Hi, I've been reading iTHINK articles for some time and could use some student advice.
I'm a first year student (completed 1st year) who wants to change their course from a joint to a single degree.
The issue I'm very shy and have little experience interacting with my tutor; I get incredibly anxious approaching people I don't know in general, and recently new uni related people I've met I've the last year.
I have a two part problem due to this:
1) I'm terrified to contact my tutor (via email that is) since I don't really know him... Help, how do I formulate this?
2) My student experience last year was awful, because I was so isolated. I think this is affecting how I interact with old friends. How can I be more normal around new people and make friends without feeling so out of my depths?
Thank you for helping me... Sorry this is so lengthy.
Congrats on finishing first year! I hope all the best for your results!
Now I am not in any way a certified psychologist but as someone who knows a bit of how it works and goes through anxiety every now and then I feel like I can give some advice.
Anxiety acts as a negative feedback loop so once you have anxious thoughts it carries on and on and eventually grows bigger. e.g. how do I contact my tutor? What does he think of me? Omg what did he thinks bout that specific time when..... and so on. My advice is once youre having thoughts is to remember that your tutor is also human and is here to help you with whatever it is you need. Take a deep breath and try to reject the negative thoughts and say to yourself "you can do this".
Thinking about the worst is normal but understand that it does not happen most of the time. Example, you apologized for a lengthy post, thinking that the length of the post was somewhat an inconvenience to us. Mate, I guarantee if I ask anyone in the iTHINK team they will be happy to hear that someone posted on their forum. I myself did not mind at all reading your post, as I felt that I can genuinely help you out. So thank you for giving me this feeling of purpose on a lazy night :). Instead of apologizing, try thanking people as it would be better for both parties.
On being normal, when we have a bad experience we tend to classify it as that for future reference. It’s a defense mechanism. Like a bad experience when meeting a new person will remind us of it next time. So what can we do about it? Stand up straight and look people in the eyes. It will be hard the very first time but it is the only way to see what people are truly thinking about you, which is normally not as bad as you would view yourself.
There are plenty of resources to help you out, campus services usually have mental health services which some of my friends have gone to and totally recommended it even if you don’t have any mental health issues. I also like reading self-help books they have given me an eye opener on my life.
Here is a link to Jordan Peterson’s lecture on anxiety he details what ive said really well:
Anyways, I hope this helps you and your future. Always remember that you are not alone and there are people rooting for you! You’ve got this!