Attending university is an exciting time of change, new experiences and independence. It may be the first time you live away from home, make your own choices about how you would like to live your life, and take responsibility for yourself. You can choose what subjects you want to learn in depth and start carving a path for yourself in the world. It’s a brilliant, empowering time, but it can also be a very daunting one.
Many students experience anxiety at university. The enormous upheaval of their lives, coupled with being separated from their usual support systems – friends at other schools, parents and family at home – can create a scenario where new students don’t believe they can cope.
But fear not, we have a few simple tips on how to beat anxiety at university that will help you find your way.
Talk to someone
Most universities offer a student counselling service. It’s completely confidential and also free. They’re there to assist you, so let them. Talking to someone can help you to work through your feelings and often it will give your negative thoughts less sway inside your head when you can discuss them with someone impartial. Even speaking with a friend can help; you may be surprised at how many of your new friends will also be struggling with anxiety and glad to talk about it with you.
The overwhelming realisation that you are 100% responsible for yourself is the root of much of the anxiety you’ll experience at university. Turning up to lectures on time and turning in your papers is up to you. Get a handle on your lectures, tutorials, and essays by creating a schedule, and you may feel a lot better. You could use a planner, a bullet journal, or your Gmail calendar. Whatever you choose, setting all your deadlines out clearly so you can see when each requirement is due will give you a sense of calm and focus.
Take care of yourself
Keeping your body healthy is a great strategy to beat anxiety at university. Mental and physical health are connected intimately. You can set yourself up for success by ensuring that you eat a healthy diet, take some light exercise, and get outside in the daylight to soak up some vitamin D. University, partying and staying up all night are often associated but be sure to catch up on that rest, as lack of sleep is a quick way to pump up your anxiety.
Make an appointment with your GP
If things feel out of control and nothing you do is helping to beat anxiety at university, then it’s important to make an appointment to visit your GP. Remember, they’re there to support you, and the NHS offers sessions of free counselling for those who need it. Your health is important, and that includes your mental health, don’t be afraid or embarrassed about asking for medical help.
University should be one of the best times in your life, so don’t let anxiety spoil it for you. Take care of yourself, ask for help when you need it, and avail yourself of the free services available to students.