It’s September, meaning that freshmen around the world have either just started University, or are about to do so. I’m not going to lie to you; being a freshman can be really hard, especially if you suffer from anxiety. But as many struggles as you might encounter, your university years really are some of the best of your life, anxiety or not. This post might be a little bit straightforward, but I hope it helps you a bit.
For me, going to university was the first time I had to deal with my anxiety completely on my own, and in many ways, it helped me deal with it a whole lot better. Because I was living alone, there was no one to do my groceries for me when I was feeling too anxious to do so myself, so I was forced to either go or be hungry. It pushed me to new extremes (because for me, on a bad day, going to the grocery store alone is an extreme), and it did wonders. I was still ridiculously anxious going to the store, but I was doing it! The grocery store is just one of many exampleS, and I hope that university helps you with your anxiety as much as it did me. So without further ado, here are my tips:
Try and meet up with people beforehand (in person or online).
- I took the initiative to talk to some people that were doing my course online, before I headed to uni. I did this through a Facebook group that was created for my course, as well as an online communication platform my University offered. The reason I did this was so that I could potentially buddy up with someone to go to all the freshers fairs and events with, and that is exactly what happened. I met the sweetest girl on one of these platforms, and met up with her for coffee on my second day at uni. We hit it off, and went through freshers week together, and even lived together for the next two years. I’m not saying that you need to meet you best friend online before you head to uni, but a “freshers buddy” helps a lot; my anxiety was much less because I didn’t have to go to the talks and events alone.
Join clubs that interest you.
- A lot of universities have countless sports club and societies (mine had over 250, so there was A LOT of choice), and joining some can really help ease you into university life. Meeting up with like minded people makes you feel instantly more comfortable, and for me, it took some of the anxiety out of my first few weeks. Some universities also offer societies for people that struggle with anxiety, or different mental health issues, and they are great for support.
Figure out your uni’s mental health system before going
- I have to say, I didn’t do this, and I regret it. It was only once I was fully immersed in my first term, and handling my anxiety better, that I realized my uni offered free psychologists to all its students, and that scheduling a session was just a click of a button away. I could have really used talking to someone in confidentiality my first few weeks there, but due to my lack of knowledge, I didn’t get the chance. So I suggest doing some research on this beforehand, and always remember; there is no shame is seeking mental health support. Also, for those who are not comfortable meeting and talking to someone in person about their anxiety, research which mental health phone helplines are available instead (for those in the UK, I suggest nightline).
Be confident in yourself
- This is going to sound cheesy, but you are starting a new chapter in your life. Try to see it as a new opportunity to conquer your anxiety, to not let it get you down. You’ve made it this far; you’re at university! That’s a great feat, and you deserve to be proud of yourself. Now keep that momentum going, and keep taking big steps in your life. Anxiety is strong, but so are you, as you have proven to yourself. Head up, shoulders back, and stare your anxiety down.
Do you have any other tips for the anxious university freshman? If so, leave them below!