Social anxiety might easily be confused with shyness—however, social anxiety is an extreme fear of being judged or scrutinized by others in social or performance situations. The unique experience of college may result in increased feelings of loneliness, inadequacy, and shyness that may lead to social anxiety disorder. Being socially anxious during college can have adverse effects on academic performance—it may be difficult or impossible to give presentations in class, participate in discussions, or be engaged with clubs and activities on campus.
Here are some common signs of social anxiety:
- Intense fear of interacting with strangers
- Fear of situations in which others may judge you
- Worrying about embarrassing or humiliating yourself
- Avoiding doing things out of fear of embarrassment
- Avoiding situations where you might be the center of attentions
- Difficulty making eye contact or talking to people
- Experiencing things like blushing, sweating, trembling, racing heartbeat, or upset stomach before or during social situations
- Worrying so much that it disrupts your daily routine
For someone with social anxiety, their experience might look something like this:
If you believe that you may be dealing with social anxiety, contact the Student Counseling Center for information on treatment options. There are several ways to manage and alleviate social anxiety symptoms.