Posted: June 18, 2014
Congratulations on your decision to become a Patriot at George Mason University!
My name is Sarah and I’m a sophomore here at Mason. We’ve been getting a lot of questions from incoming freshmen about their summer orientations. Here’s what you need to know!
Orientation Schedule – At orientation, you will be assigned to a group with other new students and a Patriot Leader, who will be your guide during Orientation. Your visit will involve games, campus tours, various information sessions, special events and entertainment, academic advising, and more. You’ll spend most of the visit with your group, but for a couple hours you will split off into different departments and schools for specialized sessions followed by advising by major. Class sign-ups typically happen on the second day before you leave. You will also get your Mason ID card if you haven’t already.
Academic Advising – During your orientation, you will meet with an advisor from the department of your program of study. You’ll go over a general overview of which classes you need to take for your major and an outline of when students generally take them. To view what kinds of courses are required for each major, visit this link: http://advising.gmu.edu/current-student/majors-at-mason/
Class Registration – Don’t panic about signing up for classes! All students will register for classes DURING their orientation visit after they meet with academic advisors. You can also visit this link to view the courses and class times we offer: http://catalog.gmu.edu/content.php?catoid=19&navoid=4109
Immunization Records – Summer is a great time to visit the immunization office. This isn’t a part of your orientation process, but I personally suggest dealing with your immunizations records before you come in the fall (I stopped by the Immunization Office in Sub 1 as soon as I was released from my orientation). The deadline for incoming freshmen to submit your records is October 1st. For more info, visit http://shs.gmu.edu/immunizations/
Placement Tests – Different majors have different math requirements, so students are recommended to take a placement test before signing up for math classes. Placement testing is offered during freshmen orientation. There are also language proficiency tests offered during orientation. Many B.A. degrees require foreign language proficiency at the intermediate level. If you have studied a language in-depth before coming to Mason, you can take a language test to place out and get credit. For info on test dates, visit: http://orientation.gmu.edu/placement-testing/
Visit the website. All the information you could ever want can be found online – you just have to put in the time and effort to locate it. J
Carefully read the emails that Mason sends you. I work with a lot of Mason freshmen, and many of them ask for information that has actually already been sent to them via email. These messages contain important details, dates, and deadlines, and knowing what to expect will save you from a lot of confusion later!
Memorize your G# now. Trust me, it’s a good idea. You will use this number for everything while at Mason.
Do your research. Know what questions you want to ask before you arrive, and write them down.
Prepare in advance. I visited the website ahead of time and planned out my entire class schedule – right down to the course numbers, class times, and professors – weeks before my orientation (yeah, I know, I’m an overachiever). You don’t have to go to that extreme, but it was great to be able to sit down in the computer lab with all the other incoming freshmen and immediately sign up for the exact classes I wanted. I was the first one to finish.
Be self-sufficient. I can’t stress this enough – you need to be willing to do independent research. Our advisors can give you a lot of helpful information, but only you can decide what you want your major to be, and what career path you want to follow. You don’t have to know all the specifics right now, but know yourself better than anyone else, so be confident and capable of making your own decisions!
Get involved with something you love. Sure, it’s a great idea to knock out your gen-eds early on in your college career, but you’ll have a much better freshmen year if you also leave time in your schedule to do something you’re passionate about. Student government, intermural sports, religious groups, vocal ensembles – you name it, we’ve got it. And on the chance that we don’t, start your own club!
Have fun! Mason is filled with kind, driven, and diverse people. Orientation is a great time to make connections, so be outgoing and introduce yourself! I met two of my closest friends at my orientation, and I know that we’ll still be in touch long after we’ve graduated. And that’s pretty awesome.
Congrats on becoming a Patriot! See you in the fall, and have a fantastic orientation.
Read more posts by Amanda Guerin
Posted: June 6, 2014
It’s summer time and as a rising senior, I’ll share with you how summertime in DC is for a vet.
Background: Every summer I’ve had the awesome opportunity to intern at someplace new in the DMV; whether a non-profit, an association or a grassroots campaign, I’ve seen what it’s like to be the intern at a few places.
Caution: This is my experience, others can vary.
It’s about pulling out the business casual/professional clothes, grabbing the biggest purse to squeeze both lunch and a book, putting money on the SmartTrip, and trying your hardest not to look like the visiting intern.
You grab the paper at the metro stop and read the entire thing from front to back, maybe squeezing in the horoscope/crossword/Sudoku during lunch or a break.
You get your city face on, grab something sturdy on the metro, and don’t struggle with the jerking of the train or the abrupt rushing of people through heavy closing doors.
You aim to get on the left-side of the escalators, the side that keeps walking, to indicate you know pedestrian traffic patterns.
You don’t talk too loud on the metro because you don’t want to be obnoxious but you also don’t want anyone knowing your life story.
At the office, well, intern environments are different for each employer. Some give free tea and coffee whereas others you need to supply your favorites. Some give you a cubicle whereas others you’re in a hallway. Some have teams or activities that you can recreationally join after work. Most always you get a cool badge and you secretly take a picture for keepsake.
Sure enough, you get the swing of things very fast. You find out the latest time you can wake up and still make it to work on time. You figure out if you need the tie/blazer and heels, or if casual is okay. Better yet, you find the other interns.
My first internship I was a freshman and I was in DC. I was so proud of myself for busing/metroing/walking all over the city. To me that was enough gaining independence and I kind of remained quiet socially. Now, on my third and final one before graduation, I’ve decided to branch out, I decided to gather up a “crew” of sorts. I set up an email listserve of the interns and we all eat lunch together, catching up on other departments’ projects and learning more about college life in other towns.
All of this knowledge has made this perhaps the smoothest transition from the campus bustle to summer internship experience. For that, I am super grateful of all the work I’ve done and chances I’ve taken.
Therefore, I send my advice to those reading this: Reach out to your colleagues; chances are they want to find a tea buddy, too. Apply for that DC internship next year because it will make you grow in so many ways. Invest in professional clothes because you got 5 days a week to dress up for. And more importantly, absorb everything in your surroundings because soon you’ll be deciding where you want to live and work as a member of the real world.
Read more posts by Kathleen W.
Posted: May 29, 2014, Last Updated: May 27, 2014
Even now that I’ve made my return home to Newport News and see all of my things packed away, it still hasn’t hit me that my Sophomore year is over. So many things have taken place this past year it almost seems like there are too many memories. I can still remember my first experience at Mason and how nervous I was about what college would be like. I didn’t know if I was going to make it. Now, here I am already done with half of my time in undergrad. Knowing that I’ll be graduating in two years is pretty overwhelming.
I still have a lot of things left that I plan on accomplishing before I leave Mason, but I believe I have the tools to reach the goals I’ve made for myself. What will the next two years hold for me? Well, I’m hoping to create as many opportunities for myself and open as many doors as I possibly can. Whether that be through working, finding an internship, joining more student organizations (as well as possibly starting my own), and trying to join more volunteer programs, I know I can make myself look like a desirable employee by the time I’m a Mason graduate.
Certain things that I took away from my time in college so far I know I need to keep in mind going into my last few years here. If I could give advice to my past self there are a few things I would say, but for now I’ll just say it for the future Patriots in the class 2018.
1. Join organizations. Get out of your room. Meet people. Don’t stay held up in your room with just schoolwork. Understand that your grades are important, but so is finding those friends who’ll make your college life enjoyable.
2. Utilize the services on campus as much as possible. Whether it’s the Writing Center or Career Services, everything on campus is put their to help you so take advantage of these things while you have the chance.
3. Get involved with whatever you’re passionate about. If there’s a social movement you want to start or a change you want to make, don’t think you can’t make a difference because you’re young. You can start making those changes right here on Mason’s campus.
4. Don’t forget about your family. While you’re having fun away at school, still remember about the folks back home. Say thank you every once in a while too, especially if they were big contributors to you getting to Mason in the first place.
5. And lastly, be confident in yourself. Though this is something that I have struggled with myself, no matter what you need to believe that you can make this college thing work. Although I’m pretty stubborn, I’ve learned how important it is to ask for help when I need it and to lean on others when I’m struggling. You’re not in this alone because you have the rest of the Mason community to back you up
Although I had to figure these things out on my own these past two years, I know I will use them as lessons in the future. With two years left for me to make a mark at Mason, I have to start moving towards all of the positive things I want to see happen in my life. If you want to leave your mark on Mason too, be ready for what your college experience has to offer you.
Until next time,
Read more posts by Bria S.