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Xana Keating

Professor Batty

English 101

26 March 2018

Feeling Anxious and Abandoned, then Absolutely Amazing: Creating Hope for Anxious

Students in College.

It is quite frightening to deal with your own mind, especially when it is deceivingly

worrisome. A worried mind is especially hard to deal with when faced alone in the eyes of

personal perception. This mindset makes even the simplest tasks feel like a huge obstacle to

overcome. It is impossible to focus on life’s opportunities when experiencing college life if

anxious thoughts and feelings are floating around distracting students from their greatness.

Anxiety causes college students to deal with the worries and stresses of day-to-day life all alone

both in the classroom and in state of mind, causing emotional and academic disadvantages. With

the help of faculty acknowledging and creating open discussion paired with student effort, the

students struggling with anxiety will have the resources to succeed mentally and academically.

Anxious college students generally deal with their feelings of worry all alone. The

loneliness can eat up these students, because there are many pressures and stresses that students

wish they can talk to someone about but never get the chance to. An example of a missed chance

is student psychological services. Inside most college campuses, counselors and students are not

equally weighted in terms of availability (Long 26). Students working towards an academic goal

are also meeting the challenges of life making their studies a stress. There is a great deal of
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negative stigma around asking for help in college mostly due to society’s standards. One might

have an idea of the perfect grand image of a success story by doing it all independently.

However, it is helpful to ditch this egotistical concept and shift to a team-player mindset in

gaining college success. Psychological services can guide a healthy mindset, so they should

make themselves reasonably accessible. After all, students take on loads of stress. Anxious

students should have access to professional support to help them get through college.

Any absence of support is enough for an anxious college student to feel alone in a world

of opportunities, causing emotional setbacks. These emotional setbacks contribute to decreased

academic excellence. Anxious students assume that their motivation has ran its course within

themselves. These students bottle their emotions up and disguise their emotional turmoil with a

brave face. Students with anxiety are prone to a sensitive and spiraling emotional state because

they blame themselves. Panic attacks, arguments with loved ones, and social anxiousness all

become a reason to quit it all. The article, “Future Anxiety and Its Relationship to Students'

Attitude toward Academic Specialization,” puts in perspective that students with anxiety are

more prone to, “disordering behavior, such as feeling of sadness, withdrawal, passivity and

inability to face the future and fear of expected social and political changes” (Hammad 55).

There are a lot of overwhelming decisions making in college. Anxiety may cause students to

develop negative attitudes towards college and life, therefore are unable to cope. The student also

makes decisions influenced by the combination of stresses. Because of these emotional setbacks,

the student experiences poor mental health.

Abandoned anxious students also have to conquer the disadvantage of academic setbacks.

A student cannot feed their scholarly mind with mental distractions unsolved. If a student is

stressed and does not feel release, it becomes impossible to study successfully. Symptoms of
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anxiety disorders include losing interest, declined productivity, and guilt. One might feel guilty

for wanting to work on their mental health instead of working on assignments, thus making said

student lose interest in putting in effort at all. This toxic mindset furthers internal conflict causing

the student to feel they need to choose between themselves or studies. These students need to

realize they can choose both. This is something that my boyfriend had previously experienced, I

dealt with this first hand as I was having a breakdown, crying over how hard school is. He had

told me, “You’re not alone. College is difficult. Everything is so overwhelming, and you

sacrifice a healthy mind for good grades. I was alone in that, and that’s what caused me to quit a

couple of years ago.” I thought about now. He is at peace with life. It is unfortunate that he

reached a quitting point, but it proves how important it is to not be alone during this crucial time

of education.

In order to help students with anxiety succeed in all aspects, the teacher must begin to

acknowledge and discuss anxiousness. It is essential for the teacher to put in effort for students

struggling with anxiety (Long 27). If a student feels comfortable in the classroom, there is a

better environment to engage in the learning process. It is also important to inform the students

of the campus’ resources. For example, a professor can remind students to visit office hours, or

let them know about psychological services, or the tutoring lab. A teacher can openly discuss the

difficulty of college, and let the student know it is not the end of the world when things go

wrong. A way to acknowledge anxious students is to have students discuss in groups. In the

article from the University of Texas, “Build your social confidence: a social anxiety group for

college students” the authors further the teacher’s role by suggesting, “that the issues for which

college students often seek help (e.g., anxiety, depression, interpersonal concerns, self-esteem

issues) are best addressed via group work” (Damer 10). This sets up an opportunity for anxious
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students to socialize in a safe setting. Working in groups contributes to increase self-esteem,

generates excitement about education, and encourages help through friendship. These simple

techniques can be implemented in the classroom, which works towards making the anxious

student feel like they are not alone. The role of the teacher should be to guide students through

their success and support them in their failure as well.

If the anxious student also engages in helping themselves, they can gain the

empowerment that drives a successful college career. The teacher’s role and the student’s role

paired together creates the dream team and breaks the social standards of help-seeking. This

shifted mindset opens doors for anxious students and students who are feeling alone. Mary Thuo

who conducted research on female Ethiopian students transitioning from high school to

university concluded in their article that, “the culture of seeking help should also be instilled in

students very early in life” (53). The shame students feel when they need help should be steered

in an accepting manner. The way to correct this is through the professional voice of the

professor, often looked up to as a mentor. If students see someone who’s gone through it all and

understands and supports them, the anxiousness is more likely to dissipate. Instead, there is

empowerment in the effort. There is pride in failure. There is eagerness to learn. And there is

motivation to help each other. Team effort and support is the ultimate tool for students with

anxiety. Once it is obtained, there is hope for academic achievement.

Anxiety is a root that’s planted deep in the soil of my soul. Its thick veins find a way

through the corners of my eyes, and that is how I see. It grows like mushrooms in my ears, and

that is all I can hear. Its thorns push its way out my nose, dripping blood onto my tongue, and

that is all I can taste. As a student with anxiety, becoming self-aware allowed me to study myself

as an example, which led me to understand what is necessary to achieve academic success in


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college. It is quite the wake-up call—that I wish someone told me seeking help was okay. I can

feel it in my heart that the only single gesture students with anxiety need is to be reminded: that

their anxiety grows like nature and forces itself through, yet they can still behold beauty.
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Works Cited

Damer DE, et al. “‘Build Your Social Confidence’: A Social Anxiety Group for College

Students.” Journal for Specialists in Group Work, vol. 35, no. 1, Mar. 2010, pp. 7–22.

EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/01933920903463510.

Hammad, Mahammad Ahmed. “Future Anxiety and Its Relationship to Students’ Attitude

toward Academic Specialization.” Journal of Education and Practice, vol. 7, no. 15, Jan.

2016, pp. 54–65. EBSCOhost,

library.lavc.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&

AN=EJ1103253&site=eds-live.

Long Weaver, Sandra. “High Anxiety.” Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, vol. 33,

Mar. 2016, p. 25. EBSCOhost,

library.lavc.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&

AN=113643271&site=eds-live.

Thuo, Mary, and Medhanit Edda. “Transition to University Life: Insights from High School and

University Female Students in Wolaita Zone, Ethiopia.” Journal of Education and

Practice, vol. 8, no. 4, Jan. 2017, pp. 45–54. EBSCOhost,

library.lavc.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&

AN=EJ1132933&site=eds-live.