'Normal' College Situations Aren't So Normal When You Have Anxiety

'Normal' College Situations Aren't So Normal When You Have Anxiety

How 'normal' students vs. anxious students react to different college experiences.

Anxiety is not something to joke about. Anxiety is not something to be casual about.

It's true, everyone has anxiety every now and then. However, not everyone is actually diagnosed with chronic anxiety. As someone who is, let me tell you what it's like to live with anxiety in college.

Gets A Bad Test Grade Back:

Normal Human: Oh, man! Didn't do so well! I'll talk to the teacher and try to bring it up.

Anxious Human: I'm so stupid. Oh, no, now everything is ruined. Now, I won't get a good grade in the class. Now, I won't graduate college. Now, I won't get a job. I'll be worthless. Why is the room getting smaller?

Something so minuscule like getting a bad grade can be devastating. It's important to remember that people with anxiety often take everything more personally and seriously. Something like getting a bad grade would've been something that I had been thinking about since I turned in the assignment.

Finds Out About A Paper Due Tomorrow:

Normal Human: Oh, no! Better drink a red bull and head to the library!

Anxious Human: I can't do this. This will never work. I have no idea where to start. I won't have enough time. I'm going to fail. I can't breathe. *Calls Mom*

When something like this is sprung on someone with anxiety, it projects them into an immediate state of panic. Having anxiety means needing a lot of time to process and plan things so that you know what to expect. Not knowing is terrifying.

Friends Making Plans To Go Out:

Normal Human: Yeah, I don't care. I'll go wherever the night takes me!

Anxious Human: So we're going to dinner at 7:00? Why not 8:00? That way we'll finish eating around 9:30, and then it'll take us about 15 minutes to get to the bar, and 10 minutes in line, so we can be in the bar before 10:00. Remember, the cover is $5 tonight. How do I know? I called ahead. Yes, I also made our dinner reservation for 8:00. What time are we going home?

Planning is key with anxiety. Key.

Suspicious Chapter Meeting Called:

Normal Human: Hm, weird.

Anxious Human: Oh, no. We did something wrong. What if we get kicked off campus? What if we get yelled at? What if they bring in a real grown up to yell at us? Or maybe we did something good. Maybe we'll get a surprise date party. Oh, no. I have no boys to ask. Oh, no. I have nothing to wear. Please let us be in trouble.

Again, not knowing is actually painful for someone with anxiety. Physically and mentally. It feels like you can't breathe or concentrate on anything other than what you're worrying about.


Normal Human: My friends will take care of it.

Anxious Human: Everyone is totally going to forget. Should I make my mom call me so I can subtly remind them? Are they planning anything? If they're actually planning something, I want to know what it is so I know what to wear. But wait, if they actually want to surprise me? That's cute. But I need to know if they even remember. But I don't want to blow my cover. Dilemma.

Birthdays in college are weird. In high school, everyone knew when it was your birthday. If your friends made you wear a "Birthday Princess" sash around school, it wasn't even that weird. But in college, like maybe 10 people are aware of your birthday, and only because you told them about it. It is because of this that I listed this situation at all. Because birthdays are scary.

All in all, anxiety sucks. And it really sucks in college. My friends have to constantly remind me to breathe, to relax, and to calm down (even though the worst thing in the world is being told to calm down). Again, not everyone actually has anxiety. Everyone has anxiety about specific things, maybe. But not everyone suffers from the condition. Keep in mind that people do. Keep in mind that your friends might. Try not to be too hard on them, they're trying their best, and at least you always know that for sure.

Cover Image Credit: practicalcures / Flickr

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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.


It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.

These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Heinrichs

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Take a Breath, Because Your Anxiety Doesn't Define You No More Than Anything Else Does

Having anxiety sucks. There's really no other way to put it.


Feeling yourself slowly slip away from reality and lose the ability to think straight is something no one should have to endure, yet millions of Americans have it. People from different childhoods, different memories, and different stresses all united by one common enemy: anxiety.

And that's what anxiety is, an enemy. There's a constant battle between its demons and positivity inside someone's mind. When anxiety wins, it seems like a nightmare come true at times.

It's almost impossible to describe anxiety to someone who doesn't have it. Those moments when all of the sudden you can't think straight, there's a faint buzzing in your head that grows louder and louder the more you try to tune it out, and the overwhelming desire to crawl up into a corner, turn off the lights and avoid anything and everything isn't an easy thing to communicate.

And the symptoms are different for everyone. Anxiety isn't identical from one person to the next; there are different triggers that set off a different array of emotions. For those of you who don't suffer from these attacks, please know one thing: we don't have total control over ourselves during these moments. For me, nothing makes sense in the midst of an anxiety attack. The more I try to think through everything happening in my head, the more confusion swarms my thoughts.

But, despite all of these moments where it feels like some invisible walls are crashing down around you, anxiety does not make you any less of a person. Anxiety is one piece to the complex puzzle that makes you, you. For all of the times filled with fear, anger or frustration, you can wake up the next morning a little bit a calmer with a much better frame of mind. Even though anxiety can sneak up on you at the strangest times, it makes you know that you can survive almost anything that is thrown at you.

But, no matter how many inner fights you're facing or how many anxiety attacks you've suffered, you're the same person you were yesterday and will be tomorrow. If anything, you're a little bit better because you survived another moment you thought you couldn't.

Cover Image Credit:

Hailey Reed

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