Starting College can bring up a range of emotions from excitement and feeling happy with this new phase of your life to fear, trepidation, worry and anxiety. Then again you may be so caught up with the excitement of starting college that it’s only after you start that the emotions may surface.

Some of the issues that may cause anxiety and worry when you start college are living away from home for the first time. Without being fully aware of it you are now responsible for yourself, responsible for going to class each day.  No longer, for example, is the teacher putting pressure on you, it’s up to you to do your assignments and have them in on time.  Or it may be that you are no longer top of the class, you are now in an environment where you are on the same level as your peers. This can be quiet unsettling for some. Starting college can feel impersonal. Lecture halls may seem daunting as you adjust to moving out of the safety of your classroom. Also you may have left behind your circle of friends, or the people that you sat next to in school and the challenge may be to make new friends. These are just some examples of what can make starting college lonely for some.

You need to remember that you are not alone and you are not the only one experiencing these feelings. You may think that everyone else is coping with starting college, everyone except you. Well that is not the case. Here are some facts that you might find interesting:

In 2007 the World Health Organisation reported that one in four students will develop mental health problems.
In a study carried out for Coventry University, Turner Hammond, Gilchrist and Barlow (2007) found that male students were less likely to seek help.31% of students who experienced problems did not seek help from anyone. 28% turned to a friend and only 4% of students sought help from counselling services. Over half of the students relied on themselves in coping with feeling anxious and depressed.

A study carried out by Escoffery in 2005 showed that online services reduce the stigma that is attached to seeking support when feeling anxious or depressed. 74% of students used this source for health problems-it is proposed that by having mental health supports online, it has the potential to overcome many of the obstacles that inhibit people from availing of appropriate help.

Online services facilitate anonymity, thus reducing the stigma associated with accessing mental health services. (Suler, 2004)

One thing that you might find helpful if you are feeling overwhelmed is to journal your thoughts, write down all your worries, feelings of angst or anxieties, this can help to get them out of your head.

Focus on your breathing, check to see how you are breathing as you feel tense and anxious. Is your breathing shallow or does it stop at your chest.  Take a few moments to slowly inhale, hold your breath for one -two seconds and then slowly exhale letting go of worries and tensions and feel how your body relaxes with this simple exercise.

Check out this website for some support:

Remember there are counselling or support services in all colleges or you can even contact your G.P.. It is important to talk about what it is that you are struggling with, important to look for support because the sooner you look for help the sooner you can start enjoying college. Starting college can be a great experience so you owe it to yourself to embrace it and enjoy all the wonderful opportunities that going to college has to offer.