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Mason is in a dynamic period, with a lot of rapid change. Some of it is positive, and some of it brings growing pains. On the good end, the administration has finally begun to figure out that we're not all commuters, and to actually have food and activities available on campus on the weekends. With our final four run in 2006 and our 2008 CAA championship, GMU has started to be better-recognized. I get fewer "George Mason? Where's that?" questions when I tell people where I attend now. After those basketball victories, applications flooded in as never before. The academic standards for incoming students were raised, and our ever-increasing student body demanded more on-campus housing. Which leads to the sad changes: when I first came here, much of the campus was forest, and wildlife was common--deer, racoons, foxes, all kinds of woodland creatures. Now many of those forests I loved have been chopped down to make room for a lot of new dorms and apartment-style living. There did not used to be a lot of school pride here, and it's still not the most enthusiastic group of students, although the recent basketball victories helped to change that too. My freshman year, I thought school pride was a myth. During our Final Four run, it was amazing how much different the campus dynamic felt. The campus never quite fully returned to its apathetic state, and the atmosphere again became electric when we were the CAA champions this year as well.
GMU is a good size school during the week, but when the weekend comes you wonder if anyone is actually living on campus with you. Everyone leaves on the weekends and there isn't much to do on campus. Lots of people from outside the area have never heard of GMU or only know about it because of our basketball team. Campus is centered around the JC or Johnson Center and that's where I spend most of my time if I'm not in the field house for Lacrosse or in my dorm. There isn't much school pride, most likely because we don't have a football team and because we don't know what our mascot actually is. Campus is very pretty though and everything is quite new here so those amentities are very nice. You have to make your own fun and DC is only 25 minutes away. There are a lot of good restaurants in the area. Also all parties are off campus because of strict security on campus with drinking.
Overall George Mason is great, however parking and housing can both be a pain in the ass, but they're currently working on both.EVERYONE hates parking. We're not really a college town, but we do have a lot of bars and fun places to go to, plus we're twenty minutes outside of D.C. I spend most of my time either off campus or in my room. We tend to have alot of pride, especially when it comes to basketball. There isn't a whole lot of controversy, but about once a year really intense evangelicals come onto campus and damn everyone and we all protest, its pretty fun.
Mason is technically the biggest school in Virginia, but it frequently feels tiny. The campus physically is a great size: not too small, but not overwhelmingly large. Perhaps because the on-campus community is smaller, it often feels like a small school where everyone winds up being liked a lot more closely than you think. Basketball is the big sport here, especially since we went to the Final Four a few years ago. In my opinion, nothing will top that season, and our success was due mostly to the quality and combination of players that particular season, so basketball games have somewhat lost their appeal since that year. The professors at GMU are good, but much of the other faculty members are less than satisfactory. Good luck finding a competent advisor. I've actually found that some of the other members of the department may be more dependable advisors than the "advisors" themselves. Good luck with traffic. Construction is everywhere. The school is a lot of fun if you find the right people for you, and if you make an effort to make your time here worthwhile. It's not a campus-wide drunkfest every Saturday night like Penn State, but you can find parties (or have your own) and definitely have a good time.
There is no "typical" student at George Mason University. We are a highly diverse campus with students from over 130 countries. It's very easy to find a good group of friends when you immediately step foot on campus because so many students are interested in so many different things. The administration really cares about students and wants to do everything in their power to help us really love living and studying and working at George Mason University. When I tell people that I go to George Mason University, they say "Didn't you all go to the Final Four a few years ago?" I tell them "Yes. We're very proud of that. But there's also a lot more that happens at Mason. Did you know we're going to cure cancer in the Research I lab?" There are opportunities for EVERYONE here.
I can honestly say that George Mason University has become my home away from home. Coming from a small town in New Jersey, not many people have ever heard of GMU (at least not until after our run to the final four!), including myself. It was only by chance that I found out about this university through of friend of the family who attended in the 1970s. Once I set foot on the beautifull Fairfax campus, I fell in love. The first thing that drew me to this campus was its innovative atmosphere. The Johnson Center, our hub of student life, has a very modern design that was unlike any of the other schools I visited. On my campus tour, I started noticing that many of the buildings followed a very similar theme, showing a newer age of campus construction. Now, I watch the new innovation being built right before my eyes. Every day I get to see the progress of new research facilities and arts complexes under construction, making this school any even greater learning space than it already is. Mason's proximity to Washington, D.C. was another factor that drew me to the school. As a Government & International Politics major, being so close to the largest political arena in the country was a priority in choosing where to go to college. I did not, however, want to be directly in the city. I needed a campus that actually felt like a college campus, with grass and trees and a concentrated campus life. I didn't want my college experience to get lost on the busy streets of D.C., tucked away behind government offices and business complexes. However, because Mason is so close to D.C., I can just hop on the metro and head into the city whenever I want, whether it's for an internship, class assignment, or just to walk around the monuments. George Mason University is an amazing place to be. I am proud to be a student here and would not change a thing about my experiences here.
Alissa JuniorReviews provided by: Unigo