People. They come in their billions, and there’s no place where you are that you can really get away from interacting with them at some point. When you have social anxiety, the last thing that you want to deal with is people in their groups, people with their noise and people talking to you and asking you questions that you cannot cope with answering. When it comes to going to college – or applying for it next year – it should be a time of excitement. It’s the time in your life where you get to take on the world just a little bit, learn to be independent and strike out on your own. It’s wonderful in so many ways, but if you suffer from social anxiety, college is something to fear.
If you’re naturally an introvert and you keep yourself to yourself, the idea of being thrust into the one of the most social environments that you can ever be in can feel paralysing. You could be debating not going to college at all just to avoid the social aspect of it. The good news is that you don’t have to quit before you’ve even begun; your education doesn’t need to be put to bed due to your panic when you are in groups of people. There are options when it comes to education, and you can take your degree with Carson-Newman Online to feel comfortable while you study. The one thing that you do need to do, though, is make a choice. Your whole life may be depending on you to get your degree – well, your career choice definitely does! If you still want to try to have that valuable college experience and try to break the routine of the social anxiety that cripples you, then check out the tips below that could change the way that you feel before the big new start:
A Place To Live. You may be picturing yourself sitting in a quiet, off-campus apartment for your college years, but this isn’t going to help you. You need to find a happy medium; no rowdy dorm rooms, no silent solitude. Speak to the college of your choice and find out if there are quieter roommates you could be paired with so that you can ease yourself into the environment slowly and at your pace.
Be Realistic. One thing you need to know about college is that moving too fast could be a bad thing for you. Set yourself small goals; meet someone new, say hello. Study at the library about the new hobbies and societies before committing. You can’t always avoid the parties, but you can decide how you want to approach them. Let’s not forget: you’re the one in control.
Take A Breath. A big part of college is interacting with your tutors and professors. You need to teach yourself to take a breath, slow your thinking and say hello to these people in your life. They are an integral part of your education, and they will understand your fear more than you do right now. They can also take you under their wing and steer you in the right direction.
Create Some Space. There will 100% be moments that you need to take an immediate step away from what you’re doing and remember to fill your lungs with air. Find a place that you can retreat to when you really need to and don’t be afraid to use that space.
Stay Away From Crutches. We’re not talking the kind you need when fall down and hurt your leg. We’re talking alcohol and drugs. Both are rife in college, but the Just Say No campaigns are right: just say no. Enough research shows between social anxiety and drinking, but if you can understand how alcohol could be a bad thing to rely on while you’re anxious, you can learn to stay away from it.
Make A Friend. You are not obliged to be a part of a huge group of people. However, for your own sake and your future, you should think about getting to know at least one person you can grow confident talking to and make a friend. You can be open with one person about your anxieties and learn to expand your social network this way.
College is supposed to be a time of growth and change; and you can learn to manage your triggers and keep the education you so desperately want without allowing your anxiety to overtake you. You are in control – don’t forget that.