How to “DeStress” during Finals Week at Mason

(College Cures)

Taylor Wichtendahl, Staff Writer

It’s that time of year — stress is so high on campus that you can feel it in the air. Finals season is here, and Mason is prepared to help us handle the stress.

This semester’s annual DeStress Fest, which is hosted by several Mason offices, is already underway.

Shelby Waugh, graduate assistant for programming at the Office of Student Involvement (OSI), has been busy putting together events. “[Mason offers these events to] provide students with a way to relax and manage the stress that comes with this time of the year,” Waugh said.

Waugh is involved in the planning and coordination of the events. One benefit of DeStress Fest is the Late Night Snack Carts offered by Student Government. The carts, which will offer free snacks to students who are studying, will be set up around the Johnson Center, Fenwick Library and the Ridge Monday through Thursday, from 9 p.m until the snacks are gone.

Nathan Pittman, a sophomore majoring in government and international politics and the chair of the University Life Committee in Student Government, says the carts will offer a wide array of snacks, including “full-sized candy bars, bags of chips, pop-tarts, granola bars, Vitamin Water, regular water, and much more.”

Other opportunities for students to take advantage of this week are listed on OSI’s website, Events include origami art therapy, coloring activities, yoga and Pilates, open mic nights, a burritos and board games event and meditation. These free opportunities are offered for the next two weeks for Mason students.

Students can also take advantage of other resources on campus, such as Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). This resource is available for students to help manage stress during these last two weeks and can be reached by calling (703) 993-2380. Students can also visit CAPS’ webpage on stress,, which offers a variety of tips for getting through finals.

“This is a stressful time of year,” Dr. Jennifer Ritterhouse, associate professor of history and the director of Undergraduate Studies, said. “Remember that your departmental advisor can help you get connected with campus services to help you get through it … The first step is for you to let us know what’s going on.”

The Office of Student Support also has a lot of resources for students. Going to their website at will give students an idea of what is available for them on- and off- campus.

Mason has also pointed out that Mohammad Baig, a local therapist and Mason alum, is offering free consultations for Mason students. His website is This is the best place to reach him and schedule a consultation.

Mason Recreation is also participating in DeStress Fest by hosting an event called the 12 Days of Fitness, which started November 30. All Gold Access classes at the gyms on campus will be offered for free to any students. Individuals who already have a Gold membership who attend a class during the coming days can enter to win a variety of prizes, including Mason gear, personal training sessions and even outdoor adventures activities. More information can be found on the event’s webpage,

Students will be doing a lot of studying in the coming days, and Mason has added another study space. The Off-Campus 24-hour Study Lounge will be open from December 14 at 12 p.m. until December 21 at 12 p.m. Sponsored by the Office of Off-Campus Student Programs and Services, the lounge will be set up at George’s Restaurant in the Johnson Center.

“We hope that these events help [students] relax and get through the stress weeks of school,” Waugh said, “If [students] have any suggestions for the future or comments about the events … please let us know, we want to make these events as useful and relaxing for the students as possible.”