Mason Family Flash

A Message from Juliet Blank-Godlove, Dean of Students

Dear Mason Families,

Autumn is officially upon us in Fairfax! The weather is becoming crisp and cool, the smell of pumpkin spice lattes is in the air, and our campus is busy with the routine of college life. This is also a time of year when students may begin to experience heightened levels of stress. Academic-related commitments, combined with personal issues, and world events can be contributors to anxiety and distress. While these types of emotions can be a perfectly natural short-term reaction to events in a person’s life, it is also important to be able to identify “a few common warning signs that may indicate distress or significant emotional concern in a student.” ( Some of these warning signs include “marked nervousness, agitation, or irritability; inappropriately aggressive or abrasive behavior; excessive procrastination and/or poorly prepared work; apparent depression or lack of energy; marked change in personal hygiene; withdrawal, indecisiveness and/or confusion; comments (written or verbal) that suggest thoughts about harming oneself, or any threats to another person; bizarre, alarming statements, or evidence that a student is engaging in dangerous behavior” (

There are several resources available on campus to assist students. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides short-term counseling and learning services that are facilitated by “a staff of licensed clinical psychologists, social workers, professional counselors, learning specialists, and a psychiatrist. Individual and group therapy, workshops, online self-help, and community education programs are designed to enhance students’ personal experience and academic performance.” ( CAPS is located in Student Union Building 1, Suite 3129, and can be reached at 703-993-2380 and at

The Student Support and Advocacy Center (SSAC) offers “educational programming, one-on-one consultations, and resources in the areas of interpersonal violence, personal wellness, and alcohol and drug use.” ( SSAC also provides outreach to students who are experiencing personal concerns. Referrals to SSAC can be made at Once a referral is made, a member of the SSAC staff will reach out to the student to schedule a meeting to learn about any concerns or issues that the student may be experiencing, and then connect the student to appropriate campus resources. Additionally, SSAC hosts the Patriot Pantry ( for students who may be experiencing food insecurity. SSAC is located in Student Union Building 1, Suite 3200, and can be reached at 703-993-3686 and at

The George Mason University Department of Police and Public Safety is a resource that is available 24-hours a day, 365-days per year and employs over 50 sworn police officers who provide campus safety, education, outreach and services. Concerns for the immediate safety of a student can be made to 911 or to Mason Police at 703-993-2810. For more information about the Department of Police and Public Safety please review their website at

We also encourage all students, faculty, staff and families to become Mason Ready for any emergencies that may occur on campus. We urge everyone in the Mason community, including families, to register for Mason Alerts and the Rave Guardian safety mobile application, administered through the Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHS). For more information, please review the EHS website ( and the Mason Ready website ( We will also post important campus information for families on the Mason Families website at

George Mason University is committed to the well-being and success of our students. As a Well-Being University we are dedicated to helping students “build a life of vitality, purpose, resilience, and engagement.” (

In addition to the resources listed above, we offer many other opportunities to engage, support and inspire students. I encourage you to review the University Life website at for information about our units and services.

Please feel free to connect with me for any questions or concerns at and 703-993-2884. Thank you for the opportunity to serve your students.

In Patriot Pride,
Juliet Blank-Godlove
Dean of Students

Mason Family Flash

Help your student prepare for spring course registration

It’s that time again! Registration for the Spring 2019 semester opens Tuesday, November 6. The schedule of registration times is as follows:

November 8: Seniors
November 12: Juniors
November 14: Sophomores
November 16: Freshmen

Encourage your student to visit Patriot Web to verify their registration time and check for any holds that may prevent registration.

If your student has not yet done so, suggest they meet with their academic advisor to review courses for Spring 2019. They can find the location of their academic advisor by visiting

Student-athletes should have received a course registration form from either their coach or athletic academic coordinator that requires a signature from their academic advisor. Your student is strongly encouraged to meet with their advisor as soon as they receive the form. The longer your student waits to meet with their academic advisor, the less likely they will get the necessary paperwork completed by any related deadline due to the high volume of academic advising for all undergraduate students.

If your student receives an unsatisfactory grade during the fall semester, they can repeat the course. Some courses allow a limited number of attempts, and if that is the case, it will be stated in the course description in the catalog at All attempts will remain on the transcript as part of your student’s official record. However, once repeated, the grade earned in the most recent attempt at the class will be the one factored into your student’s overall GPA. Any previous grades for that course will be excluded from the GPA calculation.

For additional advising resources for your student, visit or contact the Center for Academic Advising, Retention, and Transitions at (703) 993-2470. For a step-by-step registration guide, encourage your student to visit

Jonathan May
Associate Director
Center for Academic Advising, Retention, and Transitions

Mason Family Flash

Stress less for success: Find balance during midterms

As we enter October, many students are just now adjusting to their new schedule and college life at Mason. However, the beginning of October can prove to be a challenging time for students as they prepare for mid-semester exams.

Midterm season is a time when students often experience high levels of stress that can, at times, affect their physical and emotional well-being. From studying for exams to writing papers, all in the span of one week, it is common for students to undergo noticeable changes in their behavior as they work to meet their academic demands.

Whether this is your student’s first experience preparing for midterm exams or nearly their last, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is here to provide you with ways to support your student achieve their highest level of emotional and physical well-being while conquering midterms.

Self-care tips:
Students may neglect or forget to take care of themselves during midterm season. In order to make more time for studying and completing writing assignments, students have been known to pull all-nighters, give up their favorite hobbies, and even reduce social activities.

During this time, it is important for students to be reminded of their health and make time to treat themselves. Below are a few examples of activities students can engage in to help improve their emotional and physical well-being during midterms:

  • Intentionally schedule “me time”
  • Exercise to increase endorphins by naturally releasing tension and stress
  • Share a deep, belly laugh with others to lift their mood and strengthen their immune system
  • Remember to eat well-balanced meals on a regular schedule
  • Be sure to obtain at least 7-8 hours of sleep daily
  • Create opportunities to connect either by phone or in-person with loved ones and friends
  • Practice yoga, meditation, or prayer
  • Learn breathing exercises focused to increase relaxation
  • Reconnect with their inner child—find a coloring book or draw
  • Write in a journal

Warning signs of too much stress:
While it is normal for students to express feeling slightly more stressed or anxious during midterm season, CAPS understands that this time of year may cause some students to experience significant distress, causing their friends and family to feel concerned for them. Here is a list of common warning signs to look out for with your student:

  • Drastic changes in personal hygiene
  • Depression or lack of energy
  • Significant nervousness, agitation or irritability
  • Withdrawal, indecisiveness and/or confusion
  • Aggressive or abrasive behavior
  • Pattern of infrequent class attendance and/or little to no work completed
  • Written or verbal comments about wanting to harm themselves or other

How to support your student in distress:
Whether your student lives at home or is several thousands of miles away, you are not alone in supporting your student who may be experiencing significant emotional or psychological distress. Mason provides a number of resources to ensure your student receives the help they need.

If you feel there is immediate danger, call Mason Police promptly at either 9-1-1 (when on campus) or (703) 993-2810. If you do not feel your student’s concerns rise to the level of an emergency, contact the Student Support and Advocacy Center during business hours at (703) 993-3686.

CAPS is also available during business hours via phone at (703) 993-2380 to consult during a difficult situation. CAPS can address questions or concerns you have about your student’s well-being, including providing information on where to obtain assistance and guidance about how to help your student get the support they need. Note: CAPS is not able to initiate contact with students who are not active clients who have signed a release of information.

All Mason students actively registered for classes are eligible for services at CAPS, which are free and confidential. Students may call (703) 993-2380 to make an appointment for a consultation and/or mental health services.

Mason parents and families, thank you for being an integral part of Mason Nation! For more information about services offered at CAPS and how to provide support to your student during times of peak stress, visit

Brandon Cantrell
Graduate Assistant
Learning Services

Mason Family Flash

Preparing for your student’s Thanksgiving transportation

This year, Thanksgiving recess will take place November 21-25. While this is an exciting time to spend with friends and family, we understand that dealing with traffic on the trip home can detract from your student’s excitement. Mason Transportation outlines a number of affordable options below to help your student make the trip.

Buses from Mason to Regional Cities
Mason offers affordable transportation to regional cities for the Thanksgiving holiday. Destinations include Christiansburg, Hampton, Norfolk, Virginia Beach , and Richmond in Virginia, as well as Philadelphia and New York. Buses and shuttles will leave on Tuesday, November 20 and Wednesday, November 21 to regional cities and return on Sunday, November 25. For a complete list of destinations, departure times, and pickup locations, please visit in mid- to late October and look for the link titled 2018 Thanksgiving Regional Transportation Schedule.

Ridesharing with Zimride
Ridesharing is a great and affordable way to travel home for breaks. Zimride is the university’s free rideshare network for students, staff and faculty. Your student can sign up with their Mason NetID to find others in the area with whom to carpool and save money on gas.

Burke Centre VRE and AMTRAK
Mason’s Burke Centre VRE shuttle travels from the Fairfax campus to the Burke train station, and students can take a connecting AMTRAK or VRE train from there. Burke is on the VRE Manassas line.

Area Airports
Area airports are accessible via public transportation, Super Shuttle, Uber/Lyft, or Taxi.  For details on public transportation access, please visit our Airport Transportation page.

Union Station (DC)
Union Station is a hub for Amtrak and some regional bus services.  It is available via Metro; students can take the Mason Shuttle or CUE Bus to Vienna (orange line), transfer at Metro Center to get on the red line and get off at Union Station. For information on ground transportation from Union Station, please visit Union Station Ground Transportation.

For more information about Thanksgiving transportation, please visit or call (703) 993-2828. You can also connect with Mason Parking and Transportation via social media.



Janet Walker
Programs Manager
Transportation and Parking Services