It seems like the world is on your shoulders and you just want to get rid of all the burden. As a student, you have dreams, ambitions and so many other wonderful things to think about. But then as soon as you think about all the wonderful adult life stuff, you get into an overwhelming “student worry” phase again. Will I be successful? Will I ever achieve my dreams? What if my career doesn’t take off? What kind of a life partner will I have?
Ok. Take a deep breath. It’s normal to think about all of this but ”worry” is an uninvited, rather unnecessary guest. There are ways to shoo it away so let’s get into it.
P.S. – I was a worrier all through my teens and early adulthood. I was just like you too: a worrying student! I got out of it and you will too. 🙂
First, let’s understand why students worry so much. Why are things spinning out of control in your mind? Let’s talk in third person for a while so that you’re able to see things more objectively.
Why Do Students Worry So Much?
1. Students worry about their grades
Students worry because they want to get good grades and do well at school. They’re in constant worry that If they don’t get good grades, then they won’t be able to go to college. This will eventually lead to no decent job and will put an end to their career dreams.
2. They worry about getting into college
Students worry about getting into college because they want to have a good future. They want good jobs to start their professional lives. If they don’t make it into college, it could mean a rocky start and an uncertain future.
3. They worry about making friends
Students think that if they don’t make friends, then they will never have any fun. And, if they don’t have any fun, their life will be dull and boring. This is why many students stress themselves out over whether or not they’re being liked by people around them.
4. Students worry about being popular
Students worry that if people don’t like them, then they won’t feel good about themselves. They place their self-esteem and worth in the hands of validation from others. In their quest for pleasing everyone, they often lose track of who they really are.
5. Students worry about fitting in
Students worry about fitting in because they think that if no one likes them, then they won’t fit in anywhere. And, if they can’t fit in somewhere, then they won‘t have any friends. They’re in constant worry that they’ll have no friends and will be left alone which they feel can make them look bad.
6. They worry about looking or sounding ”dumb”
If this happens, students feel that they have no chance of fitting in or being accepted as a friend by anyone. They worry that they’ll be left alone or even worse, bullied by their peers. This leads to students not being able to ask questions they want the answers to. In their quest to sound intelligent, they curb their curiosities and doubts which can in fact, ironically, lead to becoming dull eventually.
P.S – Bullying and being bullied are serious roots to many mental health problems and dire consequences, affecting not just fleeting situations but lives. If you’re being bullied at school, in college or on the internet, please contact the anti-bullying hotlines or squads.
Now let’s get back to talking to you. Do any or many of those points feel familiar? do you think you or someone you know is worrying too much? Then I have many tips that can help you get rid of all of that worry.
Tips To Stop Worrying as a Student
Don’t worry about grades
Remember this – grades are just numbers. If you get a C, you’re not going to feel any worse about yourself than if you had gotten a B+. Grades aren’t the only indicator of how well you’re doing in school. There are other activities like sports, music, dancing, arts, etc that you might like and be good at.
It’s awesome to work towards getting good grades but worrying about it too much and obsessing over your grades will actually make it worse. Because if you worry all the time, you won’t have time to do anything else, including studying!
How to stop worrying about grades?
- Create a schedule to organize your time better. Once you know you’re giving your studies enough time without compromising on your other daily activities, you’ll worry less.
- Build your confidence. This can greatly help you adapt and deal with any kind of outcome.
- Spend some time every day on recreational activities like sports, music, reading or any other hobby that changes your mood for the better and relaxes your mind.
Don’t compare yourself to others
If you look around at everyone else in class, you’ll start thinking about how everyone else is so much better than you (In reality, they probably aren’t and are thinking the exact same thing when they look at you!) And that’s when you start comparing yourself to the people around you instead of focusing on your own goals. You’ll end up feeling inferior because surprise! surprise! nobody is perfect.
You think his handwriting or her hair are better than yours? They’re probably thinking about how your math capabilities and your skin texture are so amazing.
How to kick comparison and envy?
- Compare yourself to your older versions instead of comparing yourself to other people. Maintain a journal about what you work on every day. After each month, go back and read to see how far you’ve come!
- Limit your time on social networking sites and while you’re at it, don’t let envy consume you. Instead, appreciate others. But remember, that they have something that you don’t, doesn’t mean you’re worthless.
- Practice gratitude. Maintain a gratitude journal. There are plenty of simple apps you can use. Find the one that suits yourself. I use “Morning!” app. It helps you count your blessings every day which in turn helps you feel more content with yourself.
Get enough sleep
Believe it or not but proper sleep actually helps reduce your worries. When you’re tired, you’re less likely to do well overall and that in turn can make you feel less brighter than others. Also, lack of sleep can alter your mood, making you feel cranky and not-so-nice throughout the day. More days of losing out on quality sleep means accumulating stress, worry and a blow to your physical and mental health.
How to get better sleep?
- Remember that the goal is to get quality sleep. Many hours of sleep doesn’t necessarily mean better sleep. 8 hours of sleep is fine but to get sound sleep, stay away from your electronic gadgets at least an hour or more before your sleep time. Here’s why.
- Being physically active during the evenings is a good idea! It can tire you out as night approaches and can help you sleep well.
- Avoid heavy meals (read high-sugar, low-fiber foods) at night as they can cause indigestion and bloating. This can be uncomfortable and disrupt your sleep.
Get involved in Activities
There are plenty of ways to get involved with campus activities while you’re in college. By participating in these activities, you’ll become more knowledgeable about different aspects of your community and gain skills that you can use in your professional and personal life later. This will help you gain more confidence in yourself, thereby reducing your worries about the future.
What kind of activities to be a part of?
- Joining a school or college club or team will give you a great opportunity to meet people who share similar interests. No more worry about making friends!
- You can also find various opportunities to volunteer at local organizations that you might enjoy working with. Pet care and environment preservation are just some of the examples.
- Another great way to find communities in and around your college is to look for them online. You’ll find something thats productive and of interest to you. For example: a local sports team or a music band.
Everyone experiences setbacks in their academic careers, but don’t let negative thoughts distract you from your ultimate goal of graduating college. Instead, stay positive and focused on the fact that you’re moving forward towards success. If you encounter challenges along the way, you can overcome them by focusing on the small victories that you achieve. Remember, changing the way you look at something is everything!
How to stay positive?
- Take enough breaks during a typical school or college day by going for walks in the morning or evening. A little exercise or body movement on a regular basis goes a long way in keeping a positive state of mind.
- Spare some time every day to do something you love! It could be as simple as listening to your favorite songs or talking to your best friend over the phone!
- Journal your thoughts. Maintain a diary where you pour your mind and heart out. This helps you put your worries out on paper (or app!). No more in your mind.
Speak Up and Ask Questions
Don’t worry about sounding dumb. Imagine that you never ask questions about things you don’t understand. You’ll never have the answers and then, you’ll actually end up being dull! You don’t want that. No question is dumb and you’re free to share your thoughts. Ask away!
If you worry about what others will think, quickly remind yourself that Newton wasn’t born with knowledge of gravity. He asked questions when the apple fell! This lead him to the answers. If he had never asked, someone else would have and then, Newton wouldn’t have been the one to discover gravity. Imagine missing out on the opportunity to discover or invent something great just because you worry about asking questions.
How to muster courage to ask questions and speak up?
- Start with practising to do things that you’re afraid of or uncomfortable with. For example: asking someone out, starting a conversation with a fellow student you don’t know too well, eating lunch at school or college with someone from another course, etc. This will help you open up more.
- List down your doubts and questions in a diary in a question and answer format (leaving the answer part blank tIll you get the answer, of course). Make this an assignment and give yourself a deadline – a lenient enough deadline to not add this to your worry! This will not only compel you to ask what you need to but will also have all the answers in one place for future reference. Your very own study book!
- Start with asking questions at home if you’re comfortable interacting with your parents. If not, start with your friends or anyone you’re the most comfortable talking to. Make this a habit and then move on to people you’re less confident to talk to like teachers, classmates, or in front of a crowd in public places.
Love Yourself More
Not the most popular kid in school or college? Not even a friend of one of those popular kids? You don’t need to be any of these to love or be loved. While the idea of being popular or a part of the ”cool” group sounds great to most students, they get so caught up with it that they change who they are as a person just to “Fit in”. Guess what? That’s not how it should ever be.
All of us are unique and it’s a privilege! There can never be another ”you”, no not even if you have a twin brother or sister. Why would you want to then be like someone else? This behavior will shoot your worry up manifold because you’ll constantly want to be liked and accepted. This need for validation will drop your self-esteem to rock bottom.
Breaking news! The real you is loveable as you are. You don’t need to be a part of a group or fit in with someone else’s idea of ”cool” to be liked. The first step to get rid of this notion is to start loving yourself more.
How to practise self-love?
- Be who you are and you don’t have to be perfect. Don’t always think about what others will think when doing or talking anything. So, when talking to your classmates, don’t hesitate to express yourself or share your thoughts and opinions.
- I mentioned about gratitude journals before. Here, its a little different. In your gratitude journal, create a section where you write about your strengths and what qualities you’re grateful for in you. Make sure you write at least one such skill, experience, quality or behavior that makes you proud of yourself every day.
- Forgive yourself more. Did you submit an assignment very late? Were you rude to your friend? Apologize to them but remember that you have to forgive yourself every time too. None of us are perfect (You should see my clumsiness, really). We all make mistakes and we have to tell ourselves, ”Hey! Let’s learn from this and move on.”
Resources For Students Who Worry
While all of this information above can help you get rid of your worries as a student, it is also helpful to have some resources that can motivate you to move towards a more confident and worry-free student life.
Movies You Can Watch
Movies? For getting rid of worry as a student? Yes! There are some amazing movies from around the world that can help you understand various aspects of a student’s life, how to cope with challenges and move forward.
- Dead Poets Society was a 1989 American coming-of-age drama film directed by Peter Weir and written by Robert Nelson Greene and Michael Blakemore. the film stars Robin Williams as John Keating, who teaches English at his school, fictional Wetherby School, and inspires his students to become better people. He motivates them to challenge the societal norms through the world of poetry.
- Good Will Hunting has Matt Damon playing the role of Will Hunting, a 20 year old janitor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Will has an extraordinary talent for Chemistry and Math. He meets Sean McGuire (Robin Williams), a community college instructor and a therapist. This chance meeting leads to Sean helping Will uncover his hidden talents. The film inspires students to love themselves and believe in themselves.
Books You Can Read
Reading as an activity in itself has a calming effect. And when you read books that help you transform your life from that of a ”worrying student” to a ”worry-free student”, you know the knowledge will be worth your time.
- Put Your Worries Away by Gill Hasson is a helpful book for students who feel anxious, worried and fearful. The book has detailed explanations of how our body responds to worries and offers a variety of strategies to calm down in various situations.
- Worry Says What? by Allison Edwards is an amazing read for students to help them flip their worrying thoughts, transforming them into powerful reminders of all their potential and capabilities.
Online Student Forums
- Student Edge is an excellent platforms for students to communicate with each other. You can discuss topics ranging from movies to student life. Ask a question you want an answer to, get great tips and clear your doubts! Lots of new activities to learn and a great place to share your worries or learn from peers who have overcome them.
- The Student Room is another amazing place to discuss your thoughts. From giving and receiving tips on various topics to expressing your student life concerns, you can do it all. Make friends, speak your mind and share your experiences!
Don’t Worry Be Happy
You know I could actually go on and on and this article really wouldn’t end. Don’t worry because I do have a lot more coming up for you! For now, try out all of these tips and see what works for you. There’s a whole world out there waiting to discover you. Break that worry-wall because that wall is the only distance between you and your dream student life. Undo your old thoughts, unleash the real YOU.