Social Anxiety and College: How to Cope This Semester

By Samantha Glosser

College is a stressful time for most students and it can quite often seem too difficult to cope with the pressures commonly found on college campuses. For someone with social anxiety, a disorder characterized by persistent fear of negative evaluation by others in social situations, this reality is all too real. They are faced with public speaking, graded class participation, and the anxiety of interacting with other students in clubs, organizations, and even at parties. And don’t forget the terror of meeting your new roommate! Being completely emerged in these situations makes it easy to feel like your social anxiety is inhibiting you in all aspects of your college life; however, this does not need to be the case.

There are plenty of things you can do to treat your social anxiety before it gets in the way of your college experience. For some, self-help techniques are useful. Participating in deep breathing exercises and positive self-talk are such techniques. Deep breathing helps to alleviate some of the physical symptoms of social anxiety, while positive self-talk can lessen the effect that anxiety has on negative thoughts. However, others benefit from psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, or medications (antidepressants) targeted for social anxiety. This treatment plan typically includes exposure therapy, which gradually places you in anxiety-provoking situations while simultaneously teaching you relaxation skills to cope with your anxiety. It can help you to understand the irrational basis of your worries. A combination of psychotherapy, medication, and at home self-help strategies are an effective way to prevent your social anxiety from taking over your college experience.

If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from social anxiety disorder, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit

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