Posts written by asylvain

“Not all who wander are lost”

Posted: March 5, 2012

by Adam, a Patriot Blogger

While some have been quietly cursing the chilly weather as it comes and goes in early March, I’ve been recalling the cold, a more bitter cold, as part of a lifelong memory my mind has been returning too frequently in recent weeks.

Allow me to be a bit nostalgic with this post…

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about where I was a year ago. At this time last year, I was studying abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia. This was, hands down, one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life and worth recalling. “Not all who wander are lost” is a Tolkien quote and one of my favorites.

Often feeling a bit buried this semester in work, classes, and post-graduate prep, I’ve longed for those days of strolling down an unfamiliar street, with no real destination in mind, but completely absorbed in everything new around me.

I made a point to blog many of these experiences to revisit in later years when maybe the cold weather won’t be enough to bring Russia to the forefront of my mind.

You can check it out at

My few videos and photos can only offer hints of something you really need to experience firsthand.

I have to stop and ponder how it is that a whole year has passed between now and then. That experience has seemed such a part me that it’s hard for me to think of it is as a time in my life that’s now a year old. Studying abroad really has given me that greater appreciation and understanding of a world outside my own that I think you can’t duplicate in a two-week Euro-trip.

I think of the most significant reasons I have been dwelling on that semester in Russia is because as I prepare to graduate in May, I more frequently recall the most memorable experiences I’ve enjoyed while at Mason and my semester abroad is most certainly near the top of the list. Despite the fact that during my semester abroad I was thousands of miles, an ocean, and a couple continents away from the university, I definitely consider it among my many great “Mason experiences.” It was an opportunity created for me at Mason and just one of many ways the university has helped to stretch and shape myself during my four years as an undergraduate.

It’s hard for me to compare it to other universities since I’ve only attended one, but Mason’s Center for Global Education (CGE) was huge in helping me to identify the right study abroad program and assisting me in applying and preparing for the semester away.

The first time I visited the office I knew I wanted to go abroad somewhere–it was a goal I had set for myself before entering Mason my freshman year–but Mason’s CGE made it possible for me to get to the destination I wanted to go. After studying the Russian language for three semesters, St. Petersburg was my ideal global locale and I was able to get there. I’d definitely encourage any prospective Masonite to make a semester abroad a priority or at least schedule a visit with the CGE office and be open to hearing about what a program might offer you. I can guarantee you won’t regret it if you do.

Proudest Twitter moment of my life

Posted: February 23, 2012 Last Updated: November 18, 2013

by Adam, a Patriot Blogger

I didn’t see a video in any recent post from the recent Mason basketball game against in-state, CAA rival VCU. This is something you absolutely have to see.

Since this is a blog for and by students, I thought this amateur (and most likely student filmed) video would be the best first look at this amazing moment:

The impassioned filmmaker had his stats right. Mason trailed by 2 with 3.8 seconds left and Sherrod Wright was able to heave a 30-foot prayer to win it at the buzzer. A huge win for the Patriots!

If you’re an avid Sportscenter watcher like I am, you might have seen this highlight on the Top 10 plays. Here’s a link to a more polished look at the buzzer beater play from four camera angles.

If you did see the highlight on Sportscenter, you also might have heard my name. Turns out that the most thrilling Mason game of the year led to the proudest Twitter moment of recent memory.

Let me explain.

Following the game, I Tweeted with the hashtag #SCTop10, urging the Sportscenter anchors to include the game highlight in their Top 10 broadcast.

Here’s the tweet I sent:

@agsylvain Sherrod Wright GW 3!! #MasonMBB beats #VCU 62-61! How about some #SCtop10 love for a mid-major thriller!

Not only did the highlight make the Top 10 plays but I got a shout out from Neil Everett on the broadcast who read my tweet. Pretty awesome.

If you’re not on Twitter yet, do it.

Besides reveling in Mason basketball glory, I have been intensely occupied this spring with my last semester of classes and twice weekly internship at USA TODAY.

Last week was an especially good one since I also made the front page of USA TODAY!

Mine is the article at the bottom of the page about restored cinemas. It was a fun one to research and write.

Here’s a link to the story online if you want to give it a quick read. It’s a short clip.


I got to share the front page with Jeremey Lin!

The internship has been great. I count it as one among many great opportunities I’ve been blessed to be a part of while a student at Mason. It’s going to be tough to leave this place in a couple months.

Winter Break: Palm trees to frost heaves

Posted: January 4, 2012

by Adam, a Patriot Blogger

When I travel home to NH for the winter holidays (that tends to include Thanksgiving and depending on the year, Halloween) I prepare for cold temperatures, snow and a majority of time spent indoors. This break, however, I had the opportunity to escape the cold just after Christmas and spend the week of New Year’s in Puerto Rico.

My anticipation for this trip reached a climax when I was able, for the first time, to include a bathing suit in my suitcase of clothes to travel home with me this winter.

Before I left I did have the opportunity to spend time with my family during Christmas. This was a particularly momentous occasion for my nephew Oliver, who celebrated his first-ever Christmas holiday.


Cute little guy, isn’t he? I think you’ll find that when you’re away at college, especially if you’re a far-away out-of-stater like myself,  that the holidays take on new meaning for you. It’s definitely something I’ve noticed since I started at Mason. I always look forward to coming home and seeing family I’ve missed, eating home-cooked food, and just relaxing for awhile.

After Christmas, a bit of back and forth travel to visit family and friends, and then it was time for me to head for the sunny sands of Puerto Rico. I was looking forward to this trip for more than just the tropical weather since I would be visiting a friend of mine who lives in San Juan and staying with him and his family. He’s actually a former student at Mason who I had met last year when I was a junior at Mason. When he had decided to move back to Puerto Rico, we had talked about me visiting and this summer I bought a plane ticket and made that happen.

After a hectic day of air travel which took me from Boston to Philadelphia to Charlotte to San Juan, I made it to Puerto Rico late last Wednesday, tired but excited for the week ahead.

One of the first full days we spent exploring Old San Juan and El Morro, the fortress that sits on the city port. Here’s a look at the wall that stretches around the limits of Old San Juan. Apparently, these walls have been formidable protection for the city over many years.


Another day was spent on a catamaran, swimming and snorkeling on two off shore islands. This was definitely one of the highlights of the week for me. It’s hard to perfectly capture in a photo but the water was the clearest and bluest I had seen.

While snorkeling I saw a manta ray, and lots of tropical fish in the reefs along the shore. Unfortunately, it was the cloudiest day I spent in Puerto Rico but we didn’t really see any rain at all and I still managed a bit of a tan so I’d total it a success!

On the last day we visited El Yunque national rainforest. In addition to being the only rainforest in the U.S. National Forest system, it contains the most distinct plant species in any forest system in the Western hemisphere. It also contains a litany of “buena vistas” and awe-inspiring features like this waterfall.


After our visit to El Yunque, we enjoyed a delicious finale dinner with my friend’s family at a seaside seafood restaurant. I have always been partial to New England seafood but this dinner was fantastic. A mix of fresh lobster, clam, conch, scallops and other fish in a butter garlic sauce poured over hot rice. Just the dinner alone would be worth a return trip!

After dinner we pulled an “all-nighter” watching Iowa caucus coverage since my flight was leaving at 4 a.m. Wednesday morning. As tired as I was during the latter part of my flight, I was actually happy that the early flight gave me the opportunity to watch the news coverage since the results were so close, Romney winning the Iowa caucus by a mere 8 votes. As a news guy, I find the primary race and political circus around it rather thrilling. Sorry if you don’t.

As it turns out, the primary season is following me to NH where my home state is set to hold it’s primary on Tuesday, January 10. Being home now, I’m a bit bummed that I’m not out covering town hall meetings and events. Hopefully by next primary season or maybe by the 2012 election I’ll have that opportunity!

For the remainder of my break I will be relaxing with family, fighting the biting cold that was all too eager to greet me when I returned home. As of January 23, 2012, I will be a second semester senior, taking my last run of courses as a college student at Mason. Where did the time go?

Happy New Year everybody!