Dealing With Social Anxiety In College Clubs And Student Orgs
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Education

I Thought I'd Join A Ton Of College Clubs, But My Social Anxiety Didn't Let Me

I was involved in six clubs my senior year, why don't I like to be around people?

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I Thought I'd Join A Ton Of College Clubs, But My Social Anxiety Didn't Let Me

Back in high school, I was in drill team, color guard, honor guard, the FFEA, TOMS Club, etc. I always enjoyed being involved on campus and having fun with friends I'd made in clubs. So why is it that as soon as I got to college I didn't want anything to do with clubs or people?

My freshman year, I was studying to become a nurse and had a lot on my plate. I was interested in a few things: the PAGES program, philosophy club, and most importantly, Improv. I was always thinking, "I'll show up next week," then it was, "I don't know if I have time," then it turned into, "they probably wouldn't like me anyway."

My nursing major was a bust so I changed it to history. Once I was in history classes, I decided to join the history club, to actually honor something I liked.

During the fall semester, I constantly skipped meetings because I didn't think I was good enough for the club. I started to believe that my opinions weren't good enough for the club to hear and how they'd probably kick me out anyway for not participating.

The president of the club at the time was also in my European history course. He came up to me one day and asked me (in a super kind and inviting way), "hey why aren't you in the history club anymore?" I panicked because I felt I had let him down and said, "Oh, I guess I just don't have time." But I did. I had tons of time in between my classes to attend the meetings and participate.

I chose not to, but I was the only one holding myself back. I was fueling my own anxiety. I felt vulnerable, and most importantly, alone. Alone during the most valuable time of my life up until this point.

I ended up spending that time at the library with a friend from high school because befriending new people was proving to be harder and harder for me.

Once I met my friend Angela, she told me about the PAGES program and I joined. These students were studying liberal arts, just like me. I didn't expect to like the club or the people in the club.

Because of the kindness of these people, the similarity in interests, as well as, the motivation to work together, I began to like it and open up more. The club also allowed me to stretch above and beyond and I had the opportunity of studying abroad with the help of the program.

There are so many different clubs on campus that can appeal to so many different people. Including people like me. I know how hard it is to open up, I know how hard it is to feel OK around people, I know how much effort it takes to show even basic social skills, but there's a group of people that are welcoming, that have the same interests, that can help you feel comfortable.

No one is ever alone, you shouldn't be too.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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