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Education and Careers Work of any kind can get stressful at times. Ask in this forum if you need help with coursework, applications, and more.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Spoons Offline
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I'm not ready. - March 14th 2014, 01:26 AM

This could go here or in the Anxiety forum, but I decided on here because I'm more specifically asking about well, education and careers.

I keep rethinking my decision to go to college. Or, well, do anything in life. Jobs, even.

I've hit a brick wall. I want help for my anxiety but to do that I need to see a psychiatrist. There's one who is free at my college when I go IF I decide to use that one, but I still need to pay for medications, and if not I'll need to pay to see an outside one. So, I need money. To get money, I need a job. But I get so anxious I don't feel capable of working because I literally freeze up. I've noticed that in school. When I get anxious, I do absolutely nothing. I sit there and stare at what I'm supposed to be doing and/or cry. I went to an interview once but backed out, and now can't even get myself to apply anywhere. I've decided that I'll wait until I get to college since I'll be changing cities but even then, I do not. Want. A job. Thought makes me nervous. So I've hit a brick wall job wise and am running in circles.

Then there's college. Lately it's been turning into an oh god, this is happening and I don't think I'm capable of it, thing. I'm sitting here telling myself if I'm struggling in school NOW, what makes me think I'll do any better in college? Sit in the middle of classes and cry. Struggle with the math and science material. Probably not capable of even living on my own in the dorm room because I've never lived anywhere besides home and I'm not used to being away from the comfort of my mom doing everything for me. Yesterday I was laying in bed before going to sleep and suddenly imagined myself sitting in a classroom in college and filled with such dread and anxiety, I'm rethinking my choices. I have this huge gut feeling that says I will fail out or do poorly in college and that it's not the right place for me.

Idek. Ways to dispel these worries would be nice.


   
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Re: I'm not ready. - March 16th 2014, 04:08 AM

First, take a couple of slow, deep breaths. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Draw out those inhales and exhales for as long as you can (pursing your lips forces you to exhale more gradually).

Second, check out this article I wrote about countering your anxiety. You probably already know this on some level, but anxiety consists of mental AND physical components... so you have to tackle both if you want to see results. That's why I told you to start off with the deep breathing exercise. =)

Next, understand that it's perfectly normal to experience some level of anxiety when thinking about college and jobs! NO ONE feels prepared for these two experiences, because they're "unknowns." Please note that MANY people get through college and obtain jobs, though. I'm betting you're a very capable student and worker, but the "unknowns" are terrifying you. Again, that's normal - people fear things they don't understand or don't feel adequately prepared for. Fortunately, there are plenty of people who can support you during this transition from adolescence to adulthood. You do NOT magically know how to do everything after you turn 18. You gradually learn how to become an independent, competent adult. Give yourself credit, and plenty of time, to learn the valuable skills you'll need for the rest of your life. Trust me, the skills WILL come to you. You're not that different from the vast majority of people in this world - you CAN obtain those skills.

I understand your desire to seek professional help, but please know that there are things you can do prior to seeing a psychiatrist or other mental health professional. You can attend support groups and learn coping techniques for anxiety by reading books/articles from reputable individuals. You can practice those coping techniques NOW, and you don't have to wait for a professional to instruct you on deep breathing exercises, challenging maladaptive thoughts, etc.

I wish you all the best, and as always, you're welcome to contact me if you have questions or concerns about the college/work experience! =)





   
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Re: I'm not ready. - March 16th 2014, 06:29 AM

Hey lovely.

Want to know something? I didn't feel ready for University, at all. I've been here two years and sometimes it's still hard. But you know what? If I hadn't gone to Uni, I know I would have regretted it. And I think the same will be true for you.

You said yourself that you want to go to college. It's something you've wanted for a long time, something you're passionate about. Don't let anxiety run or ruin your life. You want this? Go get it.

Like Robin said, there are some other options that might be available. My campus has an anxiety support group, for example, which I've never been to but have heard good things about. It's so easy to get caught up in a cycle of 'what ifs' and 'what thens' where you talk yourself out of everything because there's the possibility that things might go wrong. But the question is: what if they go right? What if, in letting anxiety dictate what you can and can't do, you're missing out on opportunities that could open the whole world up for you?

I would say go to the free psych at your college, at least for a session or two. Don't worry about payment for meds that you may not need. Maybe they have other ways they can help you, so it's definitely worth a try.

I'm not as much help on the jobs front, having been lucky enough to not need one, but I understand how terrifying it can be. I'm the same way you are - if something goes wrong or I feel unprepared, I tend to shut down. It's not a good coping mechanism, but it feels safe. But the thing is, safety isn't always the best way to grow or learn. You've recognised that you freeze up when anxiety hits, so now you can start working on ways to overcome that. Things that work for me include breathing exercises, reciting poetry in my head, and imagining happier situations. Try some things out, see what helps you.

College is also a scary experience, but from what I've heard/seen/felt, it's actually easier than high school in a lot of ways. It's totally normal to be a little insecure about starting classes. My first day of Uni, the lecture theatre was basically filled with wide-eyed freshers who were as scared as I was. So you're not the only one going through this, and you won't be the only one who enters into college with a bit of trepidation. Chances are there will be a lot of ways you can get support from college. You can make or join study groups, for example. Talk to your professors and see if you can get some extra help. Connect with people who are studying the same thing as you, so you can work through it together.

As for independent living - yeah, that's anxiety-inducing. But it's also such an enlightening, empowering experience. You can't live with your parents forever, so there's no better time to strike off on your own. Little secret: nobody feels 100% ready for changes like this. But it's a learning experience, and if you don't let yourself try, you'll never know how far you can go, you know?

Just remember that you're a lot more capable than you give yourself credit for. College is going to bring a lot of changes, but who said they're going to be bad? You'e said yourself that things aren't so great for you where you are now, so who says these changes aren't exactly what you need? Have faith in yourself, and don't let anxiety tell you that you can't do something.

You know where I am if you need me. Chin up, Dez. You'll be okay. <3


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Re: I'm not ready. - March 17th 2014, 07:01 PM

Feeling anxious about college is a very normal thing. Even if you may not realize it, the vast majority of people are anxious and nervous about taking that big step. It's a big change for a lot of people, especially for those who will be moving to a new city, leaving their friends and family behind. I came to a university a couple hours away from home, and no one from my high school joined me at this university; 90% of my high school stayed at home, and went to the local university. I was tremendously nervous, as anyone would be. But, I got through it.

Colleges have a lot of programs in place to ease this transition because they know how difficult it can be for some students. Living in a college dorm, especially, there will be a lot of resources for you to use if you're ever feeling nervous or anxious about the whole thing. I'm not going to lie and tell you that you won't ever feel homesick, because you definitely will - especially within the first couple of months. But, as you make friends and get more and more involved with college life, you're not going to want to go home. Remember: going to college is an opportunity to re-invent yourself, if you want. No one knows you there, and therefore, you could be anyone that you want to be - without having your past tainting any kind of reputation that you had before. Take advantage of the fresh start.

Now, that being said, college is definitely not for everyone. However, I truly believe that you need to experience college first, before determining whether or not you belong there. High school is not a good representation of what college is; they're very, very different. My best advice would be to go into college with an open mind, make friends, and take advantage of the plethora of opportunities that will be available to you. You're very privileged in that you have the opportunity to go to college. If this opportunity is taken advantage of, it will be a complete transformational experience. I'm such a different person than I was four years ago, and firmly believe that living away from home and at university made the world of a difference.

Another piece of advice: get involved. There are clubs for everyone at all of the big colleges (and even most of the smaller colleges). I can personally guarantee that you will find at least one club, sport, etc. that you find interesting. When you do, participate and make friends. This will provide you with the opportunity to meet new people who share similar interests. Take advantage of all that college has to offer you. While academics are very important, that's only 10% (max) of what college truly has to offer.

With regards to your anxiety, I'd definitely recommend seeking help. The free psychologist sounds like an excellent first step, even if you do have to pay for the medication. I'm not sure how colleges work in the US, but at my university, we have student health and dental plans available for students who don't have that type of insurance through their parents. Perhaps you should inquire about this type of insurance coverage, and see what they recommend re: paying for your medications and such.

Lastly, I'll tell you right now: your money situation is probably going to suck for the next few years of your life. This is true for the vast majority of students, unless they come from very wealthy families who can sufficiently afford their education. As a college student, you're going to have to buy the no-name brand groceries when you go to the store, and you'll have to budget. Getting a part-time job is easy - especially once you have that first interview (trust me).

I think you should try to start small when it comes to jobs. Maybe you can apply to one company every week. Are you planning to work somewhere during the summer? If so, I'd recommend you start earlier rather than later. In my experience, companies are hiring earlier and earlier for summer positions. Perhaps you can start small by applying to a sales associate position in a retail store or something. Like I said, once you get through that first interview, the rest will be a piece of cake.

Going to college will help you get through this as well. Whether you like it or not, your dorm is going to be full of people you've never met before - and this can be a terrifying experience. Unfortunately, there's no way out of it; you're forced to talk to them and meet new people. But - this is a good thing. Like I said, it's a truly transformational experience, especially for people who aren't particularly outgoing and are somewhat uncomfortable in social settings. Use this as an opportunity to continue to develop your social skills and ease your anxiety. After a month of this, you'll be ready to tackle most interviews.

Go into college with an open mind, try new things, and make friends. If you do all of this, you'll have an awesome time.

Good luck.


Harvey Specter
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