Research, Richmond, Spring Break, and more!

by Hayley, a Patriot Blogger

Hi readers! I hope all has been well since I last wrote :)

This past week was rush week for my band service fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi. We had a ton of great members of the Green Machine come out to events last week, and we accepted eight new membership candidates! Over the next two months, I will be educating them as they go through the process of becoming official brothers of the fraternity. I can’t wait to work with them and guide them along this pathway!

Today is a super exciting day, as I am finally (FINALLY) distributing the survey for my honors research project! The data should be rolling in pretty steadily over the next couple of weeks, and then I get to do more exciting things like compile it and analyze it. This is really the first major step in my research, and I am so excited! It’s not often that you get to conduct your own independent research as an undergraduate, so I feel really lucky to be part of the Honors in Communication program.

Spring break is coming up in less than two weeks, but before that, something else really exciting is happening–the Green Machine is traveling to Richmond! More accurately, the men’s basketball team is traveling to Richmond for the CAA tournament, and we are accompanying them on their travels. It’s always an incredibly fun weekend, filled with meeting new friends from other bands, bowling, Chinese food, WaWa trips, sketchy hair dryers at the Quality Inn, and most importantly, postseason basketball! March is one of my favorite times of year, mostly because I love college basketball. This will be my fourth (and sadly, last) trip to Richmond with the band, and I have loved every one of these trips :)

For any of you seniors out there, I hope the college decision-making process is going well for you! We at The Patriot Life are always happy to answer questions from prospective students, so let us know if there’s something you want to know more about!

Until next time….GO MASON!

–Hayley

Exams, Christmas, New Year’s, and San Diego!

by Hayley, a Patriot Blogger

Happy New Year from the West Coast! :)

Since I haven’t written in a while, let me update all of you on the past month’s happenings. December is always a hectic month, and this year was no exception. On Saturday, December 1, the Colony of Sigma Alpha Iota at George Mason University was chartered and officially became the Mu Epsilon Chapter! SAI is a women’s music fraternity that gathers together women who have an interest in music and want to contribute to the growth and development of music both in their local communities and throughout the world. I am so excited to have 21 new sisters!

The sisters of Mu Epsilon!

The week after that, my final research proposal was due for my Communication Honors course. My professor had given me a ton of helpful feedback on my proposal draft, so I felt prepared to edit and turn in my final copy. I received an A on the paper (and in the course), which means that next semester, I will get to conduct my research project! Hooray! I am excited for the opportunity to work closely with the Communication faculty and have the help of the resources from Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication. It’s going to be an exciting project :)

I finished up with exam week, which was stressful (as always) but not as stressful as other years. I only had one in-class exam; the rest were either take-home projects or papers. On Monday the 19th, I turned in my last take-home exam and was officially “free!” The semester was finished! I received all of my final grades on Wednesday and ended the semester with a 4.0. I’m really happy that all my hard work this semester paid off :)

My boyfriend had already arrived to spend the holidays with me, and on Wednesday the 21st, we traveled back to Ohio to spend Christmas with my parents and my older sister, who lives not too far away from Mason. It was a week full of relaxing, watching movies, baking (and eating) cookies, and, of course, opening and enjoying presents. It was the first Christmas my boyfriend has spent with my family, and I think he was a little overwhelmed; we usually spend the entire morning opening presents!

After Christmas, we spent approximately 36 hours back at Mason/in D.C. before jetting off to sunny San Diego, where we are now. We spent the afternoon of New Year’s Eve at Sea World, enjoying their Christmas Celebration (even though it was after Christmas). I found a Shamu Santa!

Shamu!

We stayed at home for New Year’s Eve festivities and made a bunch of snacks and watched movies. Sunday was spent relaxing, and yesterday was super productive, kicking off new workout routines for both of us and running some errands.

Since he’s a schoolteacher (middle school band and orchestra), he’s back at work today, and I’m enjoying the day (and the comfy bed) to myself. I hope all of you either have had or are still enjoying a fantastic winter break!

A Green Machine State of Mind

by Hayley, a Patriot Blogger

Hello, readers! :) I hope all has been well since I last wrote!

We’re into the home stretch of the semester; next week is Thanksgiving Break, and a few weeks after that, finals will be over and it’ll be time to go home for Winter Break. It’s crazy that my last fall semester of undergrad will be over soon.

The past few days have been packed full of Green Machine gigs. Last Friday was the doubleheader home opener, with the women playing American University and the men playing Rhode Island. The women lost (though it was a very close game) and the men won in overtime, 92-90. It was an intense finish!

On Saturday, the band packed up and headed over to the RAC (Recreational Athletic Complex) for the women’s volleyball game. It was senior night, and one of the senior’s moms had requested that we play at the game. We had a ton of fun! It was great to play in a new atmosphere and for new fans.

Sunday brought with it another women’s game, this time against Oakland. We won, 59-48. Hooray!

Monday morning rolled around, and the Green Machine boarded a bus and headed to Blacksburg, Virginia, home of the Virginia Tech Hokies. We played in the NIT Preseason Tournament over the past two days, losing first to Florida International University (which was a surprise and a real bummer) and winning tonight against Monmouth. Despite Monday night’s loss, the Green Machine never lost its energy and its enthusiasm for the team. We are some of the basketball team’s biggest supporters and fans, no matter what. :)

This post is coming to you all at 4:00am, as we just returned from Blacksburg about an hour or so ago. I finished up the tiniest bit of homework I had left, and now I’m off to sleep for a few hours before my 9:00 class. It’s been a crazy few days, but I wouldn’t trade a minute of it for anything in the world. I love my Green Machine family and Mason Basketball!

It’s almost November! Wait, what…?

by Hayley, a Patriot Blogger

Hello, Patriot Life readers!

My apologies for my recent disappearance. These past two weeks–as I am sure you have garnered from all of our posts–have been incredibly busy!

I’m currently sitting in the Starbucks on campus, drinking a pumpkin spice Americano and waiting for some of my Communication 200 students to arrive. I am a TA (teaching assistant), and today, I’ll be helping them prepare for their upcoming exam.

After that, I’ll be having a few committee meetings for my fraternity (Kappa Kappa Psi, the national honorary fraternity for college bandmembers) before I head home to make dinner. Tonight, I’m making bruschetta chicken–I’m so excited! My friend Sherell sent me the recipe. I’ll share it with you all–I have no idea if it’s good, but she gave it rave reviews, and I trust her culinary opinion. I promise a full report of the deliciousness when next I write!

Tomorrow, I have work all day, then I’ll probably spend some time with friends in the evening. On Saturday, I have an entirely free day–which sounds more exciting than it is, knowing that I have to spend much of it catching up on homework. Alas, it will be a very productive day, rewarded by going out to dinner and to a play with my friend Jessica. She and I will be attending Summer Brave, a production put on by the Mason Players. Free student tickets, hooray! :)

Have a great weekend, all!

Everyday I’m Shufflin’

by Hayley, a Patriot Blogger 

As Grant mentioned earlier this week, the Green Machine, Mason’s pep band, performed the Party Rock Anthem at Mason Madness last night. It was a total surprise to the crowd–and, as you’ll be able to tell from watching the video, they went CRAZY!

Mason Madness is an event held every October to kick off basketball season. The men’s and women’s teams and coaching staffs are introduced, and we see performances from the Masonettes (our dance team), the cheerleaders, Urbanknowlogy (our hip-hop dance squad), the Mean Green drumline, and, of course, the Green Machine.

There are typically a couple of outside performers, as well, and last night did not disappoint. Peter Rabbit, an amazing “bucket drummer,” and Snap Boogie (from America’s Got Talent) were there to perform.

Last night was the first time in the history of the Green Machine that we have performed on the court. It was an incredible experience, being able to rock out with our friends from dance and cheer.

The Green Machine is open to all Mason students who play an instrument, no audition required. But, be warned–once you’re in the band, you’re in it for life! You can never “not” be a Green Machine member again!

Happy shufflin’!

Midterm Madness

by Hayley, a Patriot Blogger

Even though it’s not officially the middle of the semester, the entire month of October is considered a potential time for midterm exams. I have my first one tomorrow in my Communication Research Methods class.

I’m snuggled up under a blanket in my apartment with my textbook by my side and my notes on the screen. I’m using an online flash card application (Quizlet–you’ll want to remember that!) to help me study. Best of all, I’m drinking a hot cup of tea. :)

I bought this tea on Friday when my sister and I adventured to Old Town Alexandria. We went into a bunch of shops we’d never been into before, including The Spice and Tea Exchange. This store has a ton of unique spice and tea blends, all made right there in the shop. The tea I bought is called “California Fields,” and it has black and green tea, sunflower, cactus flower, and rhubarb in it. That sounds like a pretty crazy combination, but it’s really sweet and yummy.

After we browsed the shops and made a few purchases (I got a $3 set of rings from an accessories shop!), we bought our first Pumpkin Spice Lattes of the season from Starbucks and headed to Gravelly Point Park. While going to a park may not seem terribly exciting, let me tell you why Gravelly Point is so cool.

GP is on the outskirts of Arlington, right along the Potomac River and next to Reagan International Airport. From the park, you have a fantastic view of the Washington Monument, the Capitol, and most importantly, of planes taking off from Regan.

When I say a “great view,” what I mean is that planes will be either taking off or landing RIGHT above your head, depending on which way the wind is blowing. When we were there on Friday, planes were taking off. They would speed down the runway toward us and–just as soon as we were sure they weren’t going to make it off the ground–headed off into the sky. It was an amazing, unforgettable experience. It’s my newest favorite spot in D.C., and I can’t wait to go back! I promise I’ll post pictures next time :)

That’s about all I have time for tonight–I must get back to studying! I’ll catch you all this weekend from the left coast, as I’ll be traveling to sunny San Diego on Thursday to see my boyfriend.

Until then, have a great week–cheers!

Another Busy Thursday

by Hayley, a Patriot Blogger 

Hi all! Allow me a brief moment to introduce myself, if you don’t yet know me–I’m Hayley, a senior Honors College student majoring in Communication (Journalism) and minoring in American History. I hail from the middle of nowhere in Ohio (90 minutes south of Cleveland). I have many, many interests and activities, all of which you will probably hear about at least once during our time together on this blog. :)

In terms of academics, this semester I am taking Political Journalism, Intercultural Communication, History of Baseball, Facilitating Communication Education, and Honors Research Methods. In my research methods course, I am preparing to do an independent research project in the spring. This research (as of now) will focus on the rhetoric of the green movement. If you don’t know what rhetoric is, Aristotle can help you out! He says that it is the art of discovering “all available means of persuasion.” In simpler terms, it analyzes how speaking and writing have an impact on an audience. This past summer, I interned at the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce and consider myself an advocate for sustainability, which is why the green movement interests me so much.

As I write this, I’ve just finished up work for the day. I work as an office assistant in the Honors College, so if you happen to give our office a call on Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday mornings, you might hear my voice!

After I eat lunch, I’m heading over to the on-campus Starbucks, where I will be holding “office hours” for my Communication 200 students. I am a teaching assistant (TA) for that course, so I help my professor, Dr. Wright, both during and outside of class. In class, I add supplemental material to her lectures, and outside of class, I respond to all comments/questions/concerns/complaints from students. I love working with these students, especially those who are discovering the discipline of Communication for the first time.

When I’m finished with that, I have a few meetings to either attend or run before my roommate and I go out for dinner tonight. She and I are best friends, and even look somewhat alike. Strangers often ask if we are sisters–and even though we’re not biological sisters, we are so close that we definitely consider ourselves sisters. I’m lucky to have such a wonderful friend and roommate to live with!

This is a pretty typical day for me–I only have Monday/Wednesday classes (someday, you’ll be able to design your schedule this way!), which gives me a four-day weekend. I try to stay busy on Thursdays and get as much work done as possible so that I can enjoy my weekends a bit more.

For those of you reading, have a great weekend! Cheers! :)