Do you need help with your anxiety about going to University?

Author: Caroline Day

First off, if you’ve got into University, WELL DONE! That’s a real achievement.

Hopefully you’re excited by the prospect and have somewhere to stay when you arrive – whether in halls or in a shared house perhaps. But through all the excitement, are you also a teensy bit or even extremely anxious?

If so, that’s perfectly normal. It’s your brain’s way of alerting you to possible danger. But what (about going to University), could possibly be dangerous?

What can cause anxiety?

Common answers include leaving home for the first time, not knowing anyone, being in a new city, managing money, loneliness, awkward about making new friends, etc.

While they may be things that you’re concerned about, they’re not actually dangerous. Are they? Unless you think they are – and then the anxiety can settle in!

If you think about it, they’re not really dangerous but there is an element of the unknown – which may mean danger to you.

So, what’s causing your specific anxiety?

If you were to write down 5 things and then look at them again. Which ones are you really worried about? Have you ever heard of them happening to someone else? Have they ever happened to you? Or are you just worrying about whether they might happen?

Being anxious is often a sign that you’re about to achieve new things, move to the next level, make new friends; or any of the other things you’re anxious about. In those situations, a bit of anxiety is normal. It’s not a mental health issue.

The anxiety you feel at the top of a ladder will make you hyper-careful how you walk down. The anxiety you feel at a cliff edge is what will have you be careful how close to the edge you stand. And the anxiety you feel in a new situation is what’s letting you know you’re about to grow.

Preparing for anxious situations

So, let’s imagine something else. Let’s imagine you get to your student accommodation and you’re on the list with a room allocated. And let’s imagine that the person in the next room is really friendly. And let’s think about going to your first lecture and everybody is there with their hand out ready for shaking. Is that not a better way to prepare?

So, look at your list and see which ones you can pre-empt. For the others, have a plan of action.

The Universities are ready to welcome you and will do their best to look after you. Find out the sources of help n campus in case you should ever need them.

But, most importantly, get ready to celebrate a great achievement. Because you have already excelled to get there and in a few weeks, you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about.


If you feel you might need some help to get through anxious times such as these, contact me for support at:

Best wishes


This article also made a guest appearance in ‘Make The Future Yours’ careers magazine; read more here.

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