Social Anxiety & University

Social anxiety can be tough at any stage of your life, you're expected to have a large group of friends  that you hang out with a lot, and can be seen as awkward or shy when in social situations. You're always trying your best but social situations are extremely intimidating and you're constantly worried about what other people might think. Try adding all this to University and you've got yourself a mess right? ... It doesn't have to be that way! There are so many ways of dealing with social anxiety at University that don't include therapy and you really can have the best University experience despite your social anxiety!

Trust me, I've been there. (You can read my anxiety experience here) My first year was really difficult because I barely even recognised that I have anxiety at all, I spent a lot of time alone in my room, and uni wasn't at all what people said it would be.. But now I've learned ways that I can deal with it - some days are still difficult, but we all have bad days. And I hope that you can learn a few helpful tips from this post too, whether you're starting uni in September or you're already in your 3rd year!

PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE 

On my first day of University everyone was stood outside our uni building in different groups, my social anxiety made me want to stand alone, out of the way and not talk to anyone, but I forced myself to join in with a group of girls. Now in my second year I am still friends with a lot of them, and I was introduced to my now best friend by one of them! If I had just stood there alone, there is a quite a high chance that I would be friendless at uni (and who wants that!?) If you don't make an effort with them, they won't make an effort with you. So, even if it is difficult, just stand with that group of people, introduce yourself and then just see where it goes from there. First conversations at uni are generally easy anyway, you can talk about where your hometown is and where you live at uni - You never know, you might meet someone who's hometown is close to yours (then you have loads to talk about!) Just be sure to make so friends who are on your course - so you have people to talk to in lectures and seminar. This will come in handy later on if you need to work with a group for an assignment or if you need someone to proof read your work!

JOIN A SOCIETY

If you have a specific thing that you're interested in, or you think you might love, I highly recommend joining a club or society. At university, there's pretty much a club for everything, trust me! And the best way to find out all the information is to go to your Freshers Fayre. Whether it's cheerleading, chess club, hiking club or hockey, joining a club will help you to meet new people who share your interests - and you already have so much to talk about! Societies also tend to hold nights out that are less about drinking and more about socialising, so if you're up for meeting new people that way I highly recommend it! 

FIND SUPPORTING FRIENDS

Once you have spent a bit of time and built trust with these friends (or even with one of the friends) it's important to talk to them about your anxiety and gain their understanding. If you aren't comfortable with this yet, you don't have to - it can take time to build that sort of trust with someone. Having an understanding friend just makes things easier to explain when you're having a bad day and don't feel like going out. And, if these friends are still not understanding, or fail to take your anxiety seriously (trust me, this happens far to often - *sigh*) then they aren't true friends and they will only make your social anxiety worse - these people are not worth your time! It's so important to have friends who will support you and who you can confide in when times get tough - so be sure they are truly there for you.

JUST SAY YES

Although your social anxiety can sometimes make you want to just sit up in your room with Netflix it's so important to say yes to as many social situations as possible. Lets be honest, socialising is never going to kill you, and when you finally get home at the end of the day you will feel so good about yourself - and also realise that is wasn't as bad as you made it out to be! Saying yes will not only help you to feel better within yourself but will also help you to have a stronger bond with your friends. Night's out are a good place to start, although I don't condone excessive drinking (!!) alcohol can really help to take the edge off and can help you to meet new people and get yourself out there! Even if you don't drink, I highly recommend clubs - you can still have fun by having a boogie and the loud music means you don't even need to talk to anyone, if you don't want to!! Also, be sure to go to all the important social events like Freshers Fayre - you don't want to miss out on all those freebies! (Free pizza was what got me to go - honestly!)

DOWN TIME IS IMPORTANT

However, it is important to give yourself a little time off. University isn't all about getting drunk and meeting new people, there are times where we all want to spend time alone, and that's perfectly fine! We all need a little down time in our pyjamas with Netflix - most importantly not talking to anyone!! Social situations can be stressful, so give yourself a break! Down time doesn't always have to be alone either, invite your best friend over for a pamper session and have a proper relax! 

TALK TO YOUR TUTOR

In terms of social anxiety during lectures and seminars it's so important to talk to your tutor if you're ever struggling! Don't struggle alone, because that's really not a good way to live! You're tutor is not only there to help you out with your work but also with your health - so be sure to confide in them! And don't worry, they talk to people who are struggling every single day, so don't feel alone. Obviously they don't have the secret cure to stop your anxiety (although that would be pretty cool!) but they can give you helpful tips and advice, they may be able to give extra support for things like presentations if you ever need it and it can sometimes be nice to just have an extra pair of eyes looking out for you to make sure you are doing okay! 

I hope you found these tips helpful - if you have any other tips that you'd like to share, be sure to let me know in the comments! And if you ever need to chat about anything (anxiety related, or not!) please don't hesitate to contact me on twitter (@jemmasimplelife) I would love to have a chat or give out some advice! x





14 comments :

  1. These are amazing tips! Really amazing and true! I have awful anxiety and I get so worked up over nothing. I will try these out so thanks!
    Fix Me In Forty Five - A Beauty & Lifestyle Blog
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    xx

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    1. I'm glad you like them! :) I hope you find them as helpful as I do! x

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  2. Love this post, Jemma! I have social anxiety and am about to go to university next year. I feel so anxious about it! I swear, I am more terrified than excited to go there. Hopefully, with your tips and my inner strength that I hope I still have, I will make it :)

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

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    1. Thanks lovely! :) Congratulations on getting into uni! Trust me, you'll have so much fun :) Always remember that I'm here if you ever need a chat! :) xx

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  3. Social anxiety is something really difficult to overcome!
    Great advices jemma! :)

    p.s: I'm a psychologist! ;)

    xx

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    1. Hahah! I'm glad you like it - great to hear that from a psychologist! x

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  4. These are so important! I let my anxiety get in the way and ended up not really joining any societies until third year. It's so important to have a whole range of friends at uni otherwise it can be really isolating which will only make your anxiety worse.

    Steph - http://nourishmeclean.blogspot.com

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    1. That was exactly what I did in my first year and it wasn't a fun experience at all! So I completely agree with you there - glad you got out of your slump!! x

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  5. I suffer from anxiety and actually I'm starting university in a few weeks so I'm pretty scared. Thank you so much for doing this! I'll remind myself of all these points when i start.

    www.blossomikebana.com

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    1. Congratulations on getting into uni! Just follow these tips and you'll have a great time - trust me! If you ever need to have a chat you can find me on twitter :)

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  6. You don't understand how much I needed this post. I'm painfully shy, especially in front of new faces and now that I've just started university there are so many new people everywhere. I agree, sometimes saying yes to sensible things is a good way to open up the barriers.

    Sally ~ DiagonSally

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    1. I'm really glad you found this post helpful :) I know how difficult it can be - I was (and still sometimes am that really shy person!) But its important to remember that in the beginning everyone is shy and nervous and everyone basically just wants to make friends! :) x I'm always around if you need a chat lovely! x

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  7. I love the photo you added at the top. I thought my anxiety was terrible, until I got the chance to study abroad last year and I did as you said and got myself out there and met a lot of people and I realized how I'm way stronger than my anxiety. Although now that I'm back home, I've lost all my progress...

    Be | lovefrombe

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    1. Wow, I'm so happy that you were able to pull through and show yourself how strong you can really be! I guess that proves that a change of scenery can really help you and like you said, getting yourself out there is really the best way to deal with the anxiety! I hope these tips are helpful to you, now that you're back home - also, I'm always around if you need a chat :) x

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