My Day as a GMU Patriot

I am a great friend. During my spring break, I willingly spent a day at school with my best friend who does not have the same spring break as I do. She is a Psychology major at George Mason University, located in Fairfax, Va. While she went to class, instead of spending the day on Tumblr, I decided to actually do something productive with my time and observe the differences between this school and our beloved Christopher Newport. So here is what I observed during the day that I traded my silver and blue for the green and gold of a GMU Patriot!


This may come as a shock, but some schools don't have columns on pretty much every building. CNU is infamous for their columns, but GMU does not have many columns, if any. First of all, GMU is much older than CNU, so many of the buildings don't all look alike like they do at CNU. Secondly, even the newer buildings just have a different architecture type. Instead of the giant, columned buildings that CNU has, GMU's buildings are much simpler in their architecture style. Side note: there are also trees everywhere!! I love trees so this stuck out to me in particular. Hopefully CNU will have more trees someday. 

There is so much diversity!! 

I know that this is a big controversy on our campus, but it is hard to deny CNU's student body lacks diversity with an unimpressive 8% of students who are black. That being said, I thought that it was particularly interesting that GMU is so diverse. I heard at least three other languages that weren't English, and I couldn't help but wish that CNU's population was a little more diverse. Part of the reason for GMU's diversity is its location and its reputation as a commuter school, but it is still really cool to see a school with such a diverse student population.

There are two libraries!

And three dining halls, multiple food courts, three gyms (one with an aquatic center), and two student unions! At CNU where there are just over 5,000 students, there is hardly a need for two libraries, but isn't that just a crazy notion? To have so many students and so many books that it is necessary to have two libraries?? This is an idea that is a little hard to fathom for a school with such a small population, but with over 33,000 students it is hard to deny that GMU definitely needs two. Wouldn't it be cool to go to a different library when the Trib Lib gets too loud and crowded or have so many more dining options than the scarce few that we have? The point is, GMU is HUGE, so they obviously need a lot more resources than we do at CNU. Another side note: not only are the students diverse, but the different seating options in the library were out of this world. I can't even tell you how many different kinds of chairs there were; it was awesome.

There is always construction there, too. 

I think that this is a curse of every growing university. Just like every construction project is followed by more construction at CNU, it is the same at GMU. They just finished renovating one of the libraries, and now they are constructing the building for the nursing school. This is annoying at any school, but it is probably a good sign if they have to constantly add to your school because of increased interest or because of good funding. Side note again: they have this school-wide joke about worshipping the crane that is present during all the construction projects. Ex.: "I have an exam today, praise the crane for good luck."

Everyone doesn't know everyone...

The community vibe is not the same at Mason as it is at CNU. Because the school is so gigantic, it is pretty impossible to run into every single person you know in the library or on the way to class like it is at CNU. There aren't Greek letters everywhere you look either, so it is less likely that you will run into someone you recognize every time you go out. Even if the community vibe isn't the same, there is still a distinct community that is unique and diverse, as I am sure every school has their own community. For example, their student organizations paint benches just like ours do! 

Everyone has just as much drive and motivation! 

I know it sounds cheesy, but I saw the same drive in the students at GMU that I see at CNU. Everyone who is in college obviously wants to broaden their horizons and opportunities, and you can see that at any college or university. I spent a good part of my day at George Mason in one of the libraries and let me tell you, it was packed the entire time. So, no matter the school, I hope that every college student is taking advantage of the resources that their school has to offer! 

In conclusion, it was kind of strange spending the day at another school that is pretty much completely foreign to me. I felt like people knew that I didn't really belong, especially as I was sporting one of my many CNU t-shirts under a sweatshirt from my father's alma mater. But no one would have known because a lot of people wear apparel from other schools and I was hiding behind a laptop all day, and it probably just looked like I was doing homework just like everyone else. It was very interesting to be in a situation that was outside of my comfort zone and get an inside look on how things are done at another university, especially one that has such a diverse population. All in all, I am glad that I got the opportunity to make a little experiment out of this day that could have otherwise been kind of boring!