I've been there. I once was a socially anxious freshman (now I'm just a socially anxious sophomore) and I know how it feels.
I understand the feeling of anxiety when deciding if I want to go out, go to a game, go to eat, etc. As I've worked through my own social anxiety, I've picked up some tips and tricks along the way.
1. Remember that you're not alone.
Trust me, you aren't the only one who is nervous. There are hundreds, if not more, students out there who are just as anxious and worried as you are.
They may hide it, but just about every college freshman is anxious about something.
Whether you're nervous for the first day of classes, for a football game, or for a party, you're certainly not the only one.
2. Know that it isn't that bad.
It doesn't matter what you're anxious about, I promise you it isn't that bad.
The first day of classes? A breeze. Meeting your new roommate(s) and their friends? Easy peasy. First party? A piece of cake.
Once you get through all of the college "firsts," everything else comes easily.
3. Avoid staying in your room all day.
This one can be a hard one, trust me. Social anxiety comes with the fear of going to new places, having new experiences, or meeting new people. It can all seem scary, which can force a socially anxious person to stay in their room all day.
PUSH THROUGH IT!
Don't let yourself be the person who never leaves their dorm, go out, try new things, make some friends. Remember, everyone else is in the same boat as you.
4. Praise and congratulate yourself.
When you do something you were afraid to do, remind yourself of how much you've overcome.
As great as it is to hear praise from others, it's important that you hear it from yourself, too.
Believe in yourself and all of your abilities. Remind yourself that you are strong, you are worthy, you are brave, and you are important, no matter what your social anxiety may lead you to believe.
5. Be a joiner.
When you're walking through campus, there are bound to be some clubs and organizations tabling. If you see something that interests you, do it!
Clubs are always looking for new members and are happy to welcome you to their organization.
Most new members will be nervous, too, so you certainly won't be alone. Plus, clubs are a great opportunity to put yourself out there and make new friends.
6. Speak up for yourself.
If you're really nervous about something, speak up. If your friends are asking too much of you, let them know.
It's important that you don't let yourself get too overwhelmed and that the people around you understand how much you can handle.
Even if you're presenting in front of the class, there's no harm in starting off by saying that you are a little anxious about it all. It's important to let people know how you're feeling by speaking up for yourself and your needs.
7. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
It sounds difficult, but college is certainly the place to push out of your comfort zone.
In order to do this, you have to familiarize yourself with doing things that you may not be used to.
Be prepared to try new things, and when the time comes, you'll be ready for whatever it is.
8. Start saying "yes."
Rather than turn down any opportunity that may seem scary, start saying "yes." You can start small with something as simple as agreeing to walk with someone to class.
Eventually, work your way into saying "yes" to getting coffee with someone, to volunteering in class, to going out on a Friday night.
You'll get nowhere by continuously saying "no" and declining new opportunities.
Don't overdo it, do what you feel is right, but work towards saying "yes" to things that may make you a little nervous.
9. Start making goals and write them down.
Your goals can be as simple as saying "hi" to someone as you pass by or something as major as successfully giving a speech in class.
No matter how big or small your goals may be, write them down and track them.
As you work through your social anxiety, you'll find that checking things off of a list can really prove how much work you've done.
10. Be an advocate for yourself.
Do what is best for you, always.
If something becomes too much for you, take it easy. Slow down and reevaluate.
If things are going well, continue what you're doing and make a routine of it. If you need help, ask for it. Seek guidance from someone you trust and are comfortable with.
If you're doing great, tell someone and show how proud you are of yourself. Become your best advocate.
Having social anxiety may seem like it's the end of your world, especially when you enter college. However, you're not alone and you'll end up okay.
Some things may seem like a lot to take on, but you're capable of anything.
Don't let your social anxiety stop you from enjoying your time in college.