebration of different cultures with pride, wide range of student life activities with dedicated Student Life team of Student Affairs department to make sure the flavor of vibrant campus life is felt by all.

I am mentioning all these because I was very close to the administration of the college in the last 4 years. My words are not enough to describe the how perfect place CNA-Q is to learn, work and grow. Overall my education in the college could not be better than what it was, I could study different subjects or in-depth knowledge different pieces of business, marketing, selling, advertising, accounting, human resources, entrepreneurship etc. 

with some of the best and friendly teachers which made my overall academic experience a rewarding one. I remember of so many great memories and sharing real life business cases with the teachers because of my interest in local companies and I was also involved in my dad’s business. I miss some of the instructors like Mr. Barrie Riome, Mr. Brenda, Mr. Brian Borgford, Mr. Scott Sullivan, Mr. Paul Dunne, Mr. Robert Madronic, Mr. Dean Mackey, Mr. Peter Moore and others.     

Contribution to Student Life, official appointment & growth of Mission20

Getting involved in the student life activities in the college was the best decision I could make. I use to think in my first month that till when I am going to play around with friends and waste my time in the long breaks, I was never like this, even in the high school I spent most of my free time in scouting or volunteering in different environmental awareness activities and other activities. So in my first semester onwards I realized that I am in CNA-Q not only for my academics but to prove myself, to engage students in social responsibility activities as that was my main area of interest.

I started with volunteering in different activities, participated in first Business Plan Competition from School of Business, global village and many more. It was time for me to introduce Mission20 to the college by convincing the Student Affairs department of what is Mission20, who I am, what I do and what is our objective for the humanity. I am glad till date the most preferred youth organization for social responsibility initiatives in CNA-Q is Mission20. I started with a fundraiser campaign for Syrian refugees with the support from Qatar Red Crescent, a short and successful campaign along with people knowing our past and story brought us lots of trust and fame. Dr. Ken MacLeod, President of CNA-Q was very impressed by my and Mission20’s achievements, vision and how I started it at the age of 14 in my high school. 

I remember Dr. Ken mentioning this in many events & being proud of having me in the college. These early days which gave me quick trust, recognition and encouragements kept me going till date. This didn’t come with just one initiative, it was due to my continuous involvements & success in whatever I was involved which also means academics. It would be very difficult for me to mention each and everything & I am sure of missing many things because I never thought that after 4 years I will be writing about my journey in CNA-Q.

Along with being in many things I started my next huge fundraising campaign for building 2 Non-Formal Education Centres (NFE) in a village in Bangladesh where I visited in April 2012 as a part of CNAQ-ROTA volunteer trip. This campaign ran for a long time with good support from students and faculty along with the top management of CNA-Q, at the end this Mission20 initiated campaign was able to build 2 NFCs, we had good media coverage of the success as well as in college’s own publications. Soon after being too much involved on social campaigns and other things on the campus, there was recruitment for the new Students’ Representative Council (SRC), I filled all the necessary forms, got the references etc. to apply for membership. SRC is the most elite group of students, I was fortunate to serve in this council. As I attended the first introductory meeting I saw majority of new faces especially Qatari with other Arab nationals, I was the only Indian with one Pakistani, I was happy to be working with a diverse group of 10 members and then 2 added after 3 months.

Everyone got their position and I created one for myself with the approval from Student Affairs because the SRC was reporting to Student Affairs, the position I held was Social Affairs Coordinator considering my interest and expertise but couldn’t stay on this position for long time and I was promoted to the position of Vice President (that is the highest an expat can get). I was proud and confident of the new position as leadership role was not new to me, I would say being a leader was always in me along with mentor-ship from my lifetime mentor (Shakil Ahmed Kakvi). Being in SRC I had opportunities to put forward my opinions and concerns for the welfare of students and I gradually learned the channels of getting the work done in this huge administrative of the CNA-Q. I was in many countless committees for different purpose during my term in the SRC.

My character, hard work and nature had won the hearts of many, soon I along with my good moody friend (Noor Halim Afridi) got the responsibility of managing the 1800+ lockers in the huge campus of CNA-Q which means creating a new system of issuing the lockers, increasing the sales (which we increased 80% from the previous year), maintaining the lockers and everything related to them. This was a paid Student Assistant work with just 2 hours of work a day with fair pay, we managed this for 2 years till we graduated. Being in the position of Vice President of SRC, I had freedom to administer and run SRC as I wanted, this was because of my good understanding and trust with the SRC President Hussain Al Marri who was nearly 14 years older than me, the respect and understanding between us was unmatching.

As mentioned earlier being in SRC I was fortunate to be part of many committees which also include many high level gatherings, meeting very high profile people of the country from commercial to the government sectors, one of the many high profile I met was Dr. Mohammed Saleh Al Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry, Qatar during the Gala Dinner of 10th year anniversary of CNA-Q in Katara hall. During this high profile event, the history of 10 years was shown through a special live program and photos of the past, can you imagine being in photographs of the history which was being narrated in this event? I was so proud that not only me but the event initiated by me (Mission20) was mentioned in the gathering of high profile guests and my interview mentioned in the historic ’10 Year Anniversary Book’. My success story have been published in couple of internal and external magazines.

During this time I got an opportunity to travel to Tunisia for another CNAQ – ROTA Volunteer trip, a different experience it was. One of the other huge fundraiser I organized with series of activities was for the victims of Typhoon in Philippines, the huge amount of Qr. 75000 was handed over to Qatar Red Crescent and Philippines Ambassador to Qatar during the Alumni Night on 10 December 2013 .On 16 December 2013, CNA-Q celebrated Qatar National Day, for the first time in the history of CNA-Q there was a parade in a scout uniform which I led along with my junior scouts from high school. I was so proud to wear my uniform after 2.5 years which I use to wear when I was the leader of scouts in the school. During the whole year in SRC we were involved in so many events and projects.

During intersession semester 2014 (Nearly May 2014) where SRC 2013 – 2014 had to come to an end and a new group would take over, but those not graduating were given first consideration and 3 old members made to the new group. Along with old members, total 19 members formed the SRC 2014 – 2015, I was again chosen the Vice President of this huge group. it was a very different experience with this group, a different mix of culture, age, gender and understanding. It was much challenging I would say, but I could pass the challenges. In this second time, I was more prepared and I knew the mistakes happened previously which were not repeated again. After first month of being in the council, I had to interview each member one – one for 30 – 35 minutes for each member.

It took me 7 working days to finish it among so many other things happening and my classes. These interviews were needed as they gave me understanding of why they are in SRC, what they are expecting, comment on my leadership, what they are expected to do and talk about any conflicts. I would say people started working better after that session, it was much appreciated by many people of me taking that initiative, it also made the bond much stronger between me and the members. So many ideas would be discussed in the meeting and would be implemented. We all developed good bond apart from rare conflicts due to difference of opinion which I think is part of certain type of groups, I personally support constructive criticism but I am totally against criticisms as they break the unity of any group, things were challenging but not out of control.

I remember one of the best gift this group gave me was the great secret party they organized at our weekly meeting time where not only SRC members were invited but all the Student Affairs staff, vice presidents and associate vice president of the college, the president couldn’t attend due to a meeting but conveyed his regards on the occasion of me winning the Oryx GTL Award for Academic Excellence in Leadership, this party and love of my colleagues meant a lot to me, knowing my likes and dislikes they arranged a cake which was made like a person wearing a suit because I always wear formals or suit but that day I wore a Mission’s Trophy t-shirt as a promotion to my football tournament.

Apart from all these the best gift they gave me was a video interviews they shot and the letter signed by all the SRC members and college’s top leaders. Few days later I was awarded this award during college’s main Annual Award’s Night which is after the Graduation event in terms of its importance. It was the second time I received an iPhone as a gift in the college, this time it was iPhone 6. It was so unfortunate that my parents were not in Qatar to attend the Award ceremony but I had by younger sisters attended. There are so many things to mention of so many adventures but I just can’t remember all of them. My so much involvement in college’s wide range of activities, committees, being student ambassador and in short organizing different events and initiatives has given me exposure to different levels of management. I was well recognized and trusted starting from the President, Executive Director to the Security and Cleaning staff.

Social and Personal life:

The best way to learn about life is by being surrounded by different people, multinational, multi-cultural, different thinking, a different belief, and so on. I learned a lot being in CNA-Q other than academics. I learned to respect & understand people of different nationalities, different view point, and different beliefs. I learned how to work along with them with peace and harmony. I have developed so many personal and leadership skills which is not only needed in my work life but also in my personal life. I enjoyed good company of so many good friends especially the SRC and my marketing gang (Abdullah, Affan, Shahzur, Khalid and Omar), these people made sure we all excel in academics, enjoy with so much laughter and teasing, all for good. These friends have always helped me and each other in our good and bad times, proud to have them and proud of graduating together. Being in CNA-Q I have changed so much character-wise and understanding of the purpose of life which was due to coming closer to my peaceful faith (Islam) due to working at Deen Club in CNA-Q. One of the big advantages of being in CNA-Q is you can enjoy your passion through more than 20 clubs like the Art club, photography club, running club, music club, and more. Dealing with so many people of different levels made me humble as I could.

Official Awards & Recognitions
Third Position in Business Plan Competition 2011 – 2012
Third Position in Business Plan Competition 2012 – 2013
Second Position in Innovation Competition 2013 – 2014

Appreciation for Vice-President of Students’ Representative Council 2013-14
First Position in Innovation Competition 2014 – 2015
Oryx GTL Award for Academic Excellence in Leadership 2014
Student Affairs Leadership Achievement Award 2015

Appreciation for Vice-President of Students’ Representative Council 2014-15

International trips:

Bangladesh 2012: Volunteering Trip to Cox’s Bazar Bangladesh was my first experience of teaching in a rural village and to the unfortunate community, this was not my first experience but was the best experience till then. 35+ students and instructors from CNA-Q went to this trip which was managed by Reach Out To Asia (ROTA). Our team was divided into small teams to teach students in 4 different Non Formal Education Centers (NFE) and one large group of CNA-Q instructors where tasked to train the village teachers. I was teaching English to young student of age between 6 – 7 years old. Our team of 5 people had different subjects to teach like Math, English, Hygiene, Science and Physical Education. A small one room centre made of metal sheets and leaves had no electicity and was packed with 30 students, we going from Qatar found it difficult but, what the use is if it doesn’t soften our heart towards needy section of our society. I was very thankful to the almighty that I could be here in this place which has thought me so much about life and being grateful. Here the people and kids where happy with whatever they had, the kids were so smart and eager to learn, just a support is what they want. I was happy to see Muslim Aid-UK and ROTA-Qatar partnered to provide basic education to the kids and vocational training to the adults in Cox’s Bazar area of Bangladesh.
Tunisia 2013: I have seen many blue collar labours working in construction and house renovation works, being a scout I have done some of these activities but never had an experience of renovating a house that is like scrubbing the paint, doing plastering, painting again and so on. In Tunisia, 30+ members CNAQ team with ROTA renovated a school in Ain Draham which is near the Algerian border. Getting the hands dirty and working as a pro in this was a great fun. All the mornings in around 10 days where spent in the renovation and evenings were spent in different activities, shopping and meals. Overall Tunisia was an amazing experience, this was my first experience of staying in a traditional hotel on the mountain top. Among so many daily activities and fun I had first time experienced paintball in a jungle, which was fun and very painful for few days. Seeing different historic sites and a ground where the first Arab Spring started in Tunis was
good experience.
United Arab Emirates 2014: One week International Youth Leadership Conference was a great experience, especially meeting and sharing room which unknown people. The team from Qatar had 5 people including me (2 Indians, 1 Qatari, 1 Canadian, and 1 Pakistani). We all were in different room shared by 2 other attendees of the conference of different nationality, in the beginning we were against the idea but it is the conference rule to increase the cultural understanding. Really after just 2 hours I and my two roommates (Iraqi and Bulgarian) were as if we are old friends. Salute the idea! Part of this conference was the Model Arab League meeting where discussed different topics related to the Arab world and passed different resolutions. It was full of fun and learning with some outdoor activities as well.
Indonesia 2015: The last and so far the best travel experience I had was in Indonesia with 25+ CNA-Q students in a team with ROTA. This mission was to teach students of age 16 -18 in a village 5 different subjects (Entrepreneurship, IT, English, Safety at Work Place and Leadership). We were divided based on these subjects and I with 3 more colleagues chose Entrepreneurship. This is one of the best subject for me to learn and teach. Every day we use to have a new batch of 30 – 35 students with different English level, we had a translator to help us. Apart from teaching we had so much fun visiting the villages, learning traditional batik, rice planting, visiting historic sites and so on. Still our team from CNA-Q is in touch and we miss the whole experience
Inspiring from the trips organized by ROTA, I am personally want to spend some time frequently with different communities to help and teach them. Mission20 may organized similar trips in future to give an opportunity to those who want to have these experiences and wants to be physically involved in giving back to the community.

Completion of Studies, New role & it’s Accomplishments

In December 2014 I was done with all my courses of Business Management – Marketing, I could do some extra courses but I chose not to, I didn’t have much to do in the college except fulfilling my responsibility of Vice President of SRC which didn’t require me to be in the college full time like before and during this month I and my team had the final stage of the Innovation Competition which we won. I focused more on registering a new company, obtaining commercial licence for Mission20 and taking over my Dad’s trading business under the new company and engaged in other activities outside college.

So in the 3rd week of January I received an email from the Dean of Student Affairs, Ms. Lauralee Kilgour asking me if I would join CNA-Q’s student Affairs department as a Project Coordinator to organize Auto Safety Fair 2015, this event was the best event I organized in CNA-Q so far and other small events. Basically I was asked to be a temporary employee, I didn’t think much because I loved the offer, I just had to reorganise my priorities again and my way to manage the business along with being a full time employee in CNAQ for 9 weeks.

I started working on the Auto Safety Fair, firstly seeing what was done in the past and then planning to do it different and more practical. This two-day event was well attended and participated by different departments of Ministry of Interior, transport authority, driving school, car dealers, health authority, youth organizations, speakers, racing club and experts, students and so many more. The main highlight of the event was the live accident scenario with two cars by Civil Defence Department, Ambulance Service and CNA-Q paramedic students.

After organizing this successful event I had some other assignments for the Student Affairs Department where I worked. My contract was extended making it total of 5 months, I loved the work and especially the Student Affairs Department. Indeed CNA-Q is the place to learn, work and grow. As I was involved in many different tasks, I got the second biggest task during my tenure was to organized first ever Instructors’ Appreciation Event, a unique event which had many elements other than the main event like distribution of greeting cards for students to write messages for the instructors, interview videos of students and deans with a humour touch to it. The main event had a red carpet welcome, distributing gifts, traditional lunch and stage programs. Towards the end and for few days I received so many emotional messages and praising the efforts of Students’ Representative Council for making it huge.

While leaving as Student, VP of SRC and Projects Coordinator

As it was nearing 15th June, the Graduation Ceremony which I was eagerly waiting for but the sad part was it was end of my tenure as a student and just three days after that was my last day as an employee. The graduation ceremony was grand at QNCC with the highest number of graduates till date. It was one of the best days of my life and I was proud to see my parents proud of me. It will be impossible to re-create the same situation again.

The feeling of graduation and growth was there for few days before and after the graduation, it was sad to leave the friends and instructors who will be always missed. The student life activities, the staff, the special team of Student Affairs Department and Students’ Representative Council. I had several farewells being involved with different teams. The moment which cannot be forgotten and I used to say, I would love to come back and contribute to the student life of this amazing campus. I am fortunate to be part of this history. 

While I was winding up all my responsibilities as a project Coordinator I had the main task of selecting the right team for Students’ Representative Council 2015-16 with Student Life team also in the selection committee, being the Vice President for two years and also a student, I had to play an important role in recognizing the right people. I personally wanted to have those who can actually understand the work, are eager to learn and more importantly can contribute with their time, energy and expertise in making the campus more vibrant along with solving all the problems students face on the campus. It was a difficult choice seeing so many potential candidates but finally from 31 candidates we could choose the best to take up the prestige mission of serving in the SRC. After selecting the best 12 I was tasked to mentor and familiarize them with day to day works of SRC and how the whole administration works.

Finally on 18th June I had my last day of work, a very busy day, I stayed there till late evening to clear my whole office, reply all the emails and so on. I walked down to the courtyard during sunset to see the last sunset of the time, no idea when will I be able to be in the same position again. I am grateful to almighty in giving me this opportunity.

After having the Advance diploma in Business Management – Marketing from CNA-Q, I will continue in Heriot-Watt University – Dubai to get bachelors in Business Management along with taking care of my business and Mission20.