extremely bad social anxiety and labs at uni

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Anonymous #1
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Report Thread starter 1 week ago
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i'm in my 2nd year of a biomed degree and i get such bad anxiety before practicals I'm nearly sick. We only had a couple in first year and I didn't mind as much because everyone was new and most people didn't know people yet. Then everything went online for the second half of first year and as I'm very shy and introverted i didn't really make any effort in group chats to make friends so i ended first year not knowing anyone. I thought a lot of people would be in the same boat and today i had my first practical of 2nd year. I showed up and there was around 200 other students, all in massive groups chatting with friends they already knew.

i felt so sick with anxiety as i was the only one stood on their own and if today hadn't been an essential lab then i honestly would've turned around and gone straight back home. We then got inside and i sat down and we were told to get into groups of 4 with the people near us. Well the people near me were already friends and were like "oh sorry but we're already a group" so i had no group and had to go stand at the front whilst the lecturer found other people to put me with. I'm terrified to go to my other practicals whilst i don't know anyone else and its making me want to drop out as i can't imagine doing this for another year and a half. Has anyone else felt the same or have any advice? I feel like its too late to make friends as everyone is already in groups
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Miss_mischy
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I have anxiety and I know where you are coming from. Fortunately for me it has gotten better and I can handle situations where everyone seemed to have found their friends group within a society or other kind of group. BTW, what do you plan to do with your degree after university?

Unfortunately, I can't give you a solution that will fix your situation instantly. But I have a few pointers (and I know they can be hard to follow when you have this high level of anxiety, so just try as much or as little as you can):
- just go up to a group and literally tell them that you are trying to get to know your fellow students more (you don't need to tell them that you don't know ANYone at all; just a small excuse to get them talking)
- stop caring what other people think about you not having a group of your own (honestly, I don't think they even care or notice you are on your own)
- TALK TO SOMEONE (your tutor or your GP perhaps)
- try to not care about the opinions of others about you (that's probably quite hard)

Is the problem more that you fell isolated or that you can't seem to find a lab group? If it's the former I'd say maybe join societies or similar to make friends (I think most friends are from outside people's courses). If it's the latter, maybe the above pointers help.

I know that what I'm trying to advise you to do is probably going to be really hard; I really wish there was something I could do for you! With anxiety the problem is that it's there constantly (unless you're in remission) and you sometimes really just have to "push through". Don't let your anxiety win! Don't let it guide you, rather, do the things you want to do DESPITE anxiety.
Last edited by Miss_mischy; 1 week ago
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University of Derby
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(Original post by Anonymous)
i'm in my 2nd year of a biomed degree and i get such bad anxiety before practicals I'm nearly sick. We only had a couple in first year and I didn't mind as much because everyone was new and most people didn't know people yet. Then everything went online for the second half of first year and as I'm very shy and introverted i didn't really make any effort in group chats to make friends so i ended first year not knowing anyone. I thought a lot of people would be in the same boat and today i had my first practical of 2nd year. I showed up and there was around 200 other students, all in massive groups chatting with friends they already knew.

i felt so sick with anxiety as i was the only one stood on their own and if today hadn't been an essential lab then i honestly would've turned around and gone straight back home. We then got inside and i sat down and we were told to get into groups of 4 with the people near us. Well the people near me were already friends and were like "oh sorry but we're already a group" so i had no group and had to go stand at the front whilst the lecturer found other people to put me with. I'm terrified to go to my other practicals whilst i don't know anyone else and its making me want to drop out as i can't imagine doing this for another year and a half. Has anyone else felt the same or have any advice? I feel like its too late to make friends as everyone is already in groups
Hi there,

Sorry to hear you feel like that. It's great that you are reaching out for advice - the best way to feel better about something is often to get it off your chest and share it. So that's a great first step.

Firstly, even though it feels horrible, your bodies reaction to a pressured situation is fairly normal. I can be fairly certain everyone felt nervous too - even if they deny it! It may seem scary and difficult now, but facing those things in person and getting used to them is actually the best way to overcome fears, learn new skills and grow as a person. Try and re-frame your bodies reaction from 'nervous' to 'excited' - and try and look at how much could go right rather than how much could go wrong.

Lastly, make sure you make use of your tutors or lecturers. They are there to support you and help you grow. Have you tried setting up a 1-on-1 meeting with them to discuss this? They may have great advice for you and know a lot more about the subject area than I do.

Best of luck,

James - Student rep

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