2022, Honors College
John Marin finds little to complain about these days.
This attitude stems from the George Mason University freshman’s time growing up in Cairo in his native Egypt, where the terrorist group ISIS blew up Coptic churches, including the one where his family worshipped.
“I see people complain about college stress or classes. Okay, 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.”
Marin does not take his time at Mason for granted. The economics major is a member of the Honors College and attends Mason tuition-free as a University Scholar.
“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.
“To come to a new high school and blow his senior year away and do so well, that was extraordinary to me,” said Dr. 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’s dream is to attend law school, and he believes 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. Economics also fits his main interests of business and corporate law.
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.”
Original reporting by Damian Cristodero. Additional reporting by Zaria Talley.