Our college years are supposed to be the best years of our life, but it is not like that for everyone.
Going to college is something many of us look forward to. To finally have all that freedom, study something we are actually interested in and make loads of awesome new friends. It’s the fresh start that we have been waiting for.
What people don’t tell you is how hard the transition can be. Many of us can feel homesick, disconnected from our support networks, overwhelmed by difficult classes, huge campuses and loneliness. These feelings are normal too.
Going through a big transition like starting college, moving into another year or even graduating can make us feel anxious. There are so many new changes and challenges to deal with being thrown at us all the time. It can be really overwhelming.
One of the best things we can do to prevent and manage anxiety is to stay connected with our support networks. It’s OK to talk to our friends and family about how we are struggling. Even laying it all out there can help us organise our thoughts and come up with solutions and strategies. You’d be surprised how many people can relate to what you are going through.
Getting connected on campus is a must too. For many of us, the last time we made friends was in primary school and it can be a big shock how much trickier it can be as adults. Although it can take more time to form meaningful relationships in college, it really is worth the effort. Joining a club or society can be a really good starting point for feeling more connected. It can be a bit daunting, especially if you are feeling anxious but just remember everyone else is there for the same reason and is probably a bit anxious too.
Academic work, of course, is one of the major causes of anxiety in college life. It’s important to set up a routine of studying throughout the academic year so you don’t get overwhelmed trying to cram. If you are struggling with course content, talk to your lecturer, tutor or student’s union and see if you can get some extra support. Set yourself up for success.
When we are feeling anxious or down it can be easy to forget that our mental health, just like our physical health needs to be taken care of. Are you eating healthily? Sleeping enough? Doing some kind of physical activity? All of these things impact our mental health as much as our physical health.
It’s also important to learn what kinds of self-care work for you when you are feeling anxious. Yoga? Cleaning your room? A bubble bath? Or maybe hitting the gym? Everyone is different, so it’s important to try new things and learn what helps you.
Feeling anxious from time-to-time is something we all experience, especially when going through a big transition but, if you are feeling anxious to the extent that it is negatively impacting your life then it’s time to get a little extra support. Feelings of anxiety shouldn’t be stopping you from having the kind of life you want and they don’t have to. There are lots of supports for college students depending on what you are comfortable with. Please Talk has a directory of supports available in each college and there are services like Turn2me that provide support online. You don’t have to wait until you are at rock bottom to reach out, you deserve to be happy now!
For more information on anxiety and getting through tough times visit ReachOut.com