I got an email this week about buying a school ring, which led to a question forming in my head: Do people actually still buy those things? And just as a train of thoughts tends to do, my mind raced to other scholastic memorabilia like letterman jackets and on to school spirit in general. It’s just not looking good.

When I was in high school, I was a varsity wrestler and my letterman jacket, with my varsity letter on it, was one of my most prized possessions. Call me crazy or cliche, but wearing that jacket helped me walk a little taller and added a little pep in my step. As a kid with a ton of confidence issues, it was like wearing a superhero costume. It gave me strength that I didn’t know I had.

Then there was the ring dance. I’ve asked around and it turns out most people have no clue what the heck I’m talking about when I say “ring dance.” Once again, when I was 16 years old, the ring dance was a big deal. And I’m not coming across as too biased or just talking about the traditions at my school. It was a big deal to every school I knew that existed in Virginia. What happened?

I have no doubt that reunions will soon be a thing of the past. After all, what will you have to say to people that you haven’t already told them on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site?

I know, I know: I’m in college now. That’s true, but does that mean that pride has to go out the window? Fridays are supposed to be spirit days, but the only people I see putting on green or gold are the ones who want the discount they can get in the Johnson Center. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that if it wasn’t for our basketball team, George Mason University would have next to no pride.

When I first moved up here, I was so excited to finally be a part of something big again, to finally understand what it meant to be part of a big university. As it turned out, though, several people informed me that no one really cares about what happens at Mason. They told me things like: “It’s a commuter school,” “everyone just comes for their classes,” “Mason doesn’t really push spirit or camaraderie.” I was slightly upset by these new revelations.

Iquickly learned that all that was just a misconception. The truth is that it’s all here; you just have to want to be a part of it. It’s just like anything else in this world. You get from it what you put into it. I spent my first few months here believing what those people had told me and it was a pretty miserable experience. Then one day, I just said “eff it” and found a way to get involved.

School spirit and tradition isn’t dead; some people just don’t care anymore. That’s still a pretty sad thing to me. I’ve loved my time here as a Patriot and when it’s time for me to leave, I’ll proudly slap that alumni bumper sticker on the back of my car.

I miss the days when everyone felt the way I do about being at school. Yeah, it’s tough work being here, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be proud to be here, too. We might not be the Hokies or the Cavaliers, but we are the Patriots, dammit. Be proud.


1 Comment

  1. Brendan Richardson says:

    Higher tuition rates may factor into the lack of Mason memorabilia purchases.