Social anxiety is something I have been dealing with my whole life. I have been dealing with it in the context of the educational environment too. It is something that is an individual problem, and everyone experiences it differently. For me, it comes in the form of very persistent overthinking. Even now, while I am writing this, I am questioning everything that I do: Is the grammar correct? Are the sentences too long? Am I including all the perspectives? Will prospective students find this interesting? Do I have enough time to think about all these things and what is time, in fact? Obviously, I get carried away sometimes and become paralyzed in my thoughts. Nevertheless, the environment can greatly affect your thinking and perspective on life and social conduct and taking a step towards changing it can be scary. Starting my studies at Chalmers was like learning a new language, besides Swedish, and this time with the questions that help your thinking and do not harm it. Coming from an educational environment where the goal was to achieve a certain grade or final product; to an environment where the education itself is the focus has been eye-opening. All of the expectations that people had from me in terms of performance are gone and the only expectation left is to be interested in learning. Communication with the professors and teachers' assistants has become a more pleasant activity for me since there is no pressure put on you to answer a specific question, but rather answering the questions together in an engaging discourse. This kind of a change has made me more aware of which things in life I give importance to and more excited about exploring the world of science.
Everyone faces problems in their own way. In my case, I try to get ahead of the problem to figure out how I will handle it. Anxiety can show up in a lot of different ways, I would say. For me, anxiety is exactly what I described, getting ahead of the situation. Perhaps it could be a good thing, and that's the way I see it. I used to overthink about how to use my time wisely before coming to Chalmers. The time I take in overthinking is valuable as well, and I was wasting it. Once I got here, my perspective around the workload changed completely. I stopped being a workaholic, or at least I try to. I divide my time into classes, a part-time job that makes me happy (you can read more about it in a previous blog
), have a social life, and of course, time for myself. And let me tell you, it feels great! I was told that it would be okay to feel down during the winter in Sweden due to the darkness. I also spent a lot of time getting ahead of it. Little did I know that it wasn't going to be so bad. So far, I haven't felt the need to approach a specialist to be mentally healthy, even though I know it's important. Back in Ecuador, my home country, mental health is not taken very seriously within my social group. Chalmers has shown me that it is as important as checking your blood pressure or glucose levels. I know for a fact that the day I feel like talking to a professional about how I'm feeling, I will have full access to do so and that I don't have to be ashamed of it.
We, as Chalmerists, know that every person is different. Some people get triggered by studies. Some others find it social situations challenging. Maybe others get too stressed about the future. Whatever the reason is, Chalmers has your back. There is a website called feelgood.se meant to help every Chalmerist in a study-related problem. So if you feel you are under a lot of pressure, you’re overwhelmed, or just don’t feel mentally good, you can log into it and ask for help. There is another important service Chalmers offers, Funka. This is made for students with disabilities. Meaning that, Chalmers actually has a place for each of you.
Author: Marija and Nathaly