- Class: Senior
- Major: Music
- Gender: F
- High School:
- Transfer Student: N
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.
Most professors seem to know our names and care about their students. Of course, there's always that adjunct guy who just comes in to teach a few math classes to pay his nice car off and doesn't care about his students, but not all adjuncts are bad. Ironically, some of the best teachers I've had have been adjunct. The music department has some professors who play in the National Symphony Orchestra and various military bands from the DC area. The communication department has had professionals from all kinds of backgrounds who come in to teach. While they may not be the most academic of professors, they certainly have real-life experience that they can share with us! I've heard from some professors that students at Mason are somewhat less participative during class than at some other schools. I've definitely been in situations that felt like I was either the only one in the class who knew the answer to the professor's questions, or at least the only one who really cared to answer. I wouldn't consider Mason a really "intellectual" place. But learning does take place, and it is in a really great location for internships and jobs in DC.
Since Mason is so diverse, it's pretty much expected that you'll have a broad range of races, ethnicities, religions, etc. in your classes. I've experienced a little religious tension when a Christian group I was active in had real trouble trying to reserve campus rooms for meetings and Bible Studies, when other groups seemed to have no problem. The only widespread ethnic/racial/religious tension I've heard about on campus has been in regard to the "meditation space" in the JC, which basically is the place where Mason's Muslim students go to pray when they're on campus. The "meditation space" is supposed to be open to all students, but it's pretty much understood that it's the place for Muslim students. I've heard of them kicking out other worshipers when it came time for their prayers.