At some point in our lives, we’ve had to leave behind a familiar chapter and start a new one. There are many feelings that come along with a drastic change, such as nostalgia and fear of the unknown. However, there are a few negative feelings that can plague any fresh experience; chiefly anxiety. The transition from school to college can be one such anxiety-driven point.
For me, this happened a few years ago, when school ended and I moved to college. It was much more stressful than I had anticipated.
I loved my school life. Moreover, I was a good student, I got good grades and even though I was an introvert, I had a lot of friends. So, when I moved to college, I had similar expectations, but things didn’t go as planned. It felt like I had stepped into a foreign land with a sea of unknown faces. A million more questions ran through my mind.
- What am I supposed to do?
- Who am I supposed to talk to?
- What is going on in class?
- Why am I not doing any extracurricular?
- Should I do an internship?
While I struggled, it felt like everyone else was breezing through. Unfortunately, not only the social aspect but also academics seemed to scare me as well. Everyone seemed smarter. In addition, they seemed to know EVERYTHING. A voice in my head always told me “You don’t belong here” or “You are not good enough”. I started to doubt myself, my abilities, and the fate of my life.
It took me a while to realize the factor that caused me to feel so negatively. What crippled through my veins every time I thought about college? It was ANXIETY.
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. It’s a feeling of fear or apprehension about what’s to come. In conclusion, all the feelings of self-doubt, nervousness, and stress that I had been feeling were anxiety.
How to Cope with Anxiety?
Acknowledge the Anxiety
Know that it is fine to feel this way when a big change happens in your life, and what seems like the end of the world right now, won’t matter to you later.
Connect with Peers
Regardless of what it seems like, most people are feeling the same way that you are. Talk to your friends about the areas you are struggling with. What you will find is that most people also struggled the way you did, you just didn’t see it.
Recognize your Triggers
Identify the things that cause you to feel anxious. Next, break them down to find the cause of it. Finally, try working on it despite what others think. For instance, if getting bad grades affects your mental well being, then study for the grades you want. Do not fall into the spiral of “no one studies in college.” Try doing what feels the best for you.
Do things at your own pace and do not base your decisions on what others do. Even if everyone seems 10 steps ahead of you, do not try to jump ahead. Instead, take 1 step at a time. Life is not a race, it’s okay to take breaks, and its okay to not be productive 24×7.
Your career is important but so is your mental health. What may seem drastic today might not matter to you tomorrow, but the trauma it causes might last. Most importantly, nothing that comes at the cost of your happiness is worth stressing over.
“Anxiety’s like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you very far.”Jodi Picoult