by Kiera Bell
College students are bombarded daily with a seemingly infinite number of worries. Many students lament, “I have 3 papers due this week, assignments, I’m trying to also balance a social life and have fun. When will I ever have time?” Those seeking their degree find it difficult to balance the demands of education and a healthy social life. Anxiety is a very real and very powerful adversary facing more and more youth, such as myself.
I’ve had to face the fact that anxiety is real. Social anxiety was one of the major things that affected me. For those who don’t know, social anxiety is the fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people, leading to feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, embarrassment, humiliation, and depression.
I always told myself that, “I don’t care what others think” or that “their opinion didn’t matter.” Then I would find myself in a classroom, obsessing and wondering if someone was talking about what I had on or judging me because of an answer I might have given to the class.
I didn’t start to experience social anxiety until I got to college and was introduced to a variety of people from many different places. Being socially awkward was never previously a problem for me because I love to interact with people and have fun. What I hadn’t realized was that it was those underlying feelings of inadequacy and fear of judgment that distressed me the most.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reported that anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health problems on college campuses. 30% of college students reported that stress had negatively affected their academic performance and 24.5% of college students reported they were taking psychotropic medications.
This was my personal experience, yet there are thousands more students who face similar issues, making this a very real concern for college campuses.
Devante Olfus, a senior at Delaware State University, described his struggle with anxiety. “I must say, yes, I’ve experienced plenty of anxiety my four years in college. It really started my freshman year with not knowing anyone and stressing over just the little things. It really began to build as I got older and sometimes I felt like it would over power me in a way. But, I do wish I talked to someone early throughout my years in college. Who knows where I’d be?”
Shanice Johnson, a junior at Delaware State, also says she’s experienced social anxiety.
“Being a psychology major. It’s fascinating to see the things that affect people and how we as humans can help. But when you sit and learn about something that is affecting you, is crazy [sic]. I started to realize that I suffered from social anxiety and it caused me to continually stress everyday about having the right outfit and making sure I looked good. All so people wouldn’t have to judge me or think of me in a negatively light. I then began to realize that this was not healthy and that I needed to make a change, not for people, but for me,” she said.
So many students experience different anxiety disorders every single day. Unless you are aware of the signs, you might not see that many are silently screaming for help.
If you are a student – or even an adult – experiencing anxiety, seek help from a counselor or professional. Make an appointment to begin your journey into a less anxious life.