Dear Therapist: How do I overcome my anxiety for starting university

Published: Thu 17 Mar 2022, 3:27 PM

As a new student, I am very anxious about joining university. How do I calm my nerves and feel more confident in my own skin as I start on this new journey? — Lara S.

By Prateeksha Shetty

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Dear Lara, your anxiety regarding transitioning to University is quite normal. It is after all, a beginning of new phase of life! You can start with listing out what makes you anxious about university. Typically, you might be concerned about making friendships, liking University and classes or the change in structure; even enhanced freedom may provoke anxiety in some. Enlisting this will help you analyse themes of worries, certainty, control, deficiencies, which would help you arrive at solutions.

In your case, I recommend a balanced plan and a go-with-the-flow attitude to calm your nerves. For instance, building a routine or problem solving might help you orient yourself to the transition and expectations on you. At other times, you may need to actually start university to gauge the ways you can establish relationships or your mark. Finding out resources and clubs within the campus can also help you feel in control. Additionally, if changes in general make you anxious, you may need to learn meditation or relaxation exercises to help you in initial days of University. In scenarios like these, it is important to recognise that we can control some aspects of transitions but not all. Equally important is the awareness that sometimes, despite all the planning, things in reality may not match what we had in mind.

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