The Greek Life

taraKBy Tara, a Patriot Blogger

Joining Alpha Xi Delta

Some major life decisions take a lot of time and thought, however, to me, joining a sorority just seemed like a natural thing to do.  Being an out-of-state student, I wanted a family that I could call my own at George Mason because I can’t access mine as easily as others. I signed up for recruitment hoping to find a good fit for my preferences, but I found so much more than that. After four days of long hours and many conversations with wonderful girls, the formal recruitment process was finished and I became a new member, or NewXi, of the sorority Alpha Xi Delta (AXiD). I was excited at the moment, but at that moment I had no idea how much it would come to mean to me in the next few weeks.

My Big(center) Chelsea, my twin(left) Allison, and I posing for a family picture!

The NewXi period consists of learning about the chapter of AXiD and the ins and outs of Greek life. During the process I had the amazing opportunity to meet so many of AXiD’s fantastic sisters, and doing so made me feel even more at home within the chapter. My Big, an older sister that acts as an individual’s mentor in the chapter, and my twin, another NewXi my Big has taken under her wing, have become a family for me at George Mason. They both have become such a huge part of my life as a college student, and I’m loving every second of it!

And now that the NewXi period is officially over and I was initiated as a sister of Alpha Xi Delta, I feel so welcomed and appreciated! The girls I have come to know through joining a Greek association have allowed for me to meet many different types of individuals on campus that I may have never had the chance to encounter. I highly encourage everyone to look into Greek life, check out http://si.gmu.edu/greek-life/ to learn about all of the fraternities and sororities we have here at Mason!

What I Didn’t Know I Would Love About Mason

paigeBy Paige, a Patriot Blogger

Well, it has been a little over a week since Mason’s first admissions deadline, so for those of you have already applied – sit back and relax as you read because you just made the best decision of your life! And for those of you who are still thinking about applying to become a Patriot, maybe this will help push you a little harder :)

Applying to schools during senior year can be very stressful. I remember going to school some days praying no one would ask me about my college decision because I just wanted to focus on a test that I was studying for or enjoy a nap during study hall. Thinking about making a decision that would affect the next 4 years of my life was a lot of pressure. During study hall in the library a group of seniors would congregate in the magazine section and discuss their big plans for the future – which schools they were applying to, how many schools they were applying to, what they wanted to study, which teachers were writing their recommendation letters for them, etc.

The biggest piece of advice I would give for making this big decision is try not to please anyone but yourself. Going to college is a chance for you to continue your life somewhere completely new and redefine who you are.

I am sure there are many factors playing into your college decision such as cost, distance from home, size of the school, majors offered, activities and clubs, athletics and campus life. As much as you want to try to check off all those factors on a list, sometimes you just need a little insider advice. So here I present to you three things that I didn’t know that I would love about Mason before coming here!

1.  The close-knit community on campus

Coming in as a freshman in fall 2010, I was still hearing phrases like “Mason is a commuter campus – everyone goes home after classes.” Definitely not true! I lived on campus freshman, sophomore and junior year, and I absolutely loved it. Living in President’s Park freshman year was a great experience because there were many events hosted specifically for freshman like movie nights, community dinners and a mini spring carnival called Parkapalooza. Last year during the hurricane, campus was actually shut down for several days, and I spent about 72 hours locked up in Potomac Heights watching movies, playing Just Dance and baking with my floor mates. Despite the tragic event, those three days stuck on campus were some of the most memorable times I have had at Mason.

Parkapalooza my freshman year

Parkapalooza my freshman year

2. The people!

Everywhere you go on campus, the people you encounter are helpful and friendly whether it is the diverse students that you share classes with or the man who makes your sandwich at Sub Connection. Even our University President Dr. Cabrera is awesome! Despite his busy schedule, he consistently shows how much he truly cares about the students at Mason by attending all sorts of campus events from basketball games to study abroad orientations, you name it. I actually wrote a whole article about how Dr. Cabrera uses Twitter with information that I gathered by tweeting him. He is very connected with his students. The professors are equally as dedicated and are always willing to go the extra step to make sure that you are getting the most out of your education. I needed help writing about my dream job for an online English class, and one of my previous professors, who is extremely busy running his own business and writing books, was more than willing to allow me to interview him for my assignment.

3.  Emphasis on innovation

I knew when applying that Mason’s mantra was “Where innovation is tradition,” but I didn’t actually understand it until going to school here for three years. Since my freshman year, I have seen so many changes. Of note, we are in the process of building new on-campus housing, renovating roads surrounding campus to alleviate traffic jams, and providing 24 hour dining services to encourage healthier eating habits. Personally, I am super jealous that Ike’s (an on-campus diner) will be open 24 hours and that there will be a Panera in the JC. I almost wish I was a freshman again!

The new Ike's!

The new Ike’s!

So if you have already sent in your application, I hope you will get to experience these three things for yourself and add your own to the list. And if you have not applied to Mason yet, there’s still plenty of time!

Mason Basketball: The Road Less Traveled

Pat MoneyBy Patrick Money, Senior Admissions Counselor

Slow starts. Cold shooting. Opponents shooting lights out from 3-point land. Injuries.

All the things I just listed were exactly what Mason fans endured in different stretches in the season opener against American University on Friday evening. Unlike the ongoing list in The Sound of Music, these are not a few of my favorite things.

As a Mason basketball fan, the season opener could not have come any sooner. The excitement was there and the Patriot Center had a strong crowd to support the team. There were a lot of season-long storylines introduced: What is going to happen with point guard play? Who is the floor general of this team? How injury prone are the guys down low? Can this team, who is built to score fast, sustain an offensive onslaught from the opponent during one of their scoring droughts?

A lot of questions…but as the season goes on, hopefully answers will become clear.

The stand-outs on offense in the opener were Bryon Allen and Marko Gujanicic, with both shooting well down the stretch. Allen seemed to pick up right where he left off last season, scoring in high pressure situations with relative ease. You are hearing it here first, folks – Bryon Allen has what it takes to be first team A-10.

mason vs american 1

With Eric Copes on the sideline to start the season, the rebounding was phenomenal. Jon Arledge, Jalen Jenkins, Johnny Williams, and a healthy mix of guards showed their dominance on the boards. This might have been the key to the slow but steady comeback.

How slow you ask?

Mason started the game with a healthy deficit of 21-6. It took some doing, but Mason clawed its way back in the game and kept within striking distance down the homestretch.

How did they claw back?

This is a bit more complicated. The rotation was what I would like to dub “a road less traveled.” Watching some starters sit during big momentum swings, while guys who have hardly seen the court on the collegiate level made big impacts, was a pleasant surprise…but still stressful. Johnny Williams sat out the second half with an injury, and with Arledge battling foul trouble, I was nervous. Solid shooting and a surprisingly effective full-court press made just enough of a difference in the end.

mason vs american 2

Up next is the Lamar Cardinals squad who started their year off with an 89-58 loss to the Butler Bulldogs. Mason has played Lamar twice and is 2-0 with a narrow win from the 2012 season under their belts (75-71). Let’s hope for a strong start so Mason can advance to 2-0 before coming home this Saturday to face off against a tough Northern Iowa squad.

lamar cardinals vs gmu

Mason Nation: An A10 Beginning

Pat MoneyBy Patrick Money, Senior Admissions Counselor

Working for the Admission Office since 2010 has allowed me to share the Mason IDEA with a variety of students from every walk of life you can imagine. It really is fascinating to hear how a university that came from such humble beginnings has become a top destination for so many new college-bound students across the country and around the world. As an alumnus myself, I have an extreme amount of pride and excitement about my university, but when I talk to students, I always make sure to tell them their final destination has to come from the heart. A journey I started to embark on back in 2006 when I saw this happen live…

At George Mason University, every Mason journey can have a different beginning, but for a basketball fanatic like myself, none is better than the 2006 Final Four run. That was 2006, though; it is a great part of this young University’s history and should never be forgotten. It is now 2013, and the inaugural season of the Atlantic 10 for George Mason University is finally here!! Excitement around campus has hit a fever pitch, and an expected sell-out for the men’s opener against American University starts at 7:00pm.

Want a little taste of the Mason spirit? I say watch this teaser…because who can get Mason Nation on their feet better than Doc Nix and the GREEN MACHINE!!

In our 48th season, and our first year away from the Colonial Athletic Association, the Mason Men’s Basketball program is returning five starters from last year – 4 seniors, and an array of underclassman talent. Expect Mason to run a very high tempo offense this year, which should lead to a good amount of shooting opportunities for our guards and post players alike. With a TON of experience coming back, the chemistry should be on a new level and Paul Hewitt’s squad should add a lot of pressure to the returning A-10 schools. While I am excited about the amount of offense this team of sharp shooters and big men can create, don’t sleep on the defensive capabilities this high energy team will showcase.

I know it is only early November…I have to admit I’m already planning my trip (and so should all of you reading this) to Brooklyn, New York this March…

A10 banner

Before I go to the Atlantic 10 tournament…I have to go to the first game of the season. The tone of the rest of the season all starts with how the team plays against American University on Friday night @ 7:00pm.

Think my co-workers and I are ready?

A10 opener

Are you ready?

A10 logo

Happy Application Deadline Day!

SarahBy Sarah Gallagher Dvorak, Director of Undergraduate Admissions

What a day to celebrate here at Mason. First, Happy “Day After Halloween” Day! I’m still trying to recover from WAY too much candy last night. And honestly, I don’t know if I ever remember seeing a kid get that much candy during one night of trick-or-treating, or eat that much candy in one sitting. I kept expecting my son, Oliver, to suffer a similar fate as Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Except this time it wouldn’t be an overstuffed blueberry, but a life size snickers bar. Ugh.

Sarah Star Wars Halloween

But I digress…November 1 is another very special day around here. Happy Deadline Day! This is our first application deadline of the year – it’s for students who wish to be considered for Early Action and priority consideration for scholarships and the Honors College. If that’s you, make sure you submit your application by midnight tonight! Our staff is busy reading the record number of applications that have already come to our office. It’s crazy, but we love it!

If you apply by today, you’ll hear back before your winter break in December. That way, you’ll know early, and won’t have to wait until much later in the spring to know what are your college options. Makes for a much more relaxing second semester senior year!

Well, I best be getting back to reading applications…and eating a bit more of my son’s candy. A warning to you – if you visit campus next semester, I may be twice my size thanks to just a few peanut butter cups, twizzlers, Swedish fish, and skittles. I’m making myself sick just thinking about it.

Anyway, good luck and happy application submitting!!

HashtagChooseMason (1)

The Best Things about the Best University in the Best Country on the Best Planet in the Best Galaxy of the Universe

Ben - cropped no umbrellaBy Ben, a Patriot Blogger

Said University would be George Mason, if you had any doubt. Here are my favorite things about it! They are in no order beyond what popped into my head:

  1. The Professors: Every professor I’ve had at Mason has been good at worst and Fantabulous at best. Our Econ department (the best department, obviously) has a roster of all-stars. Professor Rustici, for instance, controls the room like no one else; I can say, without exaggeration, his students would follow him into battle against evil at the conclusion of most of his lectures. If you don’t believe that level of inspiration is possible from an economics lecture, you would be wrong.

    Image

    The Conclusion of a Typical Lecture

  2. I’m given to understand the professors in other departments are good too, according to my friends.
  3. D.C. Our school is within a stone’s throw (assuming the stone is light and you have superpowers) of Washington D.C., home to a bunch of museums you can tell your parents you went to, and some great (okay, average) professional sports teams like the Capitals, the Wizards, and the Redskins. There’s also a ton of great food.

    Check out the great seats you can score at a Capitals Game!

    Check out the great seats you can score at a Capitals Game!

  4. Fairfax. Let’s say you didn’t want to go to D.C., because it’s too far, or the government was shutdown (hypothetically). You can walk right into our fair city of Fairfax, home to a bunch of great restaurants: Hard times (awesome wing and chili), Brion’s Grille, and The Food (it’s really just called the food. Order the breadsticks) are all within walking distance.
  5. Food. Speaking of food, the food on campus is quite fantastic. I wrote an entire blog post aggressively promoting Einstein’s bagels last year, and my love has only grown since then. Read all about that here. Besides that, we’ve got Subway, Red Hot and Blue, Chik-Fil-A, Starbucks and Panda Express, to name my favorites. And Southside’s not bad either.
  6. Basketball. GMU may not have a football team, but our basketball games are an absolute blast. Two weekends ago we had the kickoff to basketball season, Mason Madness, and I’m now hyped out of my mind. First game next Friday! We’re headed to the tournament this year. I can feel it.
  7. My Amazing Friends. When you go to an amazing school, you will find other amazing people. I call it the law of amazing magnetism. I came to George Mason knowing exactly no one, and I now have an absolutely wonderful group of friends. And if you come here, you’ll find an amazing group too. If you’re lucky, you can even join my amazing group (we’re super friendly, promise!)

    Look How Friendly We Are!

    Look How Friendly We Are!

 

There’s approximately 2,638,974 other great things, but that seven should give you a good idea.  So join the fun!

We want YOU to join Mason Nation!

BloggerHeatherBy Heather, a Patriot Blogger

Happy Halloween future Patriots!

As the first application deadline approaches, some of you might be thinking, Why GMU?

It’s a big decision but also one of the best I’ve ever made. So I want to share with you all a few of the reasons I love Mason.

 

1.       The Students are Passionate

One of the best things about Mason is that all the students care about something, whether a student organization or an issue. Almost every day I see students out around campus petitioning for change. Whether it’s sustainability, student government, or Greek life, everyone has a cause. But if you’re not sure what your passion is yet, don’t worry, Mason boasts over 300 student organizations. It’s not rare at all for an undergraduate to be involved in 2, 3, or even 4 clubs. As a naturally lazy person, it’s really inspiring to be on a campus where everyone cares so much about being involved. It’s motivated me to try lots of new activities and clubs that I might not have gotten interested in if not for the other students at Mason.

2.         The Professors genuinely care

A lot of students worry that they’ll become just another number if they attend a large university but that’s never been an issue for me at GMU. Even in lecture classes, the professors encourage students to come in to their office hours even if it’s just to say hi or introduce themselves. In my largest class this semester, my professor can call on all his 50 students by name. Even our Robinson professors (highly distinguished faculty members) are heavily involved with undergraduates through teaching special courses and holding lecture events. One even came to our residence hall last year to teach us how to make traditional Chinese dumplings! It was clear as soon as I started at GMU that the entire faculty is really there to help students succeed.

3.       The infinite number of on-campus activities

There’s never a dull moment at Mason thanks to our awesome student associations. The Patriot Activity Council holds free movies in the JC Cinema every weekend as well as dance parties multiple times throughout the semester. Every spring GMU holds “Mason Day” where one of our parking lots is turned into a giant carnival complete with rides, performers, and cotton candy!  Tonight I am going to “Once Upon A Scream” an annual housing event where the residence halls are turned into haunted houses. Nearly every day it’s easy to find something fun going on around campus. Even better, they usually include free food and prizes!

So those are some of my favorite things about being a Patriot. Now get your applications in so you can come and experience it for yourself!