Attacking Anxiety

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Kristina Wyman's picture
Lee Ann Pelletier

Anxiety: sometimes it hits us at exactly the moment we seem to not need it. An exam, a paper and a presentation. Sure, anxiety in part helps us to understand the importance of the event we are dreading, but it can also overwhelm us.

Sometimes, anxiety is specific. Other times, it haunts us even when there seems to be nothing to fear, so that our actions seem twitchy, our words hesitant and all the while, our minds consumed with tangled fears that do not seem to have an end.

We are waiting. Waiting for what? We don’t know, but somehow something bad is going to happen. Why else do we feel the apprehension?

Having generalized anxiety is like hearing a song play from a room down the hall—you can hear the melody but not the words. The fear is just there, and you do not understand why. Anxiety clings to you like your shadow. It becomes personal. You do not just fear the world; you fear the world because you are in it. Something inside of you will make you mess up somehow, and the fear of worrying more distracts you until you cannot focus.

College can especially cause anxious feelings, or otherwise bring them out. College is demanding. Between hard-to-please professors, sports, group projects, interviews, jobs, volunteering and fights with friends, it seems that a college student barely has time to even feel stressed.

We get trapped in an endless loop of work so that to actually acknowledge how bad our anxiety is would take up too much time. And sometimes anxiety can make us feel that even the work we completed is deficient because it seems tainted with our worries. We did it too quickly, too sloppily, because we could not calm down enough to think straight.

Certainly, not everyone in college has anxiety to this level. However, almost everyone in college at least feels
anxious about their debt. The looming threat of student loans can really induce anxiety in an otherwise carefree day. We become worried that we are not spending our time wisely enough, and we can feel guilty if we do not yet know what career we want.

College is a huge commitment that will impact students for the rest of their lives. However daunting it may sometimes feel, it is important to remember to take a break and focus on yourself for a while. When you get the chance, devote a block of time in your day to just catching up with friends or watching your favorite show. Listen to your favorite band on the way to class. Take a moment to remember that yes, college is stressful, but it is also the time to develop who you are as a person and to make some lasting memories with friends.

Consider stopping by the Student Development and Counseling Center if you feel like you need to talk or if your anxiety interrupts your daily life. College is an especially anxious time, but this does not have to stop you from making the most of it.

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