The following article was contributed by licensed counselor, Linda Waxse. If you find yourself dealing with anxiety, or simply want to learn more about the counseling center at Park, feel free to visit their website or schedule an appointment at counselingappointment@park.edu 

Enrollment is up at Park University and we’re experiencing one of the largest freshmen classes to date. With this first year, however, it’s normal to expect a certain level of anxiety. Most likely the anxiety of the first few weeks will lessen. However, if you feel after six weeks it hasn’t, consider stopping by the counseling center for some help. It’s important to separate normal anxiety from the anxiety that requires medical attention and treatment.

Do not let anxiety get in the way of living a productive daily life and experiencing success at school. The following are just a few of many situations that can generate anxiety and some solutions to implement.

Situation: You’re new to the residence hall and have never lived away from home before.

Solution: Make your new room like a new “home” for you. This is now your home away from home, so make it comfortable. Keeping photos of familiar faces out, having scents around that remind you of home, and try to keep it clutter free. A messy room is a stressful room, so do what you can to keep it clean.

Situation: So many new people! You’re meeting and talking to everyone, this can trigger anxiety – especially if you’re shy.

Solution: Be intentional about pushing yourself into new situations. Most likely many others are experiencing the same thing – so take comfort that you are not alone in these feelings. Don’t wait for others to approach you, be courageous and make the first effort. This alleviates the anxiety of waiting around for someone to talk to. Make new friends and do not isolate yourself. Please note, pushing yourself into new situations may heighten your anxiety at first, but there is less anxiety in the long run because you have established new friendships and experiences.

Situation: Homesickness. You are separated from family, old friends, or familiar surroundings.

Solution: Develop a new support system. This is a slow process and will not replace the support you have from your family – you are just adding to it! Find a balance, not too much or too little contact with family. It is essential to create a comfortable new environment without clinging too much to home.

Situation: You procrastinate, which is a guaranteed cause of anxiety. It’s a bad habit that is difficult to change.

Solution: Learn and practice time management. Break down tasks into manageable segments. Prioritize activities and keep a planner. Develop good, routine study habits. Keep a list, this is goal-directive behavior. Check off tasks when completed because meeting your goals contributes to well-being.  Take advantage of Park’s resources, the Academic Support Center offers information on how to study effectively and other time-management tips.

Situation: Feeling lonely.

Solution: Try to do something creative: draw, paint, journal, find a hobby. Get outside and experience nature, walk by the river or on one of the nature trails. Attend activities or join a club so that you feel a part of campus life. Remember, you are not the only one experiencing loneliness!

Lastly, I’d like to offer some easy yet essential final tips: Get some sleep, establishing regular sleep patterns are essential to well-being. Eat a balanced diet, don’t neglect your fruits and vegetables just because pizza is available every meal. And exercise, the Park student activity fee allows you to access our gym equipment – so take advantage of it!