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    Hi all

    It's my first year of uni. I like to keep to myself and focus on work. Everyone else has been socialising with each other outside of class and I haven't, which is what I want as I don't have much time outside of work, uni and family life. Plus, I'm quite introverted and shy I usually get stressed over social situations and over-think things, which leads me to why I'm here...

    I had successfully kept a low profile in class until recently when I ended up receiving good feedback from the tutor on my first essay draft, which people overheard in the background.

    After this, I've realised people have started to pay more attention to me which makes me uncomfortable. My course friends have started including me for when they want to revise or they would ask me questions, which I don't mind helping on. However, one person has asked to see my essay (which we have all submitted already) but I am unsure if I should show it. This is mainly because whilst she was doing the actual essay she gave hers to other people in the class to proofread - passing me over (I'm assuming she thought I didn't know much). I don't know why it rubs me the wrong way but it does :confused: It feels like I'm being used, like I suddenly exist now that they see me as being academically adept. Am I being paranoid? Should I show her my essay?

    I also get them making comments like ''oh, you have nothing to worry about, you're an A* student blah blah' like I don't have to work at anything. I find everything just as hard as them and have to work equally as hard. So far, we have had no results from the essay or exam we did so there isn't anything substantial they can base this on. I don't like being labelled as 'clever' when I'm not. Am I being too sensitive? Any advice is appreciated as I have social anxiety, making it hard to judge people clearly. Thank you
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    I think you might be being a little bit sensitive- often when people say things like "you're an A* student" they are trying to give you a compliment. They may also have picked up on your anxiety and be trying to reassure you. It does sound like you might be cleverer than you give yourself credit for. However, if this makes you feel uncomfortable, it's ok to say something- maybe just to the person you get on best with, as they can then pass it on to the rest of the group.

    Don't show anyone your essays if you don't want to. Really, by giving her essay to other people to proof read, this person is putting herself at risk of being plagarised. In general, it's not encouraged to share your work around too much if you're all doing the same assignment. If she asks again, I would say something like "I'm not sure it's such a good idea to all share our work in this way, as we might end up influencing each other accidentally!". If she's genuine, she'll respect your worries. If she keeps pushing after you've said no a few times, then she probably just wants to use you (but that doesn't mean everyone else does).

    Ultimately, it seems like you don't really feel comfortable with these people. I know you say you're not at uni for the social side of things, but perhaps developing a social group outside of your course (e.g. through a society) might make it feel a bit easier to say no to people? Also, you'd have people in real life to talk these things over with.
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    Thanks for the reply I think the fact that I am naturally paranoid about things makes me uncomfortable in situations like this. I don't know how to say no for fear of sounding rude or offending someone. The plagiarism thing did cross my mind at some point but do people in first year take it seriously if you use it as a reason for not showing an essay?

    I think you're right that when they make comments, they probably mean it as a compliment. What would you say is the appropriate response in situations like that without looking awkward?

    There was a time when everyone had started their essays and I was the only one yet to start, one of the girls said 'Oh, all this time I thought you were the clever one'. (This is the girl who later asked for my essay) I felt really embarassed because everyone else started laughing. Again, this may be me being over-sensitive but ever since then I just shyed away from any links between me and 'cleverness'. I didn't know how to handle myself there. I guess this is going to be a recurring problem with me lol.
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    If you're bad at saying no, you do need to learn how. Also, "no is a complete sentence" can be useful thing to think in situations where you don't want to justify yourself. I would mention the plagarism in a friendly reminder sort of way, like you're looking out for her, rather than using it as a reason- maybe say something like "Getting into the habit of everyone sharing and showing each other essays might not be a good idea, because if someone accidentally uses the same phrase as you it would be seen as plagarism by the uni."

    I would also see the last comment you mentioned as friendly teasing- if you're not comfortable with this would you say something like "I have social anxiety, and this sort of teasing makes me nervous". That way, you're not putting the blame on anyone, but they should take you seriously. If you say something like "You made me feel uncomfortable" people can get more defensive, as they feel the need to justify themselves.

    If you are really struggling with this sort of social situation at uni, there should be help available from student support. Is the uni aware of your social anxiety? If not, perhaps speak to someone about it, and see if there is anyone available who could give you a little bit of extra help/support.
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    I will definitely take your advice on how to say no in this instance I think the way you have phrased it won't be offensive. No one is aware of my anxiety, I think I might just come across as being low on self-esteem sometimes. If things continue to stress me out, I may seek help from the uni in dealing with social anxiety. For now, I will try to use your advice as a guide. Thank you for taking the time to help me, it's appreciated 😄
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    No worries, I'm glad my advice has been helpful, and please feel free to PM me if you want some advice on similar issues in the future.

    I do think it is worth making the uni aware of your anxiety if they aren't already. It's better to let them know when things are mostly under control, because by the time MH becomes an issue, often speaking to someone about it is a big issue in itself. It doesn't have to be a proper formal conversation- just a chat with your personal tutor Unis want to help and support people, but there are so many students, they can't give you support if they don't know you might need it
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    Thanks, I might just have to PM you sometime in the future because I always seem to make even the simplest things more complicated in my head when it comes to people 😅

    I don't like people knowing about my anxiety because I feel like it makes me look weak or people will just laugh at me thinking it's not a big deal. I don't think I can explain to people around me exactly how it's like for fear of looking silly or odd. I know I shouldn't be thinking like this, I just can't help it.

    I am hoping with time I can start tackling these issues though!

    With regards to essays, have you ever shared any of yours with anybody, even after the submission date has passed? I feel like my work is too personal to share since I have insecurities about how good it is etc. but I have noticed how easily people share them in class. I was just wondering if I'm in the minority?
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    I've never really shared my work with anyone, except for my dissertation.

    University staff will definitely not think you are silly or weak be dismissive about your anxiety, and anything you tell them would be treated confidentially.
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    I will keep that as an option in the future
 
 
 
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