By Rosie French-Mcleish
As the new academic year is about to start, it’s very normal for young people to have new and confusing feelings about their upcoming fresh start. Feelings of anxiety and worry can begin to settle in and they almost feel overwhelming and constant. While starting a new school or college is an exciting chapter in life, it can also be nerve-racking and leave someone constantly worrying about certain aspects of their life.
What you have to know is… you are not alone. As easy as it is to say, you truly are not alone. You may even find it surprising at how many people are in the same boat as you, even if they do not show it.
“What if I don’t fit in?”
Starting a new school or college gives you the amazing opportunity of a fresh start. You can explore different subjects suited to your interests and goals, and also begin to make friends who are more like you, who understand you and want to support you. You can begin to discover who you are as an individual, while also discovering who you are as a part of this world.
“What if I change my mind on what I want to do?”
It is always okay to experience a change of feelings to what you want to study and do with your life. You are not disappointing anyone if you decide to pull out of something or change your mind, you should go with your gut instinct and really follow what your heart and mind is telling you to do.
Pressures on young people to achieve the best academically can start to become stressful and can really take a toll on someone’s mental health. As long as you do the best you feel you can do, that is all that matters. It is not unnatural to feel bad about yourself if you don’t achieve the best grade, however your mental health and happiness is more important than any academic achievement.
Feelings of anxiety are incredibly normal, and common. They do not define you as a person, and it is not a bad thing to feel this way. If anything it is quite expected. For some of you, it may be the first time you are doing something independently, and that can be an overwhelming yet exciting thing.
These feelings may be new to you, or you may have had anxiety for some time. There is always someone you can talk to about it, whether that is a friend, a family member, or even reaching out online or on social media. There are plenty of ways to get advice or help if you are really struggling with feelings of anxiety.
From personal experience, it really does always get better, your anxieties may not go away for some time, however you can silence them by supporting your own mental health and surrounding yourself with a secure and safe group of people who only want what is best for you.
Always reach out if you need help, there’s always someone to listen.
For information on how Anxiety UK can support students see our dedicated ‘Students and anxiety’ webpage.
The views expressed by the contributor are not necessarily those of Anxiety UK, nor can we guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. If you would like to write a blog for AUK please email [email protected] for more information.