Moving to halls can be a daunting prospect. Moving to a new city, living away from home for the first time, lots of new people. This can be especially daunting if you have social anxiety. So, here is a guide on moving to halls when you have social anxiety, written by someone currently living in halls with social anxiety.
This is a great way to meet people before you even step foot on campus. For me, I joined my hall group chat and my course group chat and I’ve made some great friends from both. It’s a good thing to do as it means that you won’t have as many awkward conversations when you first meet someone, and you’ll be able to recognise people from the chats, meaning you’ll already have something to talk about when you meet in person for the first time.
Put Yourself Out There
While this may seem counterproductive, putting yourself out there is the only thing you can do. You never know who you may meet. Joining societies, getting to know people in your course or from your hall can help to ease your social anxiety.
Check out this guide with some more advice on how to get past the awkward small talk when you first move to university.
…But Know Your Limits
You don’t have to go to every social event. Prioritising yourself and your mental health is the most important thing, no matter what. If you’re in need of an excuse, saying that you’ve got work to do is a good one. Not only is it almost certainly true, but people will understand and you will be free to spend your time by yourself.
Check out our guide on how to look after your mental health during your studies.
Stay In Touch With People From Home
It’s important to stay in touch with people from home. While it may make you feel homesick, maintaining those relationships with your family and friends is a good thing. Your friends from home, while they may not be going to the same university as you, will also be going through some of the same experiences, so keeping in contact with them will be good for your mental health and can alleviate some of the social challenges of university.
For your first year, your choice of accommodation is an important decision. Both catered and self-catered halls have their advantages and disadvantages when you think about it from the perspective of someone with social anxiety. You can read our full breakdown of catered vs self-catered accommodation here.
A benefit of catered accommodation is that you won’t be staying in a flat, so you will have your own individual space, away from other people. But, for meals, you will have to go to the dining hall, as you won’t have the space or the equipment to make your own food. The dining hall is can be a stressful place, let alone if you have social anxiety or not.
Then, with self-catered accommodation, while you won’t have to worry about the dining hall, you will have to deal with cooking in a shared kitchen, which can be stressful if you do not get on with your flatmates. Some ways to deal with this anxiety are to cook food that can be put in the oven, meaning that you won’t have to watch over it and risk running into one of your flatmates and having an awkward conversation. Alternatively, if your flatmates are constantly in the kitchen, having some snacks, ideally healthy, in your room can do the trick, so that your anxiety is not having as large of an impact on your physical health.
Living in halls can be stressful, there’s no doubt about that, especially when you have social anxiety.
While there isn’t anything you can do about your social anxiety, there are things you can do to alleviate the stress. Putting yourself out there when you feel up to it, talking to people you trust and most importantly, prioritising yourself and your mental health, can make the university experience as enjoyable as possible. Just remember, you got this.
A student from University of Nottingham.