George Mason University

News at Mason

Freshman enjoys 'real world' at Mason

October 9, 2018   /   by Damian Cristodero

John Marin is a freshman economics major and a member of Mason's Honors College.

John Marin said he finds little to complain about these days.

Especially at times when the George Mason University freshman recalls growing up in Cairo in his native Egypt, when the terrorist group ISIS was blowing up Coptic churches, including the one where his family worshipped.

“I see people complain about college stress or classes. OK, you have a right to be stressed,” Marin said. “But when you faced what my family did, and then you face minor inconveniences, they’re just like an itch you brush off.”

That said, Marin does not take his time at Mason for granted. The economics major is a member of the Honors College, and as a University Scholar he attends Mason tuition-free.

“I’m actually very thankful every day for this opportunity and being in the United States,” Marin said. “Whenever I start doubting myself, thinking this is too much pressure on me, I think of how blessed I am to have this scholarship.”

Marin’s family came to the United States in 2012, settling in Houston, Texas, where they still reside. The family briefly moved to Vienna, Virginia, in 2017 after Hurricane Harvey inundated Houston with more than 60 inches of rain. Marin missed the first month of his senior year at James Madison High School in Vienna because of the move.

His dream is to attend law school, and he figures an economics degree is a good way to distinguish himself in the application process among those with degrees in majors such as government and political science.

Besides, Marin said, his main interests are business and corporate law, so studying economics seems to make the most sense.

“To come to a new high school and blow his senior year away and do so well, that was extraordinary to me,” said Andy Hoefer, assistant dean at the Honors College. “He had a track record of leading, and to come here and to immediately find a place and do well is just outstanding.”

Marin, who studied English in Egypt before coming to the United States, said Mason’s dedication to inclusion helped ease his transition.

“With law, you’re going to deal with a lot of people with different beliefs, different cultures, different religions,” Marin said. “This is one of the best places to prepare you for that. You’re not going to go into a homogeneous society where all people look the same. This is the real world.”