In the midst of countless college freshmen and family members, I reach out to others in search of friendship at my school’s orientation. The last time I experienced the confusion of adjusting to a new level of academic rigor and lifestyle was middle school. I am still the 12-year-old girl in Aeropostale apparel eager to find herself in the wake of a new beginning. “George Mason University feels like home to me,” I told my sister. But I knew I wouldn’t truly feel at home unless I had other members of this community by my side.
Examining the Concert Hall, I spot a student who appears to be more at ease than I am. I introduce myself without further ado, as she invites me to sit with her. As the day progresses, I expand my connections, and the packed schedule of activities flies by. A genuine sense of belonging transpires within me. In every direction I turn, I hear the echoes of laughter. Students sporting the green and gold walk in tight-knit groups, as I share humorous anecdotes with other freshmen.
Time and progress is never at a standstill. But Mason’s aura of freedom and liveliness is unchanging. The school’s beauty manifests itself in the lush green trees around campus, in the green and gold students wear proudly, in the smile that stretches across my face as I interact with peers.
To get the most out of the college experience and life, I don’t have to exhaust my bank account or travel hundreds of miles.I simply need to be in the company of other productive, engaged, and friendly individuals. And I am content.