Patriot Leader Experiences

1. What was your biggest challenge coming to Mason from out of state?

“The biggest challenge of coming to Mason from Out of State was being away from home. I was so used to having my family around as a main support system and not having them around was very hard. I had to get used to only seeing my family during holidays or breaks. It was hard being away from my family but being away from them for such a long period of time made me appreciate them more, as well as the time I spent with them.”  Jozslyne Carter: Jensen Beach, FL

“The biggest issue that I faced was adapting to the changes geographically. Coming from Hilton Head Island, SC, I was used to fairly warm temperatures for the majority of the year with very little changes in the seasons. Coming here, I really had to get acclimated with the differences in weather compared to home and adjust to the effects of living in a colder area during the winter. This included what clothes to bring up to school and what clothes to bring home depending on the season, the possibility of icy roads, and waiting for sidewalks and walkways to be clear of snow and salted before trying to walk all over campus after a snowstorm.”  Greg Warren: Hilton Head Island, SC

2. What is one thing you love about Fairfax?

“Being able to use public transportation! I come from a pretty rural area, so I rely heavily on my car when I’m home. I’m pretty independent, so I hate feeling like I have to rely on other people for rides. But here, I don’t have a car, so it’s really convenient to have the CUE bus system, the Gunston-Go bus, and the Mason to Metro shuttle to get me basically everywhere I need to go in Fairfax. Mason is also so close to Main Street, that when the weather is nice it’s a really fun way to get off campus that isn’t super complicated or expensive.” Laurel Robinson: Meadow Vista, CA

“I love how you have the options of a big town in the suburbs area but you also have a small college town feel with old town Fairfax. I just love how there are so many options open to students.” Dylan Davis: West Linn, OR

3. How did you cope with homesickness?

“With my family living in Japan, the time difference can be hard. However, over my first year I have found how important it is to keep in touch with them no matter how inconvenient it is. I also keep myself busy and involved on campus. I find that when I keep myself busy, productive, and having fun meeting new people it’s easier to stay positive about being so far from my family. It’s almost like I’m making my own family of new friends here at Mason! Not only that, but I constantly remind myself of my purpose for being here. It’s not easy being away from my loved ones, but I know that I have a purpose here and that keeps me grounded.” Courtney Bacon: Yokosuka, Japan

” I didn’t expect to be homesick but of course I was at some points throughout my freshman year. I realized I couldn’t call my family or friends from home because it only made things harder with the distance. Instead I learned how to fall in love with Mason through involvement and making strong relationships with friends. You’ll definitely miss home less once you find your purpose and place on campus.” Gaby Peda: Albany, NY

“The main way that I coped with homesickness is by just calling or Face Timing my family whenever I felt upset or missed home. Calling and Face Timing just made it easier by seeing my family’s face and just sharing how I felt. I also had a couple of friends who went to another university close to George Mason so I would visit them sometimes which helped ease homesickness.” Mandeep Kaur: Baltimore, MD

4. What is the best part about being at Mason as an out of state student?

“It feels like a completely different world when I am at school versus when I am at home. I love feeling like I have a separate, independent life far away from family or community expectations or comparisons. It is also pretty fun when people at Mason are impressed when you say where you’re from, since a good portion of Mason students aren’t out of state.” Susanna Kelley: Southold, NY

“As an out of state student, you have a different way of looking at the amazingness that is Virginia. Plus, you’re full of fun facts about your home state that all of the in state students probably don’t know.” Mari Henderson: Berrien Springs, MI

The best part of being an out of state student is starting over. I know it is also the biggest challenge especially for me, but it is a challenge that is worth it. Starting over and making new friends opens up connections and opportunities. It is remarkable; you learn a lot and you grow as a person becoming almost independent.” Keenan Gibson: Milwaukee, WI

5. What transportation, traveling, and packing tips do you have for incoming out of state students?

“If you are questioning bringing something don’t bother bringing it. There are dozens of things in my dorm right now I questioned bringing and brought anyways that just sit cluttered in my room. If you want said thing later have your parents ship it to you. Also, I found I do not use my fridge and microwave as much as I thought I would since, with anytime dining I can always run into the dining hall and grab a late night snack.” Aidan Semanco: Butler, PA

“I would definitely recommend not packing as much as I did. I brought my entire room with me my freshman year. Space bags are a life saver too though. I would suggest packing smart but also bring some funny stuff that makes you laugh and reminds you of home!” Chris Reid: New York, NY

 “I would definitely say, plan ahead. Moving to a whole other state is pretty scary and stressful, but just make sure you have a to-do list to make sure you’re on track for move-in and breaks. Also consider what breaks you plan on coming home, so you bring appropriate apparel with you. If you are flying, make sure you book in advance and make proper arrangements for when you get to Virginia.”   Sesinos Zerbabiel: Renton, WA

6. What additional advice do you have for incoming out of state students and families?

“Stay connected to your loved ones. Make sure that you talk to them kind of consistently. You don’t have to do it every day but at least try to do it once a week. They will really appreciate it and love to hear your voice. Believe it or not, you will miss them so it’ll be good for you to hear their voices too.” Tori Johnson: Woodstock, GA

“Embrace the challenge because you’re about to embark on an amazing journey in the next chapter of your life. Stay involved and network, network, network!!!!” Keandra Diamond: Fayetteville, GA

“Additional advice that I have for incoming out of state students is that you should step out of your comfort zone and get involved around campus, which will allow you to build friendships and not feel as homesick. The advice I can give to families is that you should trust your student to make the right decisions and to know that your student will always be accessible to you.” Cherrita Guy: Dover, DE