Dorm supplies purchased, summer shopping completed, bags packed and expectations set, a throng of Patriots return to their second home in Fairfax. Included in George Mason University’s ever-growing population are apathetic sophomores and juniors, settling in for another year of arduous studies, along with overly eager freshmen and seniors, one group excited for its entrance and the other for its departure.

Students excited for another year of college are shopping for the latest trends.

Without a doubt, a bestseller will be e-readers, which offer an alternative solution to overpriced print textbooks. Cheaper e-books with access code options are available through various e-readers such as the Nook and Kindle. Priced at around $115 to $150, with the option of over 950,000 books available at the touch of a button, they are solid educational investment
As Mason students are aware, Washington, D.C., is our playground. Trendy new restaurants such as Toki Underground, Atlas Room and Cava Mezze Grill are hot new places to visit, but there’s something distinctly different in this new crop of eateries.
Targeting the younger, collegiate crowd, restaurants are advertising more and more through the Internet, and more specifically through Groupon. The relatively new website launched its Washington metropolitan section earlier last year. Groupon collects bargain deals and coupons from the city’s many businesses and events. Both the consumer and the vendor benefit from these instant deals. For college students on a budget, saving up to 90 percent on services throughout the city is definitely something of which to take advantage.
Sometimes nothing seems more appealing than relaxing in a dorm room and listening to music after a hard class or workout. Buying tracks or albums through iTunes can get expensive, but as of late July, a new online music service has made its mark as a convincing alternative in the already-crowded streaming market.
Spotify, a European company, is a new interface that allows users to stream music through a laptop or phone. Unlike current streaming programs, it offers a way for users to store music in a playlist and refer back to it later, completely free of charge. From full lists of yearly hits to albums of obscure indie songs, Spotify has amassed a wide and eclectic collection of music. For a college student, this means that getting music no longer has to be a choice between financial burden and illegal downloading.
While it’s great to spend some downtime in one’s dorm, it’s widely known that organization is not the strong point of the average college student. Trudging through the quicksand-like mess of clothes, papers and trash to get to a desk or bed can be a difficult task. A compact dorm room is put to the test as a year’s worth of belongings are pushed into every imaginable corner. Command wall hooks are a great tool for organization, allowing hooks to be placed on walls with easy removal, leaving no marks. Rolling carts and storage bins disguised as seating ottomans are also handy to have in a dorm, providing extra space when needed.
As another year begins on the Mason campus, a new crop of social and academic tools are at the fingertips of every Patriot. How will you use them?