I am in my second year of University (my final year) and I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to go to university. Last year it was scary and exciting as I fumbled through classes and assignments, I also endured several panic attacks and bouts of anxiety that weren’t always obvious to those around me. I am now in my second year, which gave me the idea of sharing these strategies for surviving university with anxiety.
Oral presentations is pretty much number one on my list of anxiety provoking situations that involve university, why because everyone is looking directly at you and waiting for you to speak and not only that but you are actually being judged and graded on what you have to say which is to me one of the scariest things to do and yet I have managed to do 4 in my first year of semester and I have some coming up in this one. My tips don’t include the usual tips like picture everyone in their underwear. My first tip is to be prepared practice giving that speech to an empty room a million times or even to a mirror, this is good for being confident in what you’re saying and also for timing yourself to make sure you don’t go over, or too under (always leaving a little extra because your speech will speed up in front of people) I have found that the more I have practiced a speech and know what I need to say the less I get stressed when giving it. My second tip is picking a subject you’re actually interested in two of the presentations I have given have gone well and I was given good grades because I believed in and interested in what I was talking about, although this isn’t always possible make the subject your talking about as interesting to yourself as possible take a different angle on the subject find a small aspect of it that you can become remotely interested in and it will improve your speech and your confidence at the same time. Even though I use these tools every time I give a presentation I am still not confident up there all the time, I shake and sweat and stumble on my words but I don’t let myself get distracted by putting myself down I keep going and applaud myself for getting up there in the first place for facing what makes me anxious and it’s a good feeling.
Talking in class and answering the lecturer or tutors questions is something I find daunting even if I know the answer, because I know people will be looking and paying attention to what I say this isn’t something I really have coping strategies for but I find that if I am confident in my answer or the subject I am more obliged to speak, as well as if I have less people in my class I am more comfortable speaking or voicing my opinion. I know my fear in this situation comes from a fear of rejection or judgement.
Study and study some more, this really is the number one tip I have, I would not have gotten as far as I have if I didn’t study, finding the definitions of things I was unsure about or theories I didn’t quite understand. The Internet and books are your friend and they aren’t going to judge you or make you feel stupid, because well they don’t know who you are or why you searched them. I avoid asking questions again a fear of judgement or rejection so a lot of the time I leave it up to research and study to explain things that I don’t understand and if I didn’t do this I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I have.
Surviving with anxiety is hard it’s an every day battle with yourself and your doubts but it doesn’t mean you can’t do the things you’ve always wanted to do. University was a dream of mine for many years and I never imagined I would be smart enough or able to take the opportunity not to mention how incredibly scary the buildings were and all the other people and yet here I am pushing through all the worry in my head to get there and get it done. In saying all of this don’t stress if some days it’s just too hard I have those days too where I really just can not cope and going outside my door is too difficult and mostly ill push through that but some times it really is too much and I’ve found that, that is okay too, you need to keep your own health in check before everything else.
I hope these help someone in a similar circumstance or someone who has a friend or partner going through this to see another perspective.
Keep creating yourselves