Posted: February 18, 2014, Last Updated: February 18, 2014
Homecoming 2014 was unlike any other Mason homecoming I have ever attended. This was not only my first homecoming as a Mason alumnus, but also my first homecoming not spent on the sidelines of the Patriot Center cheering for the men’s basketball team! As a former member of the Mason Cheerleading team, I was accustomed to spending the majority of the day in my uniform at the Patriot Center. I never had the opportunity to partake in any tailgate traditions like many of my friends and peers did, so this year I was ready to see what I had been missed during my undergraduate journey.
The 10+ inches of snow the Northern Virginia area received between February 12th – 14th didn’t stop the Patriots from attending the 16th annual Homecoming Pregame Block Party. Alumni, family, and students gathered together in Lot K from 3 – 5:30pm. I spent a majority of the time roaming around the parked trucks, smoking grills, and packed coolers reconnecting with fellow graduates and current students. It was fantastic to see so many familiar faces and fans enjoying the company of one another and bonding over the ever-present Mason pride. The three heated tents on site, Spirit Zone, Mason Family Zone and the Mason Alumni Hospitality tent, all provided a warm environment for all block party participants, which I was personally thankful for on that brisk day.
Tip off for the game was at 6pm, and after a short visit with my old cheerleading teammates, I found myself at my seat hoping for a win for the Patriots. During every chant, cheer, and fight song, my best friend (and former teammate) found ourselves back to our old ways and cheering as if we never graduated and retired our uniforms. While Mason ultimately fell to St. Bonaventure in an 85-73 loss, the Patriots and Bonnies stayed neck and neck until the last five minutes of the game. (For an in-depth overview of the Homecoming game, click here.)
While the homecoming game didn’t end in favor of our Patriots, it was amazing to see the Patriot Center packed to the brim with fans and a love for all things Mason- win or lose. I didn’t think it was possible for my Mason spirit to ignite any more after graduation. However, I know that now more than ever, my undergraduate opportunities, cheerleading opportunities, and my current career as an Admissions Representative for Mason has captured a more in-depth and everlasting love for this institution. I’m so thankful that less than five years ago I decided to venture the hour and a half commute from my hometown in Maryland, to pursue an education at George Mason University.
Read more posts by Samantha Coughlin
Posted: February 17, 2014
“Oh my gosh, you’re so brave!”
I was told that more than once last night. Why? Because I stood on stage (in front of an audience – gasp) for Mason’s 15th annual production of The Vagina Monologues. This landmark play by Eve Ensler runs on stages all over the country and world during the V-Day movement – a campaign to stop violence against women and girls. Mason’s WAVES Office (Wellness, Alcohol, and Violence Education Services) sponsors the production every year to raise awareness and money for Mason’s Victims of Violence Fund.
So, yes. I totally understand why my friends and colleagues and several of the students I advise may think it was brave of me to be on stage. Especially given the subject matter. But I have a few thoughts about what I see as brave.
Over these past couple of months, and mainly this last ‘hell week’ of daily four-hour rehearsals, I’ve enjoyed the company of an amazing group of students. Clearly kindred spirits for their love of performing, they are, by no means, a homogenous group of Theater majors. There are, of course, some majors in the group. Some, like Becca, who chose not only Mason, but our School of Theater, with the defined purpose of obtaining a degree SPECIFICALLY for what feeds her soul. As a former liberal arts major myself, and in the context of today’s economy and the push to teach students an easily-definable, marketable skill, I applaud not only Becca, but Nerissa, Kathleen, Elaina, Madison, Chelsea and Lorena who bravely chose to pursue a broader-focused degree for something they truly love. A degree with a wide range of interpretation and application in ‘real life.’
There are even two freshmen in the cast. Freshmen. That means they’ve only even been in college for 6 months, and yet there they stood on stage with the more seasoned juniors and seniors. Kira, who astonished us all with her brave interpretation of her long monologue. And Juliet. Juliet came to Mason as “Undecided” – the most popular major of them all. One simple audition early in her freshman year reminded her of how much she enjoys being on stage. And she declared Theater as her major that very semester. That’s pretty brave.
Ashley majors in Environmental Science. I don’t know that she or Jen, who majors in Managerial Economics, or Efie (Global Affairs) have ever found themselves on a stage before. And yet they threw caution to the wind, fears of embarrassment aside, and stepped out onto that stage last night too. I’d call that brave.
And maybe bravest of us all is our director, Kim. She had the courage to take on not only the creation of this production but of the cast itself. Together with Bree, her stage manager extraordinaire, she set auditions, determined the set, orchestrated the colors and sequence of the lights, chose the music, structured our rehearsals…all of it. To willingly, eagerly, enthusiastically take on something like this? The ultimate group project over which you as an individual have not only an inherently important role but also frustratingly limited control. Brave.
Truly the part of acting that requires the most courage is the audition, not the performance. The putting yourself out there for critique. The leap of faith that you’ll say the right thing, move the right way and make the cue you’re expected to. The willingness to be told that you’re not right for the part. Sort of like applying to college. Let’s be honest, that’s a time that also requires a bit of bravery. The accepting of an offer is the easy part. Once you’re cast in a role, it’s yours. Once that big envelope comes, you can take that deep breath.
So, to the majors and non-majors. To the young women who possibly never guessed that they would step, or even leap, outside their comfort zones so dramatically (ha) in their college careers. To the soon-to-be-graduating seniors who will be steeling themselves to the ‘real world’ outside the tree-lined sidewalks of campus: You are brave.
If I am also brave, I’m in excellent company.
Read more posts by Lauren Wagner
Posted: February 14, 2014, Last Updated: February 14, 2014
Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. I think it started when I was 16 and working at a florist (best first job EVER right?!) and feeling the love in the air. It might be a result of my loving the colors pink and red and all things glitter…I mean who doesn’t love heart decorations? But honestly – I just love seeing people happy. Some of my favorite Valentine’s days when I was a Mason student were spent with my roomies. My freshman year V-day was on HOMECOMING! We decked out in green and gold and then after the game my floor ordered pizza and wings and watched movies together the rest of the night. My junior year my roomies and I went to the Melting Pot (fun note they have “ladies night” once a month) – talk about an amazing date night with my best friends.
Everyone on campus is getting into the Valentine’s Day spirit, and there are a ton of fun things going on! Here are just a few:
- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is playing at the JC Cinema at 6pm and 9pm. FREE with Mason ID *plus popcorn!
- Virginia Opera: Ariadne auf Naxos at Concert Hall 8pm. 1 FREE ticket with Mason ID
- Vagina Monologues (one of our very own Admissions Counselors will be performing) at Harris Theater 8pm. $5 for students
- HOMECOMING Pep Rally in the JC Atrium at 8pm-9:15pm (can you believe tomorrow is Homecoming? Wear your green and gold and use #MasonHC to share your school spirit!)
Lastly, just to leave you with a smile – my bulldog Cooper asked me to be his first Valentine last year. Cutest thing/best gift everrrrr.
Still not feeling V-day? Guaranteed happiness right here – http://www.pinterest.com/lfedigan/cute-attack.
P.S. HALF OFF CANDY TOMORROW <3
Read more posts by Amanda Guerin