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Readers Respond: How is social anxiety affecting your college experience?

Responses: 79


Updated July 10, 2012

If you suffer with social anxiety disorder, everything about college can be difficult. Making new friends, living away from home for the first time, and speaking up in class can all be intimidating. How is social anxiety affecting your college experience? Share Your Experiences

I can't do this anymore

I have no friends here. I have nothing. I always assume everyone is talking about me. I feel sad all of the time. I'm worried about my future. I want to have best friends, and date, and have kids someday. But, I'm terrible at life so that will never happen.
—Guest j

UTAS Student

I started university in Tasmania Australia this year (2013) and I suffer from a high level of social anxiety. I started this year doing the preparation course that was offered and the first few days were very hard as this was the first time I had been in a uni academic environment. The one thing that I found to help a lot was to sit right up the front of the lectures and tutorials as I suffer from slight hearing loss and most everyone would sit behind me so I would forget about them and focus for 1 -2 hours on the Prof. But the biggest challenge by far was study skills as we had to do a lot of group work and one of the assignments was an oral presentation. A few times I almost and did twice, walking out of the room in the middle of a lecture as I could not breath. I did manage to do the presentation with a lot of help from the prof's and students that I got to know. I don't know how I did it but I manage to get a High Distinction on the presentation and will return next year for BICT
—Guest Jason Barber


I'm a 20 year old Junior at a Texas university. This is the start of my second year at this college and so far nothing has change from last in that I really don't have any friends I can hang out or talk to on a regular basis. Last year started off great because I had a girl friend during the first semester but after we broke up towards the end, I had nobody to help fill that empty void. Ever since then my college experience has been pretty lonesome. Most of the time I just stay in my room and either sleep or watch T.V. because I have nobody there when I want to do something or just hang out.I do ask people if they want to hang, catch a movie or go out to eat but usually they were either too busy or basically blew me off. It got so bad at one point that my grades began to suffer because I spiraled into a deep depression. Well, this is the start of a new year and so far I'm getting the same results but I'm trying to be optimistic that hopefully I can manage to make a few friends.
—Guest The Shy Guy

First Day

Today was going to be my first day at a big university. I moved home my second semester of my freshman year, because I could not handle it. I've commuted to community college for a year and a half. I am now a Junior, with no idea of my future. This morning I woke up in a panic and I feel pathetic knowing that I will never be able to completely change the way I am. I have a great group of friends and a very supportive family. I can't help but wonder what is so wrong with me that I just can't fight this anxiety. Is it the confusion of my major? The though of choosing a destination? I don't know, and I'm terrified of not figuring it out. I just want to feel confident in something, hopefully myself.
—Guest stuck.

Ignorance is bliss.. (Male, UK)

First off, I feel relieved that other people are going through what I am, but also deeply saddened as I wouldn't wish it upon anybody in the world. Throughout my high school years I knew I was quite shy, but it never got in my way. I was very happy with who I was and day to day life was fine. I enjoyed going out in public and actually thought of myself to be quite attractive, but I gradually started to think the total opposite, I don't know what it was that triggered it, but I over-analyze situations constantly now, even when walking down the street I over-think everything making me very nervous, and this has effected my grades to the point where I dropped an english class just because I had to do a presentation. So now at 18 years of age, with no foreseeable future. I ask myself, is it better to be totally delusional of yourself as a person, or to be too critical? I know which I would prefer. Ignorance is just what I need right now.
—Guest 94c

Anxiety is killing me. Killing my dreams

It has been 3 days now since I've been to Australia to start my degree in communication. I have attended one lecture and one tutorial for now and each one of them was terrifying for me. I started to have mini panic attacks before entering the classes. I am one of the only international students so I don't quite fit in and I always feel like all the others are judging me as I feel awkward and I don't talk much...During the group presentations on the first day, I was literally shaking...couldn't find anything to say to the others or give my ideas. I didn't seem to understand what they were all saying. It is hard to think that I have to fight against myself to go into those classes. This anxiety is killing the crap out of me...Maybe I am not meant to go to college. I see everyone else talk to each other as if they knew each other forever..I am different..I don't know what to see or what to do in those situations. It is killing me. I hate myself for being that way.
—Guest OliviaK

I didn't always have social anxiety

I like to think I was pretty popular among my peers thru junior high. I did have a very rocky home life, with an alcoholic/depressed father and an extremely outgoing/working alcoholic/controlling mother. When my parents VERY rocky relationship dissapated when I was 14, my anxiety kicked in. I started feeling like I was not the cool girl people thought I was. That I was awkward, ugly, had a weird body, and my red hair--which I once was so proud of--was just a way to draw more attention to me. Now, I am 20 with a husband and child. I take all my classes online because I'm afraid to go to college. I took 1 year at a physical college, but left when I got pregnant. I can't go to the grocery store alone. Can't eat alone, go shopping, get gas, or even walk to the post office. It's embarrassing and taking away my quality of life. I'm starting a part time job in a few days and I'm nervous. My social anxiety score was 69 on the Liebowitz scale.
—Guest Living less

Third Year at College

It wasn't until my second year in University that I discovered I had social anxiety. I finally realized why I was always afraid to speak up in class and got so nervous when going to social gatherings. I am in my third year in college. In my calculus class I have not raised my hand once to answer a question. I feel left out because there is only five students in the class and I am the only one that never participates. I am also the fist one to leave the classroom. I want to speak up, but at this point I feel everyone will look at me weird because I have never talked in class before. Nobody knows my name.
—Guest Quiet Girl

Horrified of the first day

I wasn't diagnosed with social anxiety disorder (because of it I can't seek help) but once I found out that this thing exists, I knew I had it. I've just finished my time at secondary school which was the best 5 years even with my poor social skills but that was because it was an all girls school and people weren't that harsh and now I'm going to college next year with boys and I'm so anxious. My tester day to the college is within a week and already I can't stop panicking. I just know I'll be the loser, loner and the weirdo because I'm not confident and I'll be so self conscious that this would probably lead to making a fool of myself and I can't stop panicking for the first day.
—Guest Absolutely terrified

nowhere to go

I am 19 and in high school I barely attended because I get so scared just thinking about a class. I am still so quiet. But I dropped out and last year I finished high school in an alternative online class. Now I need to find a job and enroll in a university. But just the thought of having to go and be called on, or group projects completely stress me out to a point I just fall asleep from exhaustion of anxiety. So many things...I can't handle it.
—Guest quiet one

I really don't want to be a failure

Freshman at university in China. Studied the language for 1 year in a different city(not enough,but it's a scholarship program), before starting here. Not only do I not understand anything in class, now, in the second semester, I have become extremely afraid of actually attending because I've missed most of the past 11 weeks and I KNOW they will think badly of me. I'm the only foreigner in all my classes so I can't blend in. The other foreign students suggest simply going to class and sleeping, which I wish I could do, but the anxiety I feel about going just feels like too much. I'm supposed to talk to my teachers about doing papers instead of sitting exams in chinese so I don't fail but that would mean going to class or trying to call them. 1st semester was better but I started off so badly this one I don't see any hope. Thought I'd made friends with some classmates but they never contact me. The few times I've gone I spend the time afraid someone will talk to me/ask me where I've been...
—Guest Kimmy


I'm a commuting junior at a pretty prestigious university, and somehow I have mustered up the courage to join a club and an organization. Mostly through the organization, I have gained many acquaintances but not very many friends-I'm STILL quiet and very shy whenever we have mandatory get togethers throughout the year. It's easier for me to make friends in classes outside of my major, because at least I don't have that pressure to make friends bc I'll be seeing them again soon. In my major courses, I have only made 2 friends, 1 of which graduated already, and a handful of acquaintances-but we don't really acknowledge each other. Typically in class, I'll just sit there silently the entire time and rarely volunteer. Whenever we have to interact with each other, sometimes my head and hands would start trembling and I'd get panic attacks. Honestly, I miss high school bc I still made a good deal of friends and was shy, but not too worried about it. SAD really sucks in college.
—Guest lata

My college experience part 2

I have tried several times to go to class, and have failed these last 2 years. I am now totally afraid of even going out to the groceries store and not to talk about sitting in a classroom, where there's only like 10 of us, which makes my thoughts of them judging me even greater. Not to mention that now I am 2 years older than any of these possible classmates, which makes it a lot worse. Even though I am under treatment, no improvements have shown. I am at a point of deep despair since I fear I will drop college completely at any second, and it was always clear that my only abilities were academical studies, and so is my only wish. I feel like I am going to be sustained by my parents for life, and keep on being the failure I am, as did my now 36 year old brother who just couldn't beat his depression and is still like a little baby needing care 24/7.
—Guest Lana

My college experience

I am a 22 year old physics student. I have OCD, major clinical depressión and, for the last 6 years, social anxiety disorder. I was always top of my class during high school and during my first year in college. During school although I had these huge problems and no friends at all, the mandatory attendance kept me going to class, and so did the hope that once I started university things whould change. I was so wrong. During my first physics year I did great when it comes to grades, but terrible regarding attendace, since it's not mandatory. I still could manage to go to finals for I had a friend who had come from my same school, and he'd give me his notes and study with me. At a point our friendship met several differences and we have come to the point where he kind of "hates" me, since it was really hard for an outgoing, popular persona like him to ever understand and cope with my problems. Since then, I have tried several times to complete my second year and I have failed miserably.
—Guest Lana

Collage Anxiety

I am currently in my first year second term and now finding it extremely hard to pick up the courage to go in. I currently have missed all my lectures this year due to the fear of sitting alone in lectures and feeling as if people are constantly judging me. I have only managed to make a couple of friends on the course and am afraid of talking and getting to know people I don't know, especially in groups more than 4 people. I am finding this whole experience traumatizing as I am split between wanting to get a good degree and having to go through these social difficulties. I also haven't told anyone as I'm ashamed and feel like an idiot however after seeing this page I realize that I'm not the only person in the world feeling like this.
—Guest Jack

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How is social anxiety affecting your college experience?

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