Mason Family Flash

Stress less for success: Finding balance during midterms

As we enter October, many students are just now adjusting to their new schedule and 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 experience heightened levels of stress that have the potential to affect their physical and mental well-being. From studying for exams and writing multiple 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 time preparing for midterms or nearly their last, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is here to provide you with tips on how to support your student achieve their highest level of emotional and physical well-being while conquering their midterm exams.

Self-Care Tips:
During this time, students have been known to pull all-nighters, give up their favorite hobbies, and even reduce social activities just to make more time for studying. Your student may neglect or forget to take care of themselves, so it is important for students to be reminded of their health and to make time to enjoy themselves. Below are a few tips students can implement into their schedule to help improve their well-being while preparing for exams:

  • Intentionally schedule “me time”
  • Exercise to increase endorphins by naturally releasing tension and stress
  • Eat well-balanced meals on a regular schedule
  • Obtain at least 7-8 hours of sleep daily
  • Create opportunities to connect either by phone or in-person with loved ones and friends
  • Share a deep, belly laugh with others to lift their mood and strengthen their immune system
  • 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 common 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 levels of 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 others

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, such as providing information on where to obtain assistance and guidance about how to help your student obtain support. 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 learn about available mental health services.

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

Brandon Cantrell
Graduate Assistant
Learning Services

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