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A Grad Check In: Five Mason Grads Discuss Overcoming Obstacles

Happy second week of classes, everyone. I hope you’ve enjoyed your first weeks of class and are excited for the term, because we here at Mason Grad Insider are.

Before I write a blog post for a given week, I discuss the post’s topic with a group of fellow grads who work for Mason’s University Life in various departments. This week, I planned to write about general stumbling blocks graduate students often face, and as I turned to my friends for their thoughts and opinions, I realized what came from the discussions was even better. I liked the idea of giving the stumbling blocks a voice and some …

Grads, Give Yourself Permission to Nap

Austin A. Deray December 05, 2017

Fun Fact 1: Question, can you guess who wrote the following in his memoir?[i]

Nature had not intended mankind to work from 8 in the morning until midnight without the refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts 20 minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces.[ii]  

Yes, you are correct: it is Sir Winston Churchill. He napped daily during World War II. Why can’t we as graduate students?  We need to nap, too! During graduate school, when we are trying to balance the multiple demands of school, work, and personal lives, it can be tempting to think …

Featured Day Trip: Charlottesville, Virginia

Andrew J Quillen 11/15/2017

There’s nothing better than getting out of the house and making new memories; one of the best ways to do this is by taking a daytrip. George Mason is perfectly located for a number of fantastic daytrips: Harper’s Ferry, WV, Annapolis, MD, and Charlottlesville, VA, just to name a few. For this post I will focus my attention on Charlottesville. With its vibrant, friendly feel and close proximity (two hours via car, bus, or Amtrak), Charlottesville, Virginia is a perfect day (or weekend) trip.

I’m from the Charlottesville area, so I know and love its incredible restaurants, breweries, tours, and sights. While C-Ville’s to-do list is …

What to Look for in a Mentor

November 1, 2018 By: Austin A. Deray

Last year, I called the library one of the keys to graduate student success. I’d like to change the metaphor to be one of the feathers in a graduate student’s bowler or bob hat. We began our bowler’s feather collection with the green feather of libraries; now let’s add the gold feather of effective mentoring. One of the most important relationships to cultivate in graduate school is your mentor.

Three quick notions to dispel from the get-go: 1) a mentor and an adviser are two different things; 2) your mentor does not have to be found in the realm of academic; and 3) …

Enjoying the Benefits of Tuition

Andrew J Quillen 10/25/2017

Besides all of your classes and a pretty piece of paper on graduation day, what do your tuition and fees actually get you at Mason? This is a question we have all asked, particularly when paying our student bill. Although the number on your bill may come as a bit of a shock, make sure you are considering of all the amenities, services, and activities that Mason has to offer. This post offers a small collection of thoughts, which will hopefully help you more fully appreciate and take advantage of the many benefits that come with paying your Mason bill.

Health Benefits

Gyms Galore!

Mason Recreation …

My Cohort, My Tribe

October 4, 2017 Austin A. Deray

When moving to Northern Virginia, I was worried about leaving my family and friends in Georgia, my “tribe,” if you will. However, when I got to Mason, thanks to my program and my work unit, I found my new tribes through the institution and a culture of cohorts[i].

A cohort was originally defined by Merino et al. “as a group of students who begin a program of study together, share the same sequence of classes, faculty members, and instructional activities toward completion of a specific degree or certification,” but “has expanded to include the development of collaborative projects, self-directed goals, and a network of …

Six Ways to Experience DC this Weekend

September 20, 2017 Andrew J Quillen

Northern Virginians and Washingtonians love nothing more than their proximity to Washington, DC. It’s a source of pride, news, and, most importantly, activity. While choice is abundant in DC, it can sometimes be difficult to sift through it all when planning an exciting weekend adventure – that’s where I can help. If you’re looking to get off the couch, take a study break, and make some memorable moments this weekend, look no further. This brief piece will highlight a few activities for locals and visitors to enjoy.

1 – Brunch: A District Tradition

If you’re not familiar with DC’s brunch culture, then you’ve a …

Welcome To Mason Grad Insider!

September 6, 2017

By Austin A. Deray and Andrew J Quillen

Greetings, Mason graduate and professional students, and welcome to the Mason Grad Insider blog! The purpose of this blog, sponsored by Graduate Student Life and University Life Arlington, is to connect with graduate students across the Mason campuses to communicate useful information and resources that will support your success and well-being.

Check back each week for blogs that will cover various topics ranging from academic and professional tips and strategies to resources on well-being. This year, we will also be introducing a new series of blogs on Fun and Leisure. We encourage new ideas! If you have any topic …

It’s the end of the year, SUMMER’S HERE!

5 May 2017

By Austin Deray

Happy end of term y’all,

I just wanted to take the opportunity wish everyone well on their finals: exams, comps, papers, fields and/or thesis/dissertation defenses. It is that time of year again and we are wrapping everything up here at Mason’s offices of Graduate Student Life and University Life Arlington. On behalf both units of University Life, I would like to thank everyone for a great year here at Mason and wish everyone a great summer.

We have had 13 great blogs this year, covering the topics of academics, professionalism, well-being in graduate school, and Mason resources. I hope you have found them interesting and informative. If …

Civility in the Classroom in the Age of Trump

April 28, 2017

By: Dr. Jeremy Mayer, Associate Professor, Schar School of Policy and Government

(This opinion piece is solely representative of the opinions of the author. Should you have any questions or comments, please email Dr. Mayer.)

Graduate students in our hyper partisan polarized era may be worried about how civil discussions can take place in the classroom. This is particularly true at a place like Mason, which has a diverse faculty, many with strong political views and identities. In truth, it can be hard to have a civil discussion about reproductive access policy or some other controversial topic, without descending into a CNN style shouting match.

The keys are …