Freshman Guide To Mason: Tips

Welcome all to the final piece of the guide. I have spoke of parties, Greek life and food. I felt these topics were important enough to have their own separate posts on. I didn’t want to speak on all of the things they drill into your heads at orientation. I’m not saying it’s not important but it’s just so repetitive. If you didn’t hear about it during orientation wait until the Preamble (: This last piece of the guide will just be tips on various things.

For those who don’t know who I am. My name is Janell. I’m a sophomore Events Management major. I am a Univ. 100 Peer Advisor (teaching an Engineering and Off-Campus Section),  Resident Advisor (I’m in the Park) and the Director of Programming for the Black Student Alliance.

Let’s get to it!

Workload Tips

  • A lot of people tend to do their homework on Sunday’s because rarely anything is going on. It’s a day for people to focus and not be distracted. Don’t be surprised if you want to do something with your friends and they all say no. It’s because they are doing their homework.
  • College work is nothing like high school work. You’ll be able to slack in some classes but others will take up so much time. Read the syllabus to make sure you know what you’re getting into.
  • You have until September 29th to drop classes but that will come with a financial liability. I would drop a class as soon as possible if you feel it’s too much.
  • Your syllabus will tell you everything you need to know. One time I was looking at a syllabus and after reading it I dropped that class. I knew It was going to be way too much for me.
  • Mason has a lot of places on campus where you can go to study. The Johnson Center (JC) and Fenwick will be full most of the time. Don’t worry, there are plenty of other places. Doing your work in your room isn’t always the best option. It’s very easy to get distracted. Try going to a study room (which you have to book online on the library’s website) or going in your common room if it’s quiet.

Involvement Tips

  • Get involved!
  • Do something. You don’t have to do everything but at least attend meetings or events. Don’t be boring and sit in your room. College is about getting an education and an experience.
  • Don’t try to do everything at once, especially during the first semester. Start slowly. Realize what you’re capable of.
  • You’re going to have a decent amount of free time depending on your course work so you can afford to be involved in at least one thing.
  •  Mason has over 300 organizations. If you say nothing on campus interests you then you simply haven’t looked hard enough.

Helpful Apps

  • These are apps I have on my phone that I feel are helpful:
    • Outlook (how I connect to my masonlive email)
    • Blackboard Student (you can access your classes from your phone and even turn in work)
    • Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Drive
    • Mobile Mason
    • LinkedIn
    • Netflix & Hulu
    • Any.do: To Do list, Reminder, Calendar
    • Google Calendar (or whichever calendar app you use)

Working During Your First Semester Tips

  • I wouldn’t suggest working during your first semester unless you absolutely have to. College is expensive so you have to do what’s needed.
  • If you do work during the first semester I would suggest working on campus. Try looking for jobs now, if possible.
  • Working off campus is just going to be extra work, especially if you don’t have a car. However, Mason does have shuttles if you happen to work off campus.

Money Tips

  • I would suggest getting $300 in bonus funds, if you can afford it. Everyone starts off with $100 no matter what. You can use these are various food locations on campus like Taco Bell or Chick-Fil-A. For any information on food just look at my previous post.
  • Your money will go by very quickly. Between Uber, food, books/supplies etc. it’ll just slip away.
  • Get a debit or credit card if you don’t already have one.

 Car Tips 

  • I didn’t know a lot of freshman who brought their cars. You really don’t need it your first year. I thought I needed mine and was so sad when I couldn’t bring it. Then I got to Mason and realized barely anyone had one. Only one freshman on my entire floor had a car.
  • If you need to go places we have a lot of options.
    • D.C. -> Metro
    • The Mall -> Mason Shuttle
    • Target, Wal-Mart -> Shuttle
    • University Mall -> Shuttle
    • West Campus -> Shuttle
    • You can also use the bus if you need to go anywhere the Mason Shuttles don’t take us.
    • Parties -> If it’s a frat party then they will pick you up. If it’s somewhere else off campus then most friends split an Uber and it comes out pretty cheap.
  • The cheapest parking pass is $195 and I am dreading paying for it. It’s all the way in West Campus. The most expensive is almost $700 by the way. So, if you can’t spare that extra $195 then don’t worry (most freshman can’t).

Books/Supplies

  • I wouldn’t buy your books until the first week of class BECAUSE that’s when you’ll find out if you really need it. Imagine renting a book that costs $125 from Mason for a week just to find out by your professor that you won’t be using it. That’s such a waste of money. They won’t run out of books so I would wait until then the first week.
  • I’m very organized so I have a lot of supplies. Buy what you want. You only need books, maybe binders, things to write with and a laptop. A lot of people just bring their laptops to class everyday and take notes instead of hand writing them. I would suggest this because you most likely type faster than you write. On the down side, I see a lot of people who are very distracted on their computers (playing games, doing other work etc.). You just have to be strong until to stop yourself. If you realize you are missing things because of your computer then switch to hand written notes.
  • If you use calendar then you should buy one. If you can use on on your phone then just find one that works for you.

Final Thoughts 

  • It’s going to be okay. Everyone will adapt differently.
  • Getting involved will make the process so much easier. Things are much easier with friends.
  • College is WHAT YOU MAKE IT. Only YOU can decide if you like Mason. It all depends on what you decide to do.
  • Have lots of fun.
  • Oh, If you decide you want to switch your major please don’t stress out. People do it all the time. Just go talk to your advisor!
  • Be safe when you go out.
  • Keep in touch with your family. At least once a week would be nice.

 

Follow my Social Media:

Twitter: Janell_00 (On my page, feel free to ask me any questions on CuriousCat or you can DM me!)

Snapchat: sweettooth00

Instagram: sweet_tooth00

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