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School Anxiety: College Students & the Burden of Succeeding

school anxiety

College is full of new responsibilities, freedom, and social situations. Not all students are capable of handling monumental changes in their lives. Vulnerable college students are experiencing higher rates of school anxiety. “Between 40 percent and 60 percent of college students suffer with anxiety at levels interfering with their ability to learn, feel confident about themselves, and relate to others.”

What is School Anxiety?

School anxiety is a clinical condition that affects “1 in 5 university students.” Students are under pressure to succeed in college and post-graduation.

Many college students suffer from “distress and functional difficulties in sleep, time management, school performance, social interactions, and decision-making.”

school anxiety
school anxiety
School Anxiety Symptoms

School anxiety symptoms include:

  • Feelings of stress and apprehension
  • Irritability
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Fearfulness
  • Sweating and dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Muscle pain and tension
  • Headaches
  • Frequent upset stomach or diarrhea
What Causes School Anxiety?

Many factors cause school anxiety:

  • Choosing a major that will determine the outcome of the rest of their lives.
  • Dating the “right” person, and the importance of that decision for the future.
  • Creating high-reaching goals through athletic, academic, or other forms of achievement.
  • Substance abuse: students feel anxiety from using illicit substances. They also suffer from feelings of embarrassment and distress.
  • Juggling school, work, friends, and family.
  • Financial stress: increase in costs to attend college.
  • Pressure of living a perfect life via social media.
  • Juggling the real world and the technological world.
  • Living away from home and not having a consistent support system.
  • Lack of sleep: “Being unrested can lead to decreased competency in many of these areas, which in turn can result in heightened stress and anxiety.”
Finding Help on Campus

College campuses offer “excellent resources for mental health support, including peer support networks, peer counselors, mental health professionals, substance use treatment support, and pathways to other helpful tools.”

To learn more about anxiety, click here