A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

Mason Cribs: Learning Curve

By Leah Kerkman Fogarty on May 6, 2011

Forget everything you’ve heard about the dorms at Mason. Now considered a “primarily residential” university, Mason has a thriving campus life. Peek into how undergraduates are living large on campus with this take on MTV Cribs—but with a little Mason flavor. From singles to suites, here are some of the best “cribs” around.

Funny that Lizzie Gilliland is an elementary education student, seeing as she’s still constantly learning—especially when it comes to campus. As a junior transfer student to Mason, she laughs about getting confused by the different Robinson buildings. “There’s just so much to do and see here,” she says.

Because she went to a large high school, Gilliland thought she wanted a smaller environment for college and chose a modest private liberal arts college downstate. And even though she went to nearby Robinson Secondary School, she admits she didn’t know much about Mason before transferring. But now she’s “having more fun and more of a college experience being here,” she says. “I’m meeting new people, and I have more classes to choose from.”

With an infectious laugh and a bright demeanor, Gilliland has decorated her room to match her sunny disposition. Many of her finds she scored at the T.J. Maxx in Fairfax, including a retro-inspired print of a daisy she hung above her bed that says “Grow.”

“It was 75 cents,” Gilliland says proudly.When she’s not in class or studying, she makes the most of her spacious suite, which comprises two singles, two doubles, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living area.

Lizzie and five other women share the suite, which fits a number of their friends for social events. “We entertain a lot,” says Lizzie, including the occasional birthday party or football-viewing gathering.

The best place to eat on campus?

“Here,” Lizzie says without hesitation. Rosemary chicken, fried catfish, and burgers are some of their favorite fare. Though she admits she’s amazed at the food options on campus, especially compared with her old college.

“There’s food in almost every building here!”

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Gilliland shows off an outline of her hands, along with the hands of a little girl who lives next door to her parents. “She says I’m her best friend,” Gilliland says. “I really like kids, which is why I’m majoring in elementary education, and she is where that all started.”

A couple photos of Gilliland’s family are displayed in her room. Her sister is 12 and her brother, who has autism, is 18. “Growing up, my brother and I were really close. A lot of things that adults couldn’t teach him to do, I could,” says Gilliland. She says she’s considering a career in special education.

One of her books for class sits atop her laptop and a vase holds a single daisy, which is Gilliland’s favorite kind of flower. “And daisies go with the whole colorful, light, and fun theme I was going for,” she says.

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