Your student has more than a month of classes behind them, and they may be experiencing what can sometimes prove to be a very stressful time. Midterm season can include studying for many exams and writing papers—some of which may have deadlines or test dates scheduled within the span of a few short days.
No matter whether this is your student’s first experience with midterm exams or nearly their last (in which case, congratulations to your almost graduate!), Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) wants to provide you with ways to support your student in achieving their highest level of emotional and physical well-being as they conquer midterms!
Oftentimes during midterm season, students may forget or neglect to take care of themselves. They attempt to pull all-nighters or give up their favorite hobbies and social activities to make “more time” for studying or completing writing assignments. Please remind your beloved student to treat themselves! Below are a few examples of activities your student can engage in to help improve their emotional and physical well-being during midterms:
• Intentionally schedule “me time”
• Exercise to increase endorphins and release tension and stress
• Share a deep, belly laugh with others to lift their mood and strengthen their immune system
• Remember to eat regularly scheduled and well-balanced meals
• Be consistent in obtaining at least 7-8 hours of sleep daily
• Create opportunities to connect either by phone or in-person with loved ones and friends
• Do yoga, meditate or pray
• Learn and practice breathing exercises to increase relaxation
• Reconnect with their inner child—find a coloring book
• Write in a journal
Warning signs of too much stress:
Some students may express feeling slightly more stressed or anxious during midterm season—which can be normal. However, CAPS understands that this time of year may cause some students to experience significant distress that will cause their families and friends to feel very concerned for them. Below is a list of common warning signs that you can 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 others
How to support your student in distress:
Whether your student lives at home or your family’s home is several thousand 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 approach your student to help them 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 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 caps.gmu.edu.
Ciera V. Scott, PhD
Multicultural Services & Community Education Coordinator
Counseling and Psychological Services