Attending college has become synonymous with the word stress. Most people you ask about their college experience will speak of some sort of stress they experienced through coursework, peer pressures, time management, or finances. It is easy to dismiss one’s overwhelming stress as just that, simple stress, rather than addressing anxiety that might be impairing daily functioning. In this blog, we are going to explore how anxiety affects college students.
The Anxiety That Comes With College
As a student, you may have found this blog by searching for symptoms of anxiety… You may be reading others’ stories to see if you’re “normal” and trying to decide if you’re overreacting. The thing is, everyone experiences and reacts to anxiety differently. One person may have overwhelming test anxiety but love meeting new friends, and one may be comfortable with tests but have debilitating social anxiety. Stress and anxiety are extremely common with the transition to college. In fact, Harvard Health Publishing reports that 63% of college students in the US felt overwhelming anxiety, and 23% reported being diagnosed or treated by a mental health professional for anxiety.
For Students – How To Cope With Anxiety In College
Remember, it is perfectly normal to feel not so great due to this new and overwhelming change. There are many ways to learn to cope with anxiety and find support and professional help including:
- Utilize Your School’s Mental Health Services: Most campuses offer the ability to connect with a counselor right on campus.
- Avoid Procrastination: Procrastinating and avoiding tasks can make your anxiety worse. To prevent procrastination, try reaching out to your professor or classmates if you need help and scheduling time for study and for rest.
- Practice Self-Care: Self-care doesn’t have to consist of big things. Try simple steps like practicing a healthy diet, getting regular sleep, and limiting caffeine and alcohol.
When Should I Seek Professional Help?
Anxiety affects everyone differently. Simply feeling stressed and wanting to speak with someone about what you are experiencing is enough of a reason to seek help from a counselor!
If your anxiety begins to interfere with your relationships, academic performance, or your ability to function daily, we encourage you to seek the help of a licensed professional. A counselor will be able to help you understand what you are experiencing and find ways to cope.
For Parents – How To Support Your College Student
If you are a parent reading this, you may be looking for advice on how you can best support your college student during a transition that can cause stress and anxiety. A few ways you can provide your child with the support they need are:
- Be An Active Listener: Work to validate how your child feels, rather than dismissing their concerns or blaming them for what they are feeling.
- Encourage Extracurricular Activities
- Support Seeking Help From A Professional
- Be Patient: It may take time for your college student to learn how to cope with how they are feeling. Try to be patient with their progress and avoid placing too much pressure on them or making decisions for them.
The Garrett Counseling team in Huntsville, AL and our other locations are trained in helping college students with the anxiety they are experiencing. Contact us today at (256) 239-5662 or online to get started!
This article was written by Lee Thompson, a mental health counselor at Garrett Counseling in Boaz, AL. Learn more about Lee here.