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If you are doing college in-person this year, you’re probably inundated with homework, tests and internships on top of clubs, social events and extracurriculars. It’s exciting and new for many of us, especially after a year of canceled holidays, socially distanced hangouts and dull zoom lectures. 

But for people with social anxiety, or any anxiety for that matter, this new post-quarantine social scape can be incredibly terrifying. 

It’s hard to pass up all the new opportunities coming your way when they were virtually non-existent last year. It’s also hard to maintain a full social battery 7 days a week. 

As someone who has had to deal with social anxiety for numerous years, my first quarter on campus has been extremely hectic, fun and exhausting all at once. And although I’m enjoying life away from home, I’m finding it hard to navigate the lines between socializing and recharging my social battery. 

After a few months on campus, here’s what I’ve learned. 

1. Be adamant

It’s easy to succumb to peer pressure; we hear it all the time. We normally associate it with drugs, alcohol, or parties, but not always when it comes to innocent outings. If you need a couple of hours or even a day to yourself, stick to your gut. The experience probably won’t be that enjoyable if you’re low on energy and in need of social rest.

2. Cut out time for yourself

I’m definitely guilty of procrastinating or overscheduling myself. If you’re anything like me, it’s a good idea to plan –and stick- to a designated time you’ve planned for self-care. 

The same way you set time for homework, friends, or clubs, do the same for yourself because you’re just as important.

3. Be honest with yourself and with your friends

One of the hardest parts of dealing with anxiety is feeling like you have to come up with lies excuses when you’re not feeling up to it. Lying to your friends constantly about your mental health can cause strong feelings of guilt, but you should never feel guilty about putting your well-being first. 

It sucks to say no to friends, but in the end, the healthy boundaries that you set now will translate to the boundaries you set in the future, especially regarding, family and work. 

Learning to put yourself first is not something done overnight, nor in a couple of days or weeks. It takes time to unlearn all the unhealthy and self-neglecting habits our society has forced us to adopt. Always remember to be patient with yourself.

Brianna is a second-year journalism major at Cal Poly SLO and is from Burlingame, California. She loves writing about music, women's issues, and general pop culture. She is currently on the PR track and hopes to go into marketing. In her free time, Bri likes to listen to music, play basketball, hike, and eat cool snacks.
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