Skip to main

Dean’s Blog: Turn over a new leaf

Dean Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm

Welcome back. With 2021 behind us, it’s time to take stock of our goals and what we, and our students and partners, want to accomplish. George Mason University presents many opportunities to be safe, to grow, to recharge, and to collaborate.

Be safe: I’m grateful for the many COVID-19 prevention mechanisms our university has in place. From on- demand COVID testing, vaccines, and boosters, to a supportive environment if someone you should know is affected by it. Remember, we’ve still got your back!

Time to grow: What’s on your list to accomplish this semester? Do you want to land that big grant? Whether you start to share your science on social media or perhaps even get paid to take science communications training, we’ve got resources to help you achieve your goal.

As we start the new semester, I’m hoping we each can ‘turn over a new leaf.’ And I’m not just referring to Mason’s amazing arboretum. Back in the 16th century, people referred to pages in a book as leaves. So, this idiom ‘turn over a new leaf’ signified that one was turning to the next or a blank page in the book. Over time, it has come to be used to describe a new stage in life or a behavior change, to rebuild, to improve or regenerate.

It’s not just about trying something new. It’s about elevating the way we do what we do.

Once we each put measures in place to be safe and set our ambitions semester goals, we need to look inward at how we recharge ourselves. Whether it’s bike riding (even in the cold, it makes me feel refreshed and alive) or checking out a session from Mason’s Center for Wellbeing, we need to take time for self-care for our science community to truly thrive. Not sure where to start? Take part in one of the free, hybrid Mindful Mason Moments sessions offered each weekday at noon. Step out of your comfort zone. Being and living well really matters.

When it comes to collaborations, our college has numerous opportunities to engage. Within and across our numerous departments and community and federal partners, there are many ways to build relationships to further your science and outreach efforts. Perhaps this semester, you might change a habit that is holding you back. Or you might attend that interesting event on campus to meet new faculty and staff. Perhaps you could volunteer to present a session or serve on a panel within your field’s regional or national association. Share your science and build connections. This too can be very energizing and validating.

The leaves of spring will soon emerge on campus to remind you of your goal. It takes time and effort to turn a new leaf, but you’re worth it.