Freshman Horror Stories

Freshman year of college is an exciting time full of unique and memorable experiences. But even though those experiences are memorable, they don’t necessarily have to be your favorite memory.  From late nights cram sessions to 7am classes, freshman year is considered by many to be the best year of your life. Here are a few stories from some freshman who believe that their experiences can be constituted as “horror worthy”.

 “My friend on Washington 3rd [President’s Park] has a roommate who would smoke in the room. My friend asked her to stop, but she did not and lied about it. My friend found [paraphernalia] in her car, after the roommate borrowed it, and also  hidden under her bed. In the end, my roommate told her resident advisor. Her roommate no longer smokes in the room. ”

– Anonymous, President’s Park, Jefferson Hall

“Within the first two weeks of school, my room was flooded due to it being connected to the showers.  We had developed black mold, and my roommates and couldn’t live in our room for two weeks.”

– Anonymous, President’s Park, Jefferson Hall

 “My story is about when I brought a friend over to spend the night. We were having a good time, chilling and telling stories. Then, my roommate comes in and I’m like “This is my friend”. So we all start talking and continue having a good time, but the topic of my roommate’s Christmas present comes up.  For Christmas, I had bought her a vibrator as a joke, and she currently has it in her dorm closet. So I’m asking her all these questions, such as “Have you used it?” and “How is it?” Later, I come to find out that she used it. I was happy because I did not want it to be a waste of my money. Soon, she is talking to my friend about it, and I am not paying attention because I have heard all of this before. The next thing I know something was thrown at my face! As it turns out, my roommate thought it was a good idea to throw her used vibrator at my face. All I could think was “What is wrong with you?” Her response? “I cleaned it.”, while she simply just shrugged. Now, I am scarred for life because I have been hit in the face with my roommate’s used vibrator.”

– Anonymous, President’s Park, Jefferson Hall

“Last semester, my history teacher yelled at me and my friend that we were going to flunk out of school and we weren’t good enough for college. We both ended up passing his class with good grades. ”

– Anonymous, President’s Park, Truman Hall

“I guess it was an ordinary Thursday, or Halloween as others know it, and I was done with classes for the week.  I was going a little crazy in my room, so I asked a friend for a ride to another friend’s house. Pretty much the whole ride went smoothly.  He goes to make a right turn on Prince William Parkway. He is paying attention to oncoming traffic and not to the cars in front of him. I called his name to try and get his attention, in order to tell him he’s about to hit it, because the car in front of us had stopped, unexpectedly. He winds up bumping the car, and I had a close enough look to see there was no damage before he decided to go around the car and push 70mph during down Prince William Parkway.  I’m screaming at the top of my lungs begging him to stop the car, as we’re swerving in and out of cars. The next thing I know, he’s trying to take a right turn to move off the road we are on. We are going way too fast for the turn and our brakes lock, so we end up in the air over an incline, hit a tree and flipped over into a pond. All I remember is watching as my life flashed before my eyes.

         “Once the car had come to a complete stop, all I could think about was how I was going to get out of this car. There was water coming in rapidly, as I tried to get my seatbelt off. It was up to my waist before I got it off, and I vigorously moved to the backseat to try and open a car window. I soon realized that we probably wouldn’t be able to get out until the car was completely filled with water. As that thought passed through my mind, all I remember was the door opening and then somehow I was standing on the sidewalk looking at the car upside down in the pond. As soon as I was out of the car, I started crying, and then I realized that all of my belongings, including my laptop, were in there, which made me cry harder. We were saved because a passerby saw our car go into the pond. If that person decided not to stop his car and go into the water in order to pull us out, we might be dead.”

– Anonymous, President’s Park, Jefferson Hall

“I’ve often heard President’s Park be called by upperclassmen as the “projects of campus”. I always thought of it as more of a community, where freshmen can come together and have fun in the open air. But I guess one thing that comes with community are ants. Yep. I said it. ANTS! My most embarrassing moment of freshman year would have to be when a swarm of ants came out of my schoolbag, during my IT 103 lecture. I was mortified and had to wait till the end of class to dump out my bag. From then on, I never brought that bag into that room ever again.”

-Nadgeena Jerome, President’s Park, Jefferson Hall

“While at Ella’s, a restaurant in D.C., the waiter kept refilling my water in rapid succession. After a while, I started taking this as a challenge. I ended up downing about 13 glasses before leaving. Though I used the restroom before leaving, I ended up feeling uncomfortable on the Metro ride from Foggy Bottom to Vienna. I just missed the shuttle upon ariving at the Vienna station and proceeded to wait for the next one. After the 40 minute metro ride and this 30 minute wait for a shuttle, I had to go badly. When the shuttle finally did arrive, he let the passengers off and said he  needed to refuel. After he came back 20 minutes later, I still had to sit through the 20 minute ride back to campus, before reaching a restroom. That wait was excruciating.”

-Hannah LaClaire, Piedmont

“One night my roommate and I decided to get all dressed up to go out that night. Though we had no plans, we figured  something would come up. We ate dinner at The Rat. and proceeded to walk around campus texting about possible gatherings that night. We ran into one of her classmates and friends, and met a few other people. After talking to them for a few hours outside, we decided against going out that night. Seeing as it was already well past 12 AM,  I left the conversation early to go change into a more comfortable outfit and out of my high heels. On the short and well-lit walk back to the Park, I came across a group of about 4 guys who stood staring at me. Though one was smoking, none of them were speaking. This very strange situation became sketchier as they did not move upon my approach. Their positions required that I walk through their group. As I stood about 15 feet away, they called out to me. “Watch out! There’s a snake there!” “He won’t hurt you! Just don’t get too close.”

“I figured this was some sort of ruse. I saw this stick like object on the ground. Only when I was standing directly in front of it, did I see the definite shape of a snake’s head. Terrified and uncomfortable, I  still chose to push forward seeing as I was too tired to turn back. I walked past the snake and through the group of guys, hoping that none of them would follow me. Never have I been so scared to be walking alone as a small woman.”

-Ana Carolina Machado Silva, President’s Park, Adams Hall

Spring Into Well Being this Earth Day

Well-being, the state of being happy, comfortable, and healthy, is a movement that is taking the country, and the world, by storm. Corporate offices, elementary schools, universities, and even state and local governments are implementing mindfulness practices into their routines in an effort to promote well-being. George Mason University is no exception.

“Spring into Well-Being” week at Mason concluded on Thursday with Well-Being Day—a University wide event celebrating the return of spring with various mindful activities. The event was hosted by The Center for the Advancement of Well-Being at George Mason University’s New Century College.

Well Being



Well Being

According to the center, the goal of Well-Being week was to “celebrate some of the many well-being programs, activities, and resources available to the Mason community that help build individual and collective capacities for increased vitality, purpose, and resilience.”

Throughout Monday, April 7, and until Thursday, April 17, various students and organizations created free events to cultivate well-being. Events included the creation of gratitude mandalas and postcards, a fundraiser for the Maijuna community, Good Deeds Day, Tai Chi, Yoga, various meditations, an appreciation station, a bunny hop, and many others.

Yoga on the Lawn

There were also a number of performances and talks. Award-winning composer, author, and philanthropist Peter Buffett held a “concert and conversation” on April 16, and a talk held by Olympic speed-skater Apolo Ohno on April 15. Other performances included Jammin’ at Well-Being, which featured student performers, and a “Music of the Andes” concert.

Well-Being Day is just one step of many in the university’s attempts to become a more “mindful” institution. As the program continues to build, more events will be held on campus, such as the Fundraiser for the Philippines, which will take place on Thursday,

April 24 with free yoga, meditation, art, and music. Donations are welcome.Appreciation

Fresh Fest: Showcase of the Freshman Patriot Experience!

All photography credits go to IV Estate’s own Amy Rose.

Freshman Stars of the Fall

College freshmen face many new changes that may be difficult to handle over the course of the first few months. The struggles range from the several aspects for self-reliance, a new environment, and keeping the body and the mind healthy. But for some students, there is an added component that makes things a little more stressful; the student athletes walk into a new realm of competition and intensity that some just cannot handle. For the freshmen of George Mason who took on this challenge this fall, the signs of struggle and difficulty were not apparent by any means. In three short months, some of the Patriots’ best athletes went from being locally known high school students to nationally known collegiate superstars; a dream that only seems to come true in fairytales turned into reality for some of the best and brightest here at Mason.

The fall sports at Mason consist of Cross Country, Men’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer, and Women’s Volleyball, and many young stars emerged in this first semester.

In the world of Men’s Soccer, and in all sports at Mason in fact, the main focus this season was the fact that the 2013-2014 season would be the inaugural season for Mason in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Analysts did not give GMU any creditability as most preseason rankings had Mason finishing in the bottom half of the conference. The Mason Men’s Soccer team proved the pessimistic critics very wrong as in their first year, the guys took home the A-10 Championship and made it to the 2nd round in the NCAA Tournament before coming up short in their 1-0 loss to New Mexico. The season, although it ended abruptly, still was history in the making for George Mason. Most people highlighted senior Alex Herrera and junior Timi Mulgrew as both contributed greatly to the team’s success scoring and assisting on a majority of the goals scored. But what people also noticed was the very surprising positive vibes that freshman goalie Steffen Kraus and freshman midfielder Zach Herstek brought to the squad.

Herstek, a 5’10” Pennsylvania native, took the role of filling in the substantial hole left by Taylor Morgan, who now plays in the MLS for Toronto FC. Playing beside experienced veterans like Herrera and Wes Sever, Herstek had a great set of mentors to help him transition into the big league; the well-balanced offense fit the speed and aggression of Herstek perfectly as he recorded 3 goals which was 3rd on the team. Along with finding the net 3 times, he also assisted on one goal and made a name for himself very quickly in the A-10 community. Zach is a great addition to the Patriot’s offense and will be a key player to watch out for in the upcoming years.

On the defensive side, goalie Steffen Kraus had a history-making season to say the least. Residing from Stuttgart, Germany, the 6-foot 3-inch defensive phenom reassured why Deutschland is known for their futbol. Kraus came into the season looking to attest the negative prediction giving to the team by being a solid defensive anchor, and he did more than he even expected. Kraus posted a 12-3-6 record leading his team to a conference championship. Only one word comes to mind when thinking about the impressive Mason goalie: clutch. Kraus recorded an A-10 leading 71% save percentage, 9 shutouts, and 16 goals allowed, the fewest out of all A-10 opponents. Along with the impressive A-10 accomplishments Kraus achieved, he also was selected to the All-Region 2nd Team. When you have a freshman goalie who can provide the defense needed to make the 2nd round of the National playoffs, your upcoming seasons look very bright, and for Mason’s Men’s Soccer, things are looking that way as the A-10 Rookie of the Year returns for 3 more seasons.

The Women’s Soccer team had the season they expected to have. With only 4 seniors on the team, the lack of leadership showed at some times which contributed to the final record of 7-11-1. Quite like the men’s team, the same names popped up in conversation: Emma Starr and Liz Hodges were the obvious leaders of the squad as they recorded almost half the team’s goals, but other young stars emerged towards the end of the season. Even their efforts may have come too late, as the ladies lost to St. Bonaventure in the A-10 Quarterfinals, the defense of Sarah Hardison and the offensive threat of Brenna Connell will be great additions to the team’s every day roster next year.

Hardison, who was recognized as a defensive all-star in the A-10, showed every bit of her talent during the entire game. While there are no defensive stats to prove how reliable Hardison was on the field, her efforts took an immense amount of stress off of senior goalie Lyndsey Hokanson’s shoulders to say the least. While watching a women’s game at Patriot Stadium, Hardison not only stuck out from her neon yellow green cleats and 6-foot stature, but her defensive dominance also set her apart from the rest of the backfield. There is no doubt in the mind of anyone who follows the Lady Patriots that Hardison will be a very valuable addition to the team in the upcoming years.

On the offensive side of the field, Brenna Connell made a name for herself among the rest of the freshmen. Connell was the only freshman to record a goal this year; along with her scoring ability, Connell tied with Jazmin Cardoso for the team-high 4 assists. A clear threat in the midfield/forward position, Connell adds another fresh component to the Lady Patriots’ offense.

Finally, we transition from the turf to the hardwood. The women’s volleyball team had a season full of ups and downs; the ladies finished their inaugural A-10 with a 7-21 record, but while their record showed signs of struggle, the Patriots found a future star on the front line. Jessie Greenslade, a 6 foot, outside hitter from Millersville, Pennsylvania proved to not only her coach and teammates, but also the entire Mason Nation why she is a force to be reckoned with. The freshman was third on the team in kills, second in kills per set, and second in aces. Stats, however, do not do Greenslade justice. Inexperience was not apparent as Greenslade hopped on the court; the young star looked like a veteran and more importantly, a floor general. Even though she had only practiced with her teammates for a short amount of time, Greenslade’s awareness of every girl’s strengths and weaknesses made her a young leader. Her poise and power will be very valuable to the program’s future.

These young stars will look to not only contribute to their team’s success in the future, but serve as role models to the new incoming freshman in the fall of 2014. As we transition to winter and spring sports here at Mason, we will continue to keep a lookout for bright, young talent of the playing fields.

Fall Fashion Show Recap

Who would have thought that making the decision to trek all the way to Original Burger and satiate my hunger, would present me with an amazing modeling opportunity? On Saturday, November 23, the Patriot Activities Council hosted the annual Red Alert Fashion Show, in honor of HIV/Aids Awareness month.  The show was hosted by Mason alumni and Miss Bronx 2013, Delesia Watson, and took place in Dewberry Hall, located on the ground floor of the Johnson Center.

I was first notified of my acceptance as a model for the HIV/ Aids Awareness fashion show in late September. Rehearsals for the fashion show began in early October on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but then they became once a week, in order to accommodate different scenes.  Finally, the week of the show, practice was Monday- Thursday. Fashion show practices took place in the Office of Student Involvement in Sub II (The Hub), beginning at 9:45 in the evening. Throughout the preparation process, punctuality and dedication were both very valuable assets.

The day of the show the models reported to the Gold Room, found in the Johnson Center ground floor, at 11am. There, we were greeted by hair and make-up artists from Paul Mitchell Studios, who created a variety of looks and hair styles, so as to keep a sense of variety throughout the show. The hours before the show were spent in a non-stop agenda, consisting of dress rehearsals, fittings and beauty preparation (guys included). The pre-show frenzy did not end until minutes before the show began, and even then, many heart rates were still accelerating.

Fall Fashion show

Fall Fashion Show pictures courtesy of Nadgeena Jerome

Nonetheless, the show was a complete success. The packed house held a number of distinguished individuals from DC Fashion Week and other modeling groups. The Patriot Activities Council was able to obtain donated clothing and accessories from designers and stores, in order to make the models look their absolute best. Clothing Stores Langford Market and Courage B donated the female models’ attire, while the men’s clothing were donated by up and coming fashion line, BEYU.  There were performances by Urbanknowology, Dance Works and many Mason students, including Brandon Showell of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

The highlight of the entire night was Project Condom, where students designed formal attire using actual condoms. My favorite was the condom suit, complete with a matching red tie. Project Condom was just one way to raise awareness for HIV and Aids. The Patriot Activities Council, GMU Fashion Society and Mason Cable Network shot a short promo video explaining the causes and effects of HIV and Aids. All in all, the HIV/ Aids Awareness Fashion Show was able to raise awareness for a cause that is dramatically affecting the world, and were able to do it in a fun, interactive, and educational way.

Fall Fashion Show pictures courtesy of Nadgeena Jerome

Fall Fashion Show pictures courtesy of Nadgeena Jerome

Jamming Away To An A

Cram Jam was hosted in Southside by Dining Services and Housing & Residence Life. We all enjoyed free pancakes with endless toppings. During the event, each student was encouraged to drop off their “study bucks” in order to win amazing prizes during the Study Bucks Drawing. This free social event was highly praised by the following three freshman students:

“Cram jam was less cramming of information and more jamming food into our mouths. There was great music and atmosphere though. Cram jam is a great way to relax, meet new people, and gain half of your freshman fifteen.”

– Olivia Stanford

“It was very crowded and a bit unorganized but I still had a great time! I loved it! Can’t wait for next year’s Cram Jam!”

– Rashid White

“The decorations were really cute and I think the best part was when they turned up the music and everyone started socializing. It was a really amazing night and I had a great time. People go crazy for those study parties!”

– Ashley Riley

Feature Profile: Manuel Gauto

Manuel Gauto, from Falls Church, Virginia, is an ordinary freshman who is doing extraordinary things. For the past seven years he has been gaining knowledge and experience in IT work and now he is running his own company.

Gauto chose Mason because of its esteemed engineering school, the reasonable price, and most importantly the close proximity it has to his home in order to continue running his business.

Gauto explains that his school priorities are what set him apart from his classmates. Though he knows school is important as a double major in Computer Engineering and Spanish, Gauto said, “Instead of focusing on school, like people tell me, I’m more focused on my business.”

Gauto says his family is what motivates him most and said, “They have always been there to support me.” Interestingly, however, the profit he makes from his company are what pays for his schooling.

Despite how well he is doing now, Gauto has encountered some obstacles along the way. He explained that there are always growing pains with a new company and that he has had to overcome some failures. Gauto reported, “It’s really hard to break a profit at first… [running a business] has a very steep learning curve…I’ve personally messed up [at times] and I’ve lost clients because of it.” Gauto has dealt with these problems and advises others that “Basically, you just have to keep at it. It will drain you at first, but once you get it set up, it’s still draining but not as bad.”

Gauto started his company, MG Enterprises, an IT service that does hosting and consulting, two years ago. Gauto, explaining what he does in his company, said, “I go to different businesses around the area, sometimes in other parts of the country and help them out with their IT infrastructure.” Most of his clients are from around the area, but he also has clients as far as Missouri.

Gauto revealed, “A typical day is pretty uneventful because of how the business is set up. The only times I really have to do something is when something breaks or when there’s a big storm and half the east coast loses power.” Once, he missed about two weeks of school in order to help clients in Chicago.

Gauto’s job is to manage the company, but depending on how much work he has, he will hire people on and off in order to keep up with client demand.

Throughout his work, Gauto has learned many important things about running a business. One of the most crucial things Gauto has learned is the importance of dressing for the job. Gauto said, “If you don’t look the part, they won’t pay attention to you.”

In addition to attire, Gauto added, “It’s really hard to earn the respect of people when you’re young so you have to really show that you know what you’re talking about.” He recounts, “If you start slipping up too much, they just won’t take you seriously and it’s impossible to get anywhere.”

Now that he has had time to figure things out, Gauto had time to reflect on the positive things that his company offered him. The most rewarding aspect of running the company for Gauto is “being able to help support the family…the confidence you gain and networking.”

Gauto says his company also bears a significant message for students by showing “You don’t have to be a 45 year old man or woman to be able to be successful…as long as you know what you’re talking about, there’s always a way to get what you want to get done.”

Gauto seems to have a very positive outlook and offers a lot of advice for freshman students who are trying to start up a project, like his, as well as freshman in general. Gauto suggested, “Don’t take life too seriously…school is important, but always look in the long run as well.”

He explained his reasoning behind this by mentioning “I have a teacher this semester who’s actually in the IT field, and we’re looking at partnering up, so always be networking with people.”

Gauto also added, “Learn to prioritize and time manage.” He also joked saying “The earlier you start something in the day, the more sleep you get.”

Gauto also provided words of encouragement for freshman who might not feel like they can achieve what they want to do. He urged for students to “Just go for it…the worst that could happen is that it doesn’t work out, or it could be something great and you end up making lots of money and friends.”

Gauto is hoping his next main project is going to be something great as well. He revealed, “I just set up another subsidiary… [which is] a smaller company that’s owned by my company… and I’m hoping that will take off too.”

Family Weekend Goes Mad

The Patriot Center was devoted to the introduction and display of Mason’s basketball athletes in a pep rally at the seventeenth annual Mason Madness event on Friday night. Though the doors only opened at 7:30pm, there were giveaways at the door at 7, and a considerable crowd gathered before the event was held at 8 o’clock. Cheerleaders peppered the crowd with Mason spirit and in return family members and visitors joined students in the Mason Fight Song. The voices of siblings, parents, students and staff alike echoed back the refined sounds of Mason’s band, the Green Machine. Doc Nix led the band with the astounding flourish for which he is renowned. As the cheerleaders enraptured the crowd with a series of daring stunts, the Masonettes dance team kept time with the music through their graceful routine. The showcase of Mason talent did not end there, Urbanknowlogy further amazed with their perfectly synched and astonishingly well choreographed dancing.

Photo courtesy of Hannah Matangos.

Photo courtesy of Hannah Matangos.

The highlight of the occasion, however, was the introduction of the season’s new and returning basketball players. Both men’s and women’s teams were introduced with great enthusiasm and fanfare. As they made their way down to the court to join their coaches and fellow team members, their names, positions, and smiling faces were broadcasted on the screens around the stadium, making them familiar to the entire Mason populace. The players also received an enthused greeting from the Patriot mascot upon reaching the court. The teams then showcased their talents in a game of knockout and several scrimmages. The Green Machine and cheerleaders kept the crowd cheering on from the stands.

Though Mason Madness is geared toward the introduction of the men’s and women’s basketball teams, the Green Machine, Urbanknowlogy, the Masonettes and cheerleaders all made memorable appearances. Even the Patriot joined in with the festivities, hyping the crowd and carrying a flag with the cheerleaders. The event ended with t-shirts being tossed into a roaring crowd, a closing number by the Green Machine, and free Chick Fil-A to Mason students.