How to Retain Your Confidence in College

During the summer before my first year at UNC, I was the most confident I had ever been. Yes, there were still instances where I was self-conscious, but I generally stopped worrying about how my body looked, if I was being obnoxious, etc. I was having the time of my life. And then college happened. All of a sudden, I was at UNC, a place I was unfamiliar with, far away from my best friends and family, my support system. My confidence plummeted. All my insecurities came rushing back. Did I look okay? Was I actually smart enough to be here, or was my admittance into UNC a fluke? Did my peers find me grating? As my first year came to a close, I regained a lot of my confidence, and my sophomore year has been amazing so far. Here are some tips to regain, retain or find your confidence!


1.  Don't Compare Yourself to Others

Okay, okay, easier said than done, right? Comparing myself to other people is the proverbial nail in the coffin for confidence. Whether you're comparing intelligence, body type, clothing, demeanor, etc., it's toxic. Insecurity can crop up in every aspect of your life. If you find yourself wishing you were more like a different person, try and remind yourself that you are your own person! Also, the people whom you're envious of probably have insecurities of their own; nobody is perfect, and we have to try to accept that! If you want to make a change, do it because it'll make you feel better, not because you feel pressured or are trying to emulate someone else. 

2. Dress in What Makes You Feel Confident

I always dress in cute clothes when I'm on campus. Knowing myself, I tend to get insecure when I'm on campus and see people looking so put together. To combat this, I dress in clothes that make me feel confident. Whether that is jeans and a sweater or a dress, I wear what makes me feel comfortable in my own skin. I know if I wear tighter clothing around my midsection, I'll be constantly thinking about what my stomach looks like. Instead, I tend to wear looser shirts. By doing this, I'm not constantly worried about what other people are thinking, allowing me to relax. A lot of my anxiety comes from physical appearance, so I also plan my outfits ahead the night before. That way, I'm not freaking out at 7:30 in the morning, right before my 8 a.m. class.

3. Get Some Alone Time

In college, you're surrounded by people all the time. If you live on campus, you're most likely rooming with someone else, studying in public spaces and on campus for an extended period of time every day. Make sure you fit some "me time" in your week. Having some time to yourself is key. You can relax, not worry about other people and de-stress from the week. It's nice if your roommate sticks to a schedule. That way, you know when you truly have time alone. If your roommate, suitemates, etc. don't have a normal schedule, carve out a specific time just for yourself. Go to the meditation room at the student union, relax on any of the couches on campus or find a bench at Coker Arboretum; the options are endless! Just make sure you have some time alone where you aren't worrying about outside opinions.

4. Keep a Journal

This is a tip that I need to pick up myself! I used to keep a journal regularly, the summer before my first year, and it was honestly the best thing ever. I could put down all my frustrations, insecurities and random thoughts in my journal, and it was very cleansing. I was always in a much better state of mind after I let everything go and wrote it all down. If you don't want to write in a journal, you can always talk to family or friends. Have some place to vent and voice your struggles. If not, they just keep building up and up, and we don't want a breakdown! 

5. Be Active in the Community!

I always feel my worst if I'm just holed up in my room. I need to have social interaction, and being in clubs, societies, etc. at UNC is one of the best ways to have that social interaction. I always felt insecure, last year, that I didn't have a huge group of friends, but whenever I went to club meetings I felt so much better about myself. There are so many organizations at UNC, so there's a very good chance that there is a club for you. For instance, being an active member of Her Campus has allowed me to connect with other women writers and editors on campus, and I'm not as insecure about my writing skills.


What do you do to keep your confidence up? Send tips and tricks our way!