…And We Begin!

by Gabriela, a Patriot Blogger

Hello world! I’m sitting in my cozy room drinking some tulsi tea (I’m fascinated by all things Indian, as you’ll eventually learn) and getting ready for the day. It’s rainy outside-I swear Fairfax turned into London at some point last week-so it’s the perfect weather to start off my Patriot Blog adventures with an introduction (I’m also waiting on my laundry, so this is prime time, baby!)

Anywho, my name is Gabriela and I’m a junior here at Mason. I’m currently majoring anthropology and minoring in French and conflict analysis and resolution (a mouthful!). So I’m set to graduate in the spring of 2013, but I’m still debating whether to graduate early or not…I love the college life too much. Regardless, once I graduate, I plan on achieving a substantial list of things, though I will leave the order of these achievements to fate. I am planning on continuing my higher education at the graduate level, for one, and the search for grad schools is exciting. I can sympathize with all of you prospective students doing the same for your bachelor’s degree (pick Mason!) I would love to work for a nonprofit organization, DC being the hotspot for that, as well as doing some field work (i.e. ethnographic work) in Latin America and India. My ultimate goal is to write and photograph for National Geographic, so clearly writing and publishing will be something that I will pursue for the rest of my life. Eventually, I see myself teaching at the collegiate level. I was born and raised in Tegucigalpa, Honduras (yep, that’s in Central America).

Tegucigalpa

La Ceiba

I moved to the U.S. in the summer of 2000 and since then, I’ve moved from Texas to Rhode Island and from Rhode Island to Virginia. As such, I speak Spanish fluently and I’m at the advanced level in French (still working on it!) I’ve gone through quite a transformation through the last 11 years and I am amazed at how far I’ve come and how far I’m planning to go. Perseverance, perseverance, perseverance.

Academics and origins aside, I’m allllll over the place on campus. I’m a Resident Adviser (RA) in Presidents Park, so I work with freshmen students and have done so since last year. Presidents Park is where a good chunk of freshman students live, so I hope to see all of you who decide to come to Mason, though I don’t know that I will be assigned to Park again. Resident Advisers are your resource in the residence halls, whether we’re talking about academics, housing, and even life! We do a lot, and we do it with pride. Anywho, I am also a Peer Adviser (PA) through the Transition Resource Center (TRC)-trust me, you’ll know these acronyms by heart in no time. As a Peer Adviser, I co-teach a University 100 section, which is a 1 credit transitioning course that helps you get acclimated to college. I tutor middle and high school students in the Northern Virginia area through the Early Identification Program (EIP), which focuses specifically on first-generation students. This is something new I am doing this year, and I officially start on Wednesday. It’s going to be amazing! At the moment, I am also interning for academic credit at the Cultural Resources Center for the National Museum of the American Indian. In there, I am working on the Central American Ceramics Research Project through the Smithsonian’s Latino Center, which is led by my former professor (ah-the wonderful things you end up doing by just taking a class!) In terms of student organizations (as opposed to offices), I am involved in the Animal Rights Collective (ARC), Iranian Studies Group, The French Club, the National Society for Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) and the Lambda Alpha Delta Honor Society (ALD). This list of organizations has been modified over the last 2 years, considering I wanted to be involved in almost everything. You find your niche with time!

So, to top it all off, I’ll share some interesting (IMO) things about myself. Hmmm…here goes: I am a vegan, so I refrain from using any animal products. I have a photography blog (mundosramana.wordpress.com) where I share my concert photography as well as nature and activism photography. I am a neat freak: everything in my room has a home, and if it is not in use, it’s at home. 😉 I listen to heavy metal for the most part, but I do enjoy Latin American music (naturally) as well as Bollywood music, New Age stuff, and opera/classical pieces. There are probably other genres that I listen to that I can’t think of at the moment. I’m really into art, as evident in my photography, so whenever I have time, I do crafty stuff and/or I draw. I also collect quotes, which I neatly store in a book. Speaking of books, I LOVE to read. I think at my most relaxed state of mind, I’m sitting on my comfy chair reading a book and drinking tea or coffee (depending on how caffeinated I have to be). I also like to run non-competitively, so people often see me running around Patriot Circle (or at the Fieldhouse in sad days like today). Hmm…that’s all I can think of! I’m sure you’ll learn more about me in future posts.

Photo by Christine Kauffman

My goal for my contributions to the Patriot Life blog is to help prospective students get a better feel of Mason in general. I vividly remember being your shoes, and a blog like this would have been helpful at the time. So I hope many people read it and get something out of it. Feel free to comment on anything I post and to ask questions, etc. This looks to be the end of my first post here, so as I get up to get my finished laundry, I would just like to say that I wish you luck in searching for your perfect school. I hope that it’s Mason, but if that is not the case, I hope that you have success in all of your future endeavors. If you are reading this and not a prospective student, I hope you have a wonderful day!

-Gabriela