Happy Halloween from Mason!

amandaguerinBy Amanda Guerin, Admissions Representative

Hello everyone! My name is Amanda Ray Guerin, and I am one of your Admissions Representatives! This is my first blog post and is also in honor of my favorite holiday: HALLOWEEN.

My family and friends will be the first to tell you that I get way too excited when it’s Halloween time. Not sure if it is from my love of all things fall or an obsession with candy. When you celebrate Halloween in college, the entire university joins in on the fun, with trick-or-treating between the academic departments, students and professors dressed up in costumes (take a look at the photo below from my undergrad Theater class – I’m the one on the left), and pumpkin carving.

For those of you applying to Mason (don’t forget the Early Action deadline is TOMORROW, November 1st!), I wanted to give you a little insight to what events we have going on for our students as we celebrate Halloween.

Amanda Guerin Halloween

Scarecrow makeup from a class I took as an undergrad, Theater 342: Makeup Design (#TBT Oct. 2009)

Wednesday Oct. 30th

  • Better than the Truth: How Murder Cases go Wrong – Hosted by the Criminology, Law and Society program, Mark Olshaker discusses how murder cases can go wrong and how innocent people can be convicted. http://today.gmu.edu/64097
  • Spooky Stories: A Pre-Halloween Storytelling Event – Hosted by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, this is a fun evening of spooky stories! http://today.gmu.edu/64164

Thursday Oct. 31st

  • Once Upon a Scream – Hosted by the Office of Housing and Residential Life, this event lets you explore the creepy carnival, haunted scare zones, and so much. more http://today.gmu.edu/64073
  • JC Cinema OSI Film: Shaun of the Dead – Held in our beloved campus movie theater, this movie is free for students, with unlimited popcorn! http://today.gmu.edu/64189

halloween university mall

Pumpkin Picking at University Mall

And you’re looking for some off campus fun close by…

Now get to work on those Jack-O-Lanterns, and don’t forget, 50% off candy tomorrow! :) If you want to see daily events going on at Mason check out: http://today.gmu.edu.

Happy Haunting,

Amanda Ray Guerin
#ChooseMason

Why GMU Was the Best Decision of My Life

katherinestewartBy Katherine, a Patriot Blogger

Okay sure, in my two decades of life I haven’t been faced with many life-altering decisions, but choosing which college to attend is a pretty huge deal.

It means choosing where you’re going to spend four critical years of your life. What you plan on studying, how you want to spend your free time, your ideal campus setting, friends, networking opportunities—these are just a few of the things high school seniors need to take into consideration as they narrow down their list of colleges.  As a student who was unclear about what to do with my future, my acceptance into George Mason University was a positive omen.

As most of my peers began touring colleges and formulating blueprints for the rest of their lives, I spent my last years of high school getting everything I could out of my limited time left in the dance studio. I started late with my dance training, yet I still felt passionate about dancing and improving as an artist. After graduation I planned on finding a university that offered numerous programs in which I thought I might be interested in getting a degree. I considered Drawing, English, Social Work, Linguistics—and just barely, I considered pursuing dance at a university level.

I auditioned for the George Mason University School of Dance simply out of curiosity. I had no real expectation of being accepted, but I wanted to experience a college dance program, if only for one afternoon. Despite wardrobe malfunctions (ripped leotard and pink tights with a tear down one leg), I went through the audition process with eagerness and easiness of spirit. I left feeling happy—proud that I had experienced something new without being preoccupied with a desired outcome.

Current dance majors volunteering at the first audition of the year for the School of Dance

Current dance majors volunteering at the first audition of the year for the School of Dance

Needless to say, I read my acceptance letter from the School of Dance in a state of surprise. I was infinitely grateful that GMU’s dance department saw something worth cultivating in me through my audition performance.

Since enrolling in The School of Dance, I have never regretted attending GMU. Through sore muscles, fatigue, discouragements, and long rehearsals, I feel like I can press on because of the inspiration that I get from my amazing department. I have loved my 2 ½  years at Mason, and can’t wait to see how the last three semesters unfold.

Since receiving those two blessed acceptance letters from George Mason University and my department, I have never regretted my decision to study at Mason.

Here are a couple of things that I have learned to cherish about GMU:

1. Starbucks, open 24-hour–Love its comfy, cozy atmosphere and nonstop activity.

2. Sincere friendships–The friendships I’ve made with my likeminded peers will last long past graduation. So grateful I have found such supportive, compassionate people to bond with.

3. Opportunities to meet successful professionals in my field–The School of Dance brings in countless dance professionals from the real world to teach master classes, choreograph, and offer advice on succeeding in the real world.

Brian McGinnis, dancer with The Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, shows me how it's done!

Brian McGinnis, dancer with The Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, poses with me after teaching our master class.

4. Free movies in the JC Cinema–Most weekends, multiple showtimes.

5. Easy access to Washington, D.C.–Free shuttle service makes it quick and convenient to get to the Metro, and on to many locations around the Washington-Metro area.

6. Layout of the campus–I love how almost everything is within a fifteen minute walk from any other location on campus. Even if it’s more of a hike, the scenic campus makes it somewhat more enjoyable.

7. Free tickets to The Center for the Arts–Legendary performances come through The Center for the Arts. So fortunate that we get free student tickets for any show!

A list of seven seems fitting. Seven is considered a lucky number, and lucky is exactly how I feel having found my place at GMU.

Yardfest time!

BriaBy Bria, a Patriot Blogger

Last weekend was surely an exciting one for prospective Patriots. With the early action application deadline just a few days away, high school seniors are going to have to make some pretty big decisions soon. Just last Sunday, prospective future Patriots paid a visit to our campus.

20131020_114130

I still remember when I attended my Open House. It was really awesome being surrounded by my future classmates and being welcomed by the GMU community. One of the biggest events that took place during open house was Yardfest and this year was the first time I got to participate in Yardfest as a current Mason student. The morning started a little cold and windy, but as the prospective students started pouring into the yard, things got a lot more exciting. It was great seeing some of the organizations here at GMU together and interacting with each other. From the fraternities and sororities to volunteer organizations, I think the students here at Mason made a good impression on all of the high school students and showed them a little of what it means to be a Patriot. I personally am glad I got to participate with one of the organizations I’m in, AVU. The Anointed Vessels of Unity is one of the clubs I’ve been proud to be a part of since my freshman year.

20131020_115103 (The AVU table at Yardfest)

Our gospel choir even got to perform and promote our concert on December 7th! Throughout our time at Yardfest there were games going on where organizations could try to win money to support their club. Just participating in the games were a lot of fun. Dozens of student organization members had a great time joining in on hula hoop contests, popcorn eating contests, and a three-legged race.

20131020_132102 (Students in organization trying to win the three-legged race)

We certainly gave the future Patriots a lot of excitement to look forward to! Yup, all the memories from my senior year of high school are just rushing back at this moment (I know I’m reminiscing like an old woman :P). One thing I’ll never forget from my senior year is how incredibly excited I was to start this new chapter in my life at George Mason. I knew from the moment I made my first visit to the campus that this was going to be the only college that I could call my home, it was the only place that “fit” for me. I remember how stressed my friends were about choosing where they were going to go for school, but for me the choice was very clear that Mason was where I was going to be. No matter what, I was confident that I was going to get into GMU because I wouldn’t let anything in the world get in the way of that. So to you high school seniors out there across the globe trying to get your applications, recommendation letters, and essays together so you can begin this new chapter in life just remember: Keep calm and choose Mason.

Go Green, Go Gold!

Kathleen_headshotBy Kathleen, a Patriot Blogger

As a Junior, I was sporting my gold Mason jersey (won from being one of the first in line at the 2012 Homecoming game), camera ready for action, and my energy ready to push through the Patriot Center’s double doors. The clock hit 730pm, the crowed pushed through, and green and gold flood “PCenter” in the hopes of finding the closest seat to the floor. This year? The best Mason Madness I’ve attended thus far!

The Masonettes and the Cheerleaders danced amazing choreography and with the Pep Band in sync and Doc Nix rapping to Macklemore… the effect was unmatched. The bleachers were filled with screaming Patriots, the basketball players filtered out to the stage from the audience, and the Pride Song was shouted “Go green go gold!” For those of you who weren’t able to attend the annual event, I made a montage video that also features other events from Family Weekend.

After the midnight madness, Mason Unplugged took place by the pond. Students and other family members with them performed pieces in front of a large audience, keeping warm by huddling in blankets. The environment was low-key and supportive that a performer even encouraged the audience to sing “Happy Birthday” to her mother in the crowd.

To wrap up family weekend, the Fall Premiere for the prospective Mason students took place on campus, with record breaking numbers of attendees! The yard fest featured dozens of organizations spreading the word about campus involvement and musical performers took the stage.

In essence, the whole weekend was full of several activities and check out my friends’s Facebook albums to see just what they entailed: MC Photography and SeanHickeyPhotograpghy

Cheers and Happy Fall!

Kathleen

Spring Semester Schedules Already?

paigeBy Paige, a Patriot Blogger

I can’t believe I am filling out my last course registration form ever! This week I had my final two advising meetings to schedule classes for my last semester of college. Oh, how I will miss looking at the course catalog and browsing the list of classes on Patriot Web, skillfully trying to work them into the most convenient schedule possible and with the least conflicts with my swim schedule as possible. Perfecting the art of class schedules has been four years in the making.

spring-schedule

Last classes ever!

I must give some credit to my academic coordinator (who is assigned to help athletes with academics) and my academic advisors for putting up with me the last few years as I constantly changed my mind about what classes I wanted to take and what concentration I wanted to declare for my majors.

I am actually way more familiar with all of the majors that Mason has to offer than I should be. I guess that’s what happens when you are indecisive and decide to change and add majors and minors multiple times. There were actually times where I would study the degree requirements for potential majors for hours until I realized that my eyes were bloodshot from looking at the computer screen too long and that it was 2:00 in the morning.

Although I won’t miss those nights, I will miss the excitement of researching all of the interesting classes that Mason offers and the excitement of seeing which professor is teaching the class and then immediately looking them up on RateMyProfessor.com. I do wish I had room in my spring schedule to take a class just for fun like Italian, Crime Writing or Fiction Film Directing. I guess Spanish Linguistics, Free Speech and Ethics, and Shakespeare in Performance will have to do for my last taste of education at Mason (unless I come back for grad school!).

In honor of making my last class schedule, I want to reflect on my favorite class at Mason! The spring semester of my sophomore year, I took Foundations of Intercultural Communication with Dr. Boileau, who at one time in his life worked for the U.S. Peace Corps in Korea. From the very first day in the course, I knew I was going to enjoy the class because Dr. Boileau had so much charisma, and it was obvious that he genuinely cared whether or not his students learned something of value in his class.

Our first homework assignment was to assess our entire outfit and record where each garment of clothing was made. We then shared our records with the whole class and tallied up all of the countries we came up with – there were over thirty different countries in total. Class takeaway: Intercultural communication had to take place in order for us to get dressed in the morning.

Our major assignment for the semester was to spend eight hours with someone from another culture and write a paper about the experience (using some terms that we learned from our textbook). Even though this pulled me far out of my comfort zone at first, spending an entire day in Georgetown with a foreign exchange student from Mason was an incredible and enjoyable experience. In addition to this assignment, Dr. Boileau encouraged us to volunteer with Mason’s Global Exchange Program, where we could help foreign students in their English Language classes. All of these exciting cultural experiences mixed in with Dr. Boileau’s amusing, light-hearted stories truly made for a great semester!

The Countdown Begins…November 1st is Almost Here!

KathrynThompsonBy Kathryn Thompson, Admissions Representative

I cannot believe that my first fall travelling for Mason Admissions as an Admissions Representative is almost over. Since graduating in 2013, I have had the amazing opportunity to meet thousands (and I really mean thousands!) of interested students on the road who can’t wait to apply to Mason and become Patriots.

For all of you reading this, I want to remind you that the non-binding November 1st Early Action application deadline is fast approaching! I encourage everyone reading this to consider applying to Mason as an Early Action applicant. If you meet this deadline, you hear back in mid-December, MONTHS before other universities get back to you. It’s also non-binding, so you have until May 1st to decide whether Mason will be your new home, and it’s the deadline to receive priority consideration for the Honors College, University Scholars Program, and merit-based scholarships.

As a high school student, I applied early. Not only did I find out my decision on my birthday, but I was also awarded a place in the Honors College and a merit scholarship. So, it was really the best birthday present a girl could ask for. I’m a proud alumna of the Honors program, and I suggest that anyone who enjoys an academic challenge to consider applying. It’s a simple process, no extra application; you just have to fill out an extra essay of 750 words. And it is definitely worth it.

I was able to do so much as an Honors student. Honors students receive perks like priority registration, a wonderful living learning community (LLC), and amazing advisors. I was also surrounded by hard-working students who enjoyed being intellectually challenged, just like myself. I met some of the most amazing people in the Honors College, who consistently sought out new and exciting opportunities to expand their horizons. My friends from the Honors College have interned on Capitol Hill, have become research fellows through our Oscar program, and so much more.

The Honors College gives you the chance to take challenging, interesting classes with Mason’s best professors. This means up close and personal relationships with some of the best faculty on campus, like Carma Hinton, Deborah Kaplan, and Jim Trefil, just a few of the professors I was lucky enough to work with as an Honors student. Being an Honors student means that you are committed to learning by conducting your own research, exploring fields of interest, and finding opportunities for success. The professors and faculty in the Honors program are not only wonderful educators, but also are always there to help you in any way they can to find your path to success.

If you’re interested in the Honors College or have any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact me! You can also learn more about the Honors College by visiting honorscollege.gmu.edu. Remember, if you apply by the November 1st Early Action deadline, you can have all the experiences I described and more! So, what are you waiting for? November 1st will be here before you know it.

Adding some spice to my life with Azúcar

paigeBy Paige, a Patriot Blogger

At the very beginning of this semester, I made a promise to myself that I would try out one new club on campus my senior year. I am happy to share that I have found the perfect club – Azúcar!

I have always been a little ungraceful on land (probably because of all of the time I spend in the water), and having two left feet has always kept me shy on the dance floor. With my love for Spanish language and Latin American culture, learning to dance salsa has been one of the top bullet points on my bucket list for a few years now. Four weeks ago, I attended a beginner’s dance class with GMU’s Salsa Club, Azúcar, and I am loving it so far!

I have tried learning salsa without success several times in the past but ended up giving up each time because I really had no one to practice with, and I was too self-conscious to learn because I hate being bad at things! For the first time, I feel like I have found the perfect learning environment, and I even have two buddies to practice my new moves with.

A shout out to my friends John and Corina for making sure that I go to class every Wednesday. After my 2.5 hour swim practice on Wednesdays, I head straight to the JC Dance Studio for the class, so I need a lot of motivation to get me through the long night! It really is worth it though. Like Warren Zevon sang, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

Week # 2 of classes. Photo credit to Maurice Jones at http://mcjonesphotography.com.

Week # 2 of classes. Photo credit to Maurice Jones at http://mcjonesphotography.com.

Looking back at the first class in September, I still remember vividly how I was tripping over my own feet, barely keeping my rhythm together for my partners. By the end of the two hours I learned so much that I couldn’t wait for it to be Wednesday again.  When I got home that night, my heart was still racing from constantly moving for two hours.

Azúcar dances a specific kind of salsa called Rueda de Casino, where everyone dances in a circle constantly changing partners. Here is a video from the second week of class that shows how everyone moves along in a circle.

This week will mark the end of my first month of classes, and I already feel like I have made tremendous progress. The club leaders are so welcoming, and the instructor is really accommodating for beginners. I am very optimistic that by the end of the spring semester I can be a salsa pro! Well, maybe not a pro, but at least a confident salsa dancer with a lot of new friends :)