Anxiety is defined as, “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome”. So, anxiety can be worrying about an upcoming date or worrying worry about some type social gathering or even being impatient about waiting for a grade. Anxiety of this sort is normal.
However, too much anxiety can make it difficult to function on a day to day basis. This leads to anxiety disorders. Forty million U.S adult suffer from an anxiety disorder and 75% of them will experience their first episode of extreme anxiety by the age of 22, (ADAA, 2015). Prime college age. It can be so difficult for college students to try and keep up their grades, socialize, make time for family, take time to do things for themselves, and of course get the required 8 hours of sleep. It’s no wonder so many college students experience anxiety.
In 2015, 30% of college students had reported that stress and anxiety had negatively affected their academic performance, (ADAA, 2015). Anxiety is a growing concern on college campuses and I believe it needs to be further addressed. It had impacts on academic performance, on attendance, social lives and it can even be a factor in students dropping out of school. Trying to do so much and do it all well can be difficult for anyone. However, coupling all of this with a young adult who is still trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives… This can lead to huge issues in the present and in the future.
So, where does that leave students who face these anxiety issues? Is anxiety really a college nightmare? It doesn’t have to be. Anxiety is something that we need in our lives. It is what drives us to do better, to study harder. It is what alerts us to potentially harmful situations. Anxiety is not strictly negative, in healthy amounts. It is when we have too much that we become anxious about everything and eventually may start to feel hopeless, like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. But there is. Anxiety may not be a thing that we can ever full get rid of, but it is something we can learn to manage and cope with. There are many resources and/or tools to help with the feelings of anxiety, some you man not even know about:
- The most basic, talk to someone you trust. Talk to family, friends, an RA, a professor, or a counselor on campus. Sometimes just talking about all the stressors you are experiencing can help lessen the anxiety.
- Take some time for yourself. Designate a few minutes or more to just sitting down, taking some deep breaths and remembering that you are not defined by your anxiety.
- Don’t get overwhelmed. Yeah, I know, easier said than done but it’s true. Make lists, set goals, let other people help you. All of these are things that could ease the stress and therefore ease the anxiety.
- Be open to help. Your friends, professors, counselors, all the people around you want you to succeed and be healthy while doing it. If someone offers you help, don’t be too proud to take it. And don’t be scared to ask for help. I know tt can be scary to admit that you need it, but you will be glad that you did.
As a college student who struggles with anxiety myself I know how tough it can be to do these things. Or even to get out of bed and go to class some days. But it does get better! Once you learn to cope with your anxiety you may even, like me, soon be able to use it as a force of good. Remember there is always someone or something you can do to take that anxiety nightmare and wake up from it.