Starting College - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-12-2006, 06:33 PM Thread Starter
 
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Starting College


Guys, please offer me your best short-term tips for coping. In two weeks I go off to college as a freshman, and I know how important first impressions are, unfortunately.

I'm not looking for long-term solutions ... those I'm working on. I'd just appreciate specific advice for isolated episodes, such as the orientation events, first parties, passing conversations in the dorm hallways...

What's really got me worried is that unlike a large university where you can blend into the woodwork and not feel under the scrutiny of everyone, my school is 1,600 kids in TOTAL. So my entire class will be about 400 kids, all of whom will be gossiping and cliquing it up. It also doesn't help that the school has a notoriety for being elitist and snobby
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-13-2006, 06:03 AM
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I am not looking forward to going back to college myself as I hate the cliquish nature of my school. Plus I am bad at first impressions (why should I have to be different the first time?).

I would say just try not to worry about making a good first impression as everyone there will eventually learn more about you and may like you more than you think. Just don't make the mistake I've been making for the last 3 years in college which is ignoring a lot of social situations (because of SA obviously). The only way to conquer your fears and worries is to face the music!

Good luck!
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2006, 02:19 AM
 
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Hi! My name is Andrew. I am also starting college in few brief weeks and I am so nervous about it because I feel like it's my only chance at a better life. If I blow this opportunity, then when will the next one come? I'll be doomed for another few years, if not forever. But i hope and dream for a better future always.

All I can offer is my support, but not alot of coping tips, except when you feel anxious in a certain situation, take a second and focus on your breathing. Breath from the diaphragm, not the chest. But what works for me is motivating myself, positive internal monologue. And I know that it is hard not to worry, but try to think about different things and not about the situation that excites you...

I don't know. I hope I helped at least a little bit. But I'm sure you have your own little coping techniques yourself.

But, yeah, I'm at the same stage in life and honestly, it made me feel a bit better knowing that someone out there is going through a similar life events... so to say.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2006, 10:16 AM
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Yeah don't worry I'm a little discouraged too. My social life at college has incredibly sucked the whole time. And of course that pretty much hinders any chances as far as dating goes. So I'm trying to concentrate on finding a social life first. Not too sure how my last year will go but I'm trying to figure out a way to not be worried about the 'sucess' of it seeing as how I will never be able to get my college years back.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2006, 01:04 PM
 
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I'm gonna have to disagree with Chameleon and say first impressions are everything in this situation. you have a few weeks timespan to make an impression on your peers. I did better socially in my first few months of college than I ever have since so take it from me that this is a huge opportunity.

first of all, let me tell you, I had no social skills going into college. I dropped out of high school due to my ADD when I was in 10th grade and got my GED, and only reason I got into a decent college was due to my SAT scores.

so here is my advice: the first weeks of college everyone is sort of lost without the social networks they've had their entire lives. most people have never had to start all over socially so there is a lot of shyness and timidness. use this to your advantage.

as a male there is one thing that people will respect you for more than anything else. that thing is balls, cajones, whatever you want to call them. when people are timid, afraid to talk, go up to them and introduce yourself. it doesn't matter that if you can't make 'normal' conversation, the key is that you go up to them, and they will respect you for it. people will want to talk to you no matter how awkward you are because they don't know anyone else, and moreover they are feeling the same way!

once your conversing to people, its only one more step to say, hey lets go to dinner together, or lets hang out at my room later. remember there are no social groups yet so there is nothing to fear. whatever you do, do not stay in your room, or hang out in the corner. be in the middle of it, embaressing yourself. trust me, you play this right and it will set the tone of the rest of your time at college.

best of luck man. I wish I could repeat my first year of college, it was such a blast .. so enjoy it while you can.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2006, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
 
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Likewater, that's really good advice. It reinforces what I've felt to be true for a couple of years.

It's just not that simple to push yourself out of your shell and be that ballsy and extroverted. I'm really hoping I hit a good stride with the medications and supplements I'm trying out, because I know that even if I have a short-term crutch for those first few weeks, the results will make a crutch not necessary at all and I'll probably end up having four good years.

And, not gonna lie, acknowledging this also makes me feel more pressured. Like it's terribly important to BECOME so ballsy and extroverted, as if performing, for everyone's first impressions...
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2006, 01:54 PM
 
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you should try to work yourself up to it. for me, what really helped is my friend and I backpacked through europe the summer before. obviously not an easy thing with SA but I was forced into a lot of uncomfortable situations. I wasn't all that nervous to start college because I was already on a high, like I could do anything.

do something you wouldn't normally do, make yourself uncomfortable. say hi to people on the street, tell women you lost your dog and desperately need their help, go skydiving (it really will make you fearless if you're willing).

last piece of advice. just realize how cool it is to be starting college, its nothing to be scared of, just be excited as you should be. its gonna be awesome and you will do fine.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2006, 02:28 PM
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I'm not starting college ... it's going to be my last year. And I've still haven't made good progress with the whole friends thing. Throughout the years I would be meet people sparingly in different classes or clubs I tried out. I feel like it's already too late because by the time the year is over, I will already be graduating.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2006, 02:40 PM
 
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Wow, alot of stress going on here, well I'll give whatever advice I can.

I am currently a Junior technically, (Creditwise I'm not sure) And I've been through a whole lot, I'm still not at my best but I'm surviving.

I've gone through struggles in my belief systems, Identity crises, suicidal moments, family divisions, and the whole 9 yards,etc.

My first year of college was the most fast paced year of my life, it was very fun and very stressful at the same time but somehow it all balanced out. I suppose my greatest challenge would come the last term in the spring and the summer break off. I went through alot of confusion, alot of moments where I just didn't know where I was AT ALL.

The best advice I could offer to you is to know where you stand. Know what your goal is after you graduate, and know how you are going to evolve and what drives you. Honestly, any period in life is tough, for some people they have a hard youth, others have a hard time at old age. Know your strengths and weaknesses, it could mean the difference between success and failure.

Honestly, Social life is over-rated. In my first year almost everyone in my freshman class knew me by December or so, through one party or event. I was doing what your supposed to do in college first year, barely maintaining a 2.4 GPA and drinking three nights a week. Trust me having a million ASSOCIATES, (not friends) doesn't really help you that much. In the end it just becomes a burden. Even though I knew alot of people that didn't help the suffering I was experiencing inside. I just spent time between groups trying to run away from myself.

However, it's important to know yourself and your life path and your LUCK. There are certain problems I have that you will never have to deal with, and certain problems you have that I will never even see.

I'd say it's important to know your nature and what you are here for, because it will determine the challenges you have to overcome.

Today I don't know if I'm better off than I was 4 years ago, it seems I have gotten stronger and my challenges have as well, so in the end life is about changing with the tides and not resisting progress.

But there are somethings that I will never regret,

I don't regret not getting laid so much, because when I look at all the people my age that have STD's and kids, I wipe the sweat off my forehead thanking God I don't have to deal with that stuff.

I don't regret not having a relationship or anything like that. School is my main focus and I'm getting the education for ME, not for someone else.

I don't regret the pain I went through, because each challenge I overcome within myself is more proof that I am stronger than I think myself to be, because I'm still living and breathing on this dimension.

But as a last note of advice, BE CAREFUL who you have sleep with, and personally I advocate for abstinence, (Ha, I thought I would never say this in my life) but simply because of four reasons:

1) STD's can be transmitted from skin to skin contact and oral contact. (meaning condoms don't protect against things like herpes and skin viral infections).

2) Alot of people are asymptomatic, (meaning they don't have any symptoms) from STD's, so you can't tell just from looking at them

3)Alot of people don't care about their health, they see something is wrong but don't go to the doctor for it, so it's likely they don't even know they have something.

4)POD=Post-orgasmic disgust

I don't like to talk about this alot but I have experienced it and it is not a pretty feeling. I felt more suicidal in this moment than when I thought everyone in the world hated me. I felt like a dirty wash cloth and wanted to throw up, take 15 showers and go to a radiation plant to have the person's smell burnt off my skin. That's how disgusted I was...

Waking up to see their hideous morning face, the smell of dried alcohol and other fumes were something I have repeatedly tried to bash out of my skull but to no avail.

Yes, she was attractive but after the alcohol wore off, along with the pounding headache I saw her ugly empty soul which felt like the frustration and emptiness you feel as a child when seeing "GAME OVER" after losing in Mortal Kombat II. Except multiply it by 7 million times.

Please heed these words. They could save your life. Also know that MEN suffer from POD 10x more than women. Women suffer from another kind of disgust which is known more so as feeling "violated and dirty".

As a man I can just theoretically "wipe off" the persons pheremones off my body with a shower, some excercise and electro-shock therapy, unfortunatley with women the process is more complicated and takes much more time.

Since women are nuturing (I don't even know if that's how you spell it ,sorry) and more on the recieving end it's more difficult to just "brush off" the feeling of the "walk of shame" back to her dorm room or wherever.

Personally when I reached my bed the following day I slowly realized that if the incident occured in my room and I had to kick her out, I would have jumped out the window in agony for having sullied my precious bed spread with her disgusting juices.

Likewise ladies, please, if you are looking for a quick lay while in a drunken stupor, alleviate the following mornings pain by choosing a neutral location (a friends house) which you can stay away from for at least 2 months following the shameful act.

This has been a really long post, I'm sorry for taking up so much space but please if you don't remember anything remember this:

1)Don't sleep with just anybody.
2)Avoid one night stands. (which lead to inevitable POD)
3) Don't beat yourself up for not having friends, most people you call your friends aren't really "friends" but associates anyways. A friend is someone who will go to jail with you, stay in the hospital over night making sure you are okay, and sit all day with you eating ice cream and listening to your boy problems.

As for men we don't have friends. As a man I classify other men into 4 categories.

1)Nobodies
2)Cockblocker (A nobody which appears to be preventing your success with the opposite sex.)
3)Friend (has something in common with you)
4) Link (Associate- explores common venues with you)

I'm sure I will be shot for posting such a long post but I haven't vented in a while, please excuse me while I go finish venting elsewhere....
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2006, 02:47 PM
 
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Hey guys.

I just actually graduated from university and I totally get what you guys are going through.

I guess all I will say is the great thing about college is the diversity of people that attend. Often you will find those several people that click with you. I also found that university was not as "cliqued" as highschool was and people don't judge you as artificially as highschool.

I made a lot of international student friends but unfortunately now that we have all graduated many of them are gone back home.

I actually met a lot of good people in university and some of which became very good friends that I still keep in contact with now.

But Chameleon is right. The best time to make friendships is your freshmen year. Most likely the friends you make during orientation will be the ones you stick onto to for the rest of your university. Those were my closest friends. Another way to make friends if you are not into joining clubs and etc. is during groupwork.

I guess you will know who will be your good friends (as oppose to just people you meet and keep in random contact with) will be when making the friendship is almost "effortless".

Even though I am quite a loner, university was a great social experience.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2006, 02:49 PM
 
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Also I repeat as men we don't have friends, #3 on the final list is supposed to be named "Activity partner"

An activity partner is someone that has alot of the same interests as you but as men we can not call each other "friends" because we don't share "precious moments" or "emotions". (That is how we have been socialized. )

A more appropiate word would be "Brother" which is someone who would help you out in a fight, the purpose of a "Brother" is to team up against the world of other men and increase our odds of being dominant by forming a temporary alliance. Once victory has been assured ( Getting laid, Beating some one down) The alliance is called off.

This may seem to be very sarcastic or a parody but I assure you in my university this is 100% true.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2006, 03:03 PM
 
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Jon is right.

You will probably have many associates in college but only a few will actually be really good friends. You know the ones who you plan your trips with and celebrate your bdays with. Many of the people you meet during social outings and in class are associates who you only randomly chat with if you see them here or there.

I always had a joke with my friends and that was we probably don't know 95% of the people in our faculty class despite having one time or another chatting with them somewhere.

I once read having a network of 4-10 people was low and I thought that was crazy because thats all I really have. Not sure if that network included acquintances/associates but having more than 10 real good friends is almost impossible to think for me.
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