Starting University Can Be An Anxious Time

Starting University Can Be An Anxious Time

Becoming a university student for the first time can be an exciting and overwhelming time for anyone but doesn’t have to be. Navigating university well comes with being open to new experiences and people as well as overcoming your fears. There are many ways to make university a more enjoyable experience and less of an anxious time.

Tackling nerves and insecurity in new environments

With new environments like university, comes many nerves and feelings of insecurity. It is never easy to tackle these nerves but there are some ways you can combat this feeling and navigate university a little less fearfully.

Deep breathing a few minutes before you go out to meet new people can help relieve some of their nerves. Take time, clear your mind and take some deep breaths to soothe your nerves effectively.

Take courage!. Fear is very much a psychological thing that plagues many young people and sometimes the best way to defeat something is to challenge it. This means acknowledging this nerve and challenging it by saying: 

“I’m nervous, maybe even fearful but I will take courage and face this environment”.

Explore your new environment by walking around. Take some time to get fresh air and explore your campus, get familiar with new surroundings that you will probably encounter everyday. 

Whatever you choose to do, remember that you have the power to overcome your nerves and that is rooted in challenging it every corner even when you’re not sure.

Ways to deal with low self esteem

Low self-esteem isn’t something one would like to encounter when they start university but it is something that many students do face when thrusted into the world of further education. Overcoming low self-esteem is a journey and requires a gentle and kind approach to oneself.

Some ways to overcome this:

Living in the moment and choosing to act in the now instead of later. While the past and present are important parts of who you are, now is the self you can control and explore with. So embrace your present and see what’s out there for you.

Show self-compassion and appreciate the parts of yourself you do like. List the parts and choose to celebrate them while you are at university. This new environment provides an opportunity for renewal and this is your chance to readjust your perspective of yourself and really love the ‘you’ that are now.

Participate in your life and go out and enjoy things you thought that weren’t for you. University is bursting with opportunities to engage in new activities (clubs, sport teams etc.) as well as explore new areas ( especially if you have moved away from home to another area in your country.) Your life is yours and you should want to enjoy it as much as possible.

These steps can help you on your journey to overcoming low self-esteem and there is no rush, take your time, enjoy yourself and get out there.

Confidence in making friends

It’s hard enough to adjust to a new environment such as university but making friends can feel like a real obstacle course as you’re beginning your life as a university student. The beauty of your environment is that you’re able to attend introductory  events that ease you into uni life.

But before you begin, here are a few ways you can prep for this:

Recognising your positive attributes and creating positive reminders for yourself to boost your confidence. You can do this by doing daily affirmations in the morning in the mirror or writing/typing your reminders on a post-it note/mobile app. Always know that you are capable of being someone’s friend and remind yourself of that as much as you can.

Take advantage of the introductory events offered during the Freshers Week and take part in the ones you are most comfortable with. Join a club or sports team (if you like) and try to get to know some people you meet there. Have a little courage and introduce yourself to some potential friends!

Do the asking and be consistent in communicating with potential friends.Ask them to meet up and go out to the local area or you could even invite them for a coffee. Whatever it is you choose to do, don’t be afraid to ask and be firm in communicating with them so you can spark a potential friendship.

Plan some conversation points if you do struggle with small talk. Think of university as well as interests and hobbies as main starting points for talking. Don’t feel overwhelmed if you can communicate with certain people, sometimes you don't gel well with everyone. Start with talking to the person you’re sitting next to and let things happen organically.

Say yes to social invitations and go out! You can only know people better if you go out with them.If you’re feeling nervous, still say yes to the coffee meet up, yes to a day at the shopping centre and yes to the cinema. Saying yes will open doors for new opportunities and adventures to develop the friendships you deserve.

Don’t be afraid to embrace new opportunities to meet new people and open yourself to potential friends by reminding yourself that you are worthy of friendships that make your time at university worthwhile.

Managing your study workload

Studying is a major part of your time at university and when you begin your studies, you will be responsible for disciplining yourself and managing your workload. This can be overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be if you make sure that you keep on top of things.

There are some effective steps that you can take to hand this:

Get a planner and establish your routine. If you know what your course time table looks like for the term, you can organise your study time around that as well as factoring necessary breaks to relax and refresh. Remember that you don’t need a hardcopy planner, you can also use app planners or even your own mobile calendar.

Join a study group with coursemates, flatmates or even your own mates. It is much easier to solve problems with others; you can bounce off each other and create solutions much faster. Plus, It makes for a more enjoyable experience while studying. Set a time that works for everyone and enjoy a great study session.

Detox from all things distracting (mobile phone, social media, Youtube and Netflix). Set a specific timeframe and work intensely on whatever pieces of work you have. Make sure that you use an alarm so you don’t overwork yourself.

Your study workload should not exhaust you and managing it well will help you handle university life with more ease.


Mental Health is something that will be affected when you start university but the negative feelings and thoughts can be combated if you have a support system to rely on.

Sometimes, the people you usually depend on for comfort and support might not always be around. This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Togetherall is a safe online community where you find non-judgemental support from expert professionals as well as others. As a student, you are entitled to free access to Togetherall.

You do not need to feel alone, anxious or scared to discuss your mental and emotional state of mind about starting university. You always have people you understand what you feel and how to navigate in a healthy way.

In conclusion, starting University doesn’t have to be an anxious experience if you choose to open up to new opportunities, remind yourself that you are worthy of being valued as a friend and enjoy your studies in a manageable way. 

Take courage and face the world of university with a little less fear.

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