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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 …

Graduate Students, Let Your Voices Be Heard!

April 21, 2017

By Hadeel Al-Tashi

Often, by the time students reach the graduate level they feel their days of campus and involvement and activism are behind them. This is understandable – priorities certainly do change once in graduate school with a focus shifting more toward professional pursuits, research, and degree completion. Yet, there are many opportunities for graduate students to continue to engage with the campus community. For those who were once active undergraduate campus leaders and for those who have never served in a formal leadership role, I am here to say Graduate Students, Let Your Voices Be Heard!

My name is Hadeel and I am a graduate …

Resilience at Mason

14 April 2017

By Lewis Forrest, II, Associate Dean for University Life

Spring is here and the semester is entering its busy season before exams and graduation. How are you holding up? Are you able to attend to your well-being and stay focused during this important time? Are you more resilient than you realize?

In my blog post last year, I challenged you to be mindful of your well-being during graduate school, given the complex lives and multiple responsibilities graduate students balance. This time, I’d like to focus specifically on resilience.  Whether you have things under control or not, we all should find time to reflect on our resilience. At …

Conferences: To Go or Not To Go?

Austin A. Deray 7 April 2017

It’s that time of the academic year, the one we both look forward to and dread – it’s conference season. In honor of conference season, this week’s blog should be on conferencing: why you should attend and what to do at a conference. So, let’s get started.

Why Graduate and Professional Students Should Attend Conferences

The answer may seem obvious to some, but conference attendance can yield these 3 beneficial outcomes.[i]

Networking: Conferences are a great place to network. People will get to meet you and you get to meet others. Regional, national, and international conferences are great places to meet diverse groups of …

How to Take Notes like a Graduate Student

31 March 2017

Katrina Dunlap

One of the more tedious tasks to studying or reading for your graduate course work is taking good notes on what you are reading. While this may or may not come easy to you as a student, it is an imperative skill to master as soon as possible. Below, I’ve summarized how to use the Cornell method on note-taking that you can apply to almost any graduate course you take.

Why take notes? Well the obvious answer is so you don’t have to waste time re-reading the text or article again. A somewhat less obvious reason is for a deeper comprehension of the reading. Whatever …

Learn More about Well-Being this Spring at Mason

By Whitney Hopler, Communications Coordinator, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

24 March 2017

No matter what field you’re studying at Mason as a graduate student, you can benefit from learning about well-being at this year’s Spring into Well-Being (SIWB) campaign. “Life is not merely being alive, but being well,” ancient Roman poet Marcus Valerius Martialus pointed out. That applies just as much today as it ever did. There’s something for everyone in the lineup of more than 100 events planned for the six weeks of SIWB, from Monday, March 20 to Friday, April 28. Here are just a few highlights of particular interest to graduate students:

Thursday, March 30, …

How to Read Like a Graduate Student

Katrina H. Dunlap


If you are in graduate school—whether part-time or full-time—chances are you are inundated with multiple reading assignments. From reading dissertations to textbooks, these assignments can be time-wasted without a having a strategic approach to pull something useful out of it. While there are lots of acronym-driven reading techniques, like “SQ3R” or “Survey-Question-Read-Recite-Review,” which aim to help you build a framework to understand your reading assignment, I personally believe that these techniques take too much time to understand and are cumbersome. Below, I’ve outlined some helpful tips for you to consider with respect to your graduate-level reading assignments.

Skim it! The longer the readings are, the more …