One of the many pros to living in a tight-knit community such as UCU is that you are never alone. There is always someone with the same, or at least similar, worries, anxieties, and concerns. This article aims to address what have been found to be some of the most prominent worries and feelings on campus, in the hope of shedding some light on the issue, and maybe even provide some relief from the worry.
It goes without saying that not everyone is the same, and what works for some may not work for others. If you are not comfortable taking any of the recommended advice, then please do not push yourself! Do only what you think can contribute to your personal well-being. Please also note that this is in no way a substitute for professional help, it is merely some tips from personal experience that could help others. If you seek professional, qualified help, please contact the Student Life Officer or a therapist off-campus.
With that being said, we can now move on to explore two of the most prominent worries people have expressed both online and in person.
#1. Feeling overwhelmed.
This is a problem that will affect most students on campus, at some point or another. If you are feeling overwhelmed a lot, there are a few things you could try to detach and relax your mind a little.
College students are constantly told that their college years should be the best years of their life. Don’t get hung up trying to make sure you are always having the time of your life, and don’t worry when you are not. If you don’t enjoy partying, you are not alone! If commitments aren’t for you, you are not alone either! If there is anything you do not enjoy, do not feel compelled to do it simply because it is part of the ‘college experience’. Nobody will judge you for taking time to be by yourself. (Trust me, this is coming from someone writing this, drinking hot chocolate, and listening to the variety of parties happening right outside her unit on a Friday night at 1am… and this is certainly not the first, or last, time this will happen). By taking time for yourself, you are not ‘missing out’ on anything life changing. You can make your own college experience, and it will be a whole lot better if you can find a way to not be overwhelmed and frantic throughout it.
“Don’t get hung up trying to make sure you are always having the time of your life, and don’t worry when you are not”
If you are someone who cannot get rid of the overwhelmed feeling simply by detaching yourself from the ‘Bubble’ and spending some time by yourself, there are some other techniques you could try. For example, try leaving 5 minutes at the end of your day to write down everything you did that day. No matter whether that list has one or twenty accomplishments, take a moment to just be proud of yourself. Then take that piece of paper, rip it out of your notebook, and tear it up into the trash. That way, you can release some frustration and give your day some proper closure. Tomorrow is a new day, and you can jump into bed with the peace of mind knowing that today has ended.
Additionally, remember to leave time in your schedule simply to sit back and relax. The amount of time you need for this is completely up to you, but especially when you are overwhelmed with school work, this simple trick can make a lot of difference to the quality of your work.
#2. Having difficulties socializing with others and making new friends.
The academic year has just started, and for many, finding a social circle can be challenging. It is common to look around and think everybody has it sorted out and that you’re the only one without the whole ‘friend’ thing figured out, but this is in no way true. Furthermore, you may believe that everyone has already found their place, and that there is no room for you. It is never too late to join a new friend group or meet new people. This, of course, is easier said than done, but the following tips might help you out.
A great place to meet people is in class. Group projects are a prominent part of the learning that takes place at UCU, and this can be a great way to meet new people with similar interests. Classmates can easily become friends, and provide a less daunting socializing opportunity for the more timid students. From there, it is much easier to, say, go to lunch together or hang out as you start to get to know people better.
Committees work the same way. Several committees offer very low commitment events where you can simply show up when you’d like. You could try using this to your advantage, seeing it as an opportunity to test the waters. If you don’t feel comfortable with that specific group of people, you haven’t made a commitment to be there all the time so will never be forced to stay.
Lastly, never forget that other people are likely to have the same insecurities. So, if you feel comfortable, try making the first move and initiating a friendship – it is likely the other member will be grateful to you for it!