How to survive anxiety and pass in college

University anxiety: How to survive anxiety and pass in college

It’s almost that time of the year, and by that time, I mean when you’ll finally join a college as a freshman. However, as much as you’re happy, those anxiety emotions are building up inside you, and you can feel them weighing you down.

Joining college, moreso one outside your state brings with it lots of mixed emotions and anxiety.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is typically mixed up emotions that your body uses to try and deal with stressful environments or situations. It is mostly characterized by FEAR.

Having these kinds of emotions is really stressful, and you might get the wrong impression of college life.

Anxiety types:

  • Phobias – excessive fear of something
  • Panic attacks
  • Social anxiety – fear of others judging you
  • Separation anxiety – fear of being away from your loved ones.

You know you have anxiety when you can feel a rapid increase in your breathing and heart rate ( panic attack), restlessness, difficulty falling asleep, and inability to concentrate. You might also experience shortness of breath and dizziness.

Causes of anxiety in college.

Many things in college will trigger and bring anxiety, especially as a freshman. Some of them include:

  • Fear of failure – doubting if you’ll be able to successfully cruise college life and get that impressive GPA.
  • Responsibility – you’re alone in college with no parents, and you’ll have to take care of yourself. Welcome to adulthood.
  • Friendships – afraid you might not gain friends as fast as you’d like in college.
  • Finances – budgeting in college will stress you A LOT, especially with all the things you’d like to buy, and you don’t have enough money. You might find that you need to get some college student jobs.


Having freshman anxiety is pretty normal, and almost EVERYONE has it while joining college. It’s mostly a fear of the unknown. A college is a new place in a new environment that you’ve not experienced before. It’s totally OK to feel worked up about it once in a while.

The uncertainty associated with the what-ifs question is the number one culprit in causing these uncomfortable emotions.

  • What if I don’t make new friends quickly?
  • What if I don’t blend in college with other students?
  • What if I don’t like my college roommate?
  • What if I won’t be able to handle college life?
  • What if my college roommate does not like me?

I could go on and on about the what-ifs, but I’m sure you know what I mean.

I’d like to tell you it is NORMAL to have these emotions. How you deal with them, however, is the real determiner of how your college life as a freshman will be.

You’ll feel a little uncomfortable and out of place (again, college is a new environment), but it will work out.

Ways you can deal with anxiety:

  • Do not worry too much about making friends.

Get this from me, you will not be friends with everyone at college. You will, however, meet up with some people who you’ll form a bond with and help you cruise through your freshman year.  While I was joining college, I was really anxious, and I didn’t know anyone from my school who would join my college. I must admit, I was worried, and I ended up having panic attacks several times en route to college.

However, I managed to get a friend on the first day. How you ask? I had forgotten my phone charger  (facepalm), and I couldn’t imagine having a dead phone. (Check out my dorm essentials to avoid making the same mistake).

So, I gathered just enough confidence and approached a girl who later on became my roommate by some good luck. We formed a connection, and we’ve been friends since.


Managing student anxiety

  • Join clubs and societies.

Joining clubs will help reduce your college anxiety. You’ll meet so many people in these clubs and form new friendships. They’ll bring a sense of community, and you’ll also gain a new family. You can also get your first college friends through clubs. You’ll also find other freshmen who share the same interests with you—double wins.

  • Stay on top of your college work.

You must plan while in college to avoid anxiety.

College is fun with parties, drinking, smoking pot, and other fun activities. However, you need to strike a balance.

I must admit this as the hardest for me, and I had extreme anxiety during my freshman year. Looking back now, I would have easily avoided the stress and bad grades with just PROPER PLANNING.

You have to remember that you are all alone in college. Your parent is not there to remind you when to do your homework when to go to bed when to wake up, plan your day, etc. It’s part of being an adult, train yourself to be a responsible one.

With proper planning, you’ll find that you have time to go out, party, and still have time to read and get a good sleep to rest. Resting is also crucial for maintaining anxiety in college. Here are some productivity tips you should implement.

Dealing with student anxiety

  • Practice self-care.

Please do take care of yourself, I can’t stress this enough. Taking care of yourself will help you with your moods and help you deal and manage stress and anxiety.

By taking care of yourself, I’m referring to: Get proper sleep, eat healthy foods, meditate, exercise consistently.

  • Don’t avoid your stressors.

You need to face what is stressing you. I also made this mistake by skipping classes whenever I felt everything was overwhelming. However, with time, I realized this was a HUGE blunder since I had to work twice as hard to understand concepts from the classes I skipped. Needless to say, my first semester as a freshman was full of stress and anxiety issues.

Looking back, I’d advise you to take small steps towards what is stressing you instead of avoiding it. I didn’t like waking up early for my morning classes, I’d have slowly adjusted my sleeping and waking up time till I manage to keep up with the morning classes.

With proper time management tips, you’ll face your academic giant and slay it.

Dealing with anxiety in your freshman year will require you to get out of your comfort zone. However, if you manage to do it successfully, expect an easier sophomore year.

All the best in your journey.


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