Ahhh, the first day of school. For some of us, it’s a return to the old routine and for others, it’s a new experience, but we all feel the same anxiety of college living: Will I get along with my roommates? Will I be able to succeed academically? How will I make new friends?
Often times, the anxiety can be detrimental to your mental health, so I personally follow three tips in order to manage my nerves for college.
1. Share your worries with someone who has your best interests in mind.
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s a lot more difficult than you think. I personally internalize all my problems since I hate looking weak and incapable, but that’s not a healthy habit. You’re not weak at all for wanting and needing support.
It’s important to talk to somebody that will treat you with respect and give you healthy advice. What exactly is healthy advice? Advice that will better you as a person.
While it’s always nice to have someone commiserate with you, it’s more helpful and productive when you receive positive advice and encouragement. Ultimately, you want someone to encourage you, not wallow in misery with you. I would recommend talking to a friend who shares similar anxieties and can figure out solutions with you.
2. Make a list of things to do for the first day of college.
Most times when I’m anxious, it’s due to the unknown. My brain screams that there are a million things to do, but by not knowing specifically what, it just runs itself ragged. Having a clear game plan really helps me channel that nervous energy into productivity. Brain, don’t worry, I got this.
There is a special list that I make to tackle anxiety. My list is separated into several sections:
- Things I can do right now.
- Things I can do by the end of the day.
- Things I will try to complete.
- Things I need to accept I have no control over completing.
If your list is just a must-do-today list, you may end up beating yourself up when you’re not able to complete something, which will only worsen your anxiety.
Allow yourself some physical and mental leeway and your tasks will be a lot less stressful and daunting. It’s okay if you don’t finish everything perfectly or on-time. It’s more important to be nice to and reasonable with yourself.
3. Have positive self-talk mantras to repeat when needed.
Positive self-talk is an effective psychological tool in improving your mood and fighting anxiety and depression.
First, identify the type of thoughts you’re having. What are you anxious about? It helps to write them down. Now, imagine your best friend is saying such things about herself. How would you respond? Probably fiercely defend them to death with encouragements! You also deserve this same respect and love.
Write down your counter arguments, which are now your positive self-talk mantras. Avoid self-talk mantras that have uncertain words like “I think,” because we want really strong self-talk mantras that express what a badass you are.
Here are my personal examples:
- I’m scared that I won’t be able to adjust to living with new people: I’m excited to learn how to live around other people’s needs. This would really improve my social skills.
- I’m scared I won’t succeed academically: I have evidence of succeeding academically before, so I know I am capable. If I work hard, I will definitely have good results.
Nobody is confident in 100% of their abilities, appearance, personality, etc., so it’s all about accepting your own special qualities as desirable and positive. We are all wonderfully unique!
Now, it’s important to balance practicality with emotional support. By focusing too much on the practical, you risk creating a strict binary system in which any sort of failure to complete a task is a huge issue.
On the other hand, by focusing too much on the emotional, you may also abandon your real-life responsibilities, which will only make you more anxious. The important thing is moderation. It’s okay to take it slow. College, and life, aren’t a race.
What do you think?
How do you cope with anxiety? Will you be trying any of these techniques? Leave a comment and tell us, and remember to be kind to yourself this new school year!