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Understanding Anxiety among University Students for Enhanced Well-being

In today’s fast-paced world, most young people spend a significant portion of their youth in university, a phase they are told should be their best. However, with the ever-increasing pressure and expectations, it appears they are not having the great time they were promised. Anxiety becomes a constant companion. We will be looking closely at anxiety among university students in the coming paragraphs.

Let’s discuss this unseen weight they feel while attempting to navigate the challenging twists and turns of university life.

Why are university students anxious?

University students often struggle with anxiety, a result of the demanding nature of academic life. The sheer volume of study materials, paired with the constant fear of falling behind, contributes to a widespread sense of stress among students. Many find themselves immobilized by a freeze response triggered by the immense pressure, hindering their ability to complete or even start tasks. The guilt stemming from perceived shortcomings in studying habits adds another layer to their emotional struggles.

Additionally, most university students, at some point, suffer verbal abuse from college lecturers, which compounds the issue. When students are subjected to harsh or demeaning language, it erodes their self-esteem and confidence, creating an emotionally charged learning environment.

Most university students are known to be financially dependent on parents, guardians, relatives, and sponsors for financial assistance. In the absence of these, students may turn to scholarship programs or loans to finance their higher education journey. Tuition, textbooks, accommodation, and other living expenses can create a substantial financial burden. The fear of burdening their support network with the high costs of education, uncertainties about the continuity of financial assistance, and the stability of external support, along with the realization that their academic journey relies on factors beyond their control, can contribute to creating a sense of responsibility, pressure, and a heightened sense of insecurity, amplifying stress.

The ever-present fear of failure looms large, casting a shadow over their academic journey and intensifying the emotional challenges they face.

Anxiety among university students

How Anxiety among University Students Manifests

The impact of anxiety could be physical and mental. There may be constant sleeplessness, restlessness, shaky hands, constant sweating, racing heartbeat, and headaches. It’s like the body’s reaction to feeling stressed or threatened. The toll of anxiety can lead to a profound sense of fatigue.

Meanwhile, mentally, there may also be persistent worry, racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, irritability, mood swings, or a feeling of being on edge. Procrastination, avoidance of certain situations, and seeking reassurance are common behavioral indicators of anxiety. All these lead to a feeling of constantly being overwhelmed and overstimulated.

While these signs and symptoms may seem like a mere list, the effect of anxiety may become overwhelming. Some students may navigate through it, and some may not.

Triggers for Anxiety

Here’s a glimpse of some factors that can stir the anxious currents for university students:

  • Beginning a new academic session
  • Challenging assignments and assignment deadlines 
  • Engaging in group projects
  • Falling ill
  • Time management
  • End-of-year exams
  • Extracurricular commitments
  • The overall competitive nature of the university environment… the list goes on.

All these have proven to be significant stressors

Academic Consequences of Anxiety among University Students

When anxiety creeps into academics, it becomes a real struggle. Procrastination takes center stage, making it hard for students to kick-start or finish projects. This delay sets off a chain reaction, missing deadlines and ending up with outright low grades.

When students face difficulty concentrating due to anxiety, it directly impacts their ability to retain and comprehend information in both class sessions and personal study. The struggle to focus in lectures or while reading makes it challenging to absorb the material effectively. This difficulty can lead to gaps in understanding, hindering the learning process. Consequently, when concentration is compromised, students may struggle to grasp key concepts, recall information accurately, and perform well in assessments.

On the issue of assessments, test anxiety can be crippling when it comes to exams. The pressure and fear associated with assessments can make it challenging to articulate concepts that you’ve previously understood. It’s like a mental block that affects your ability to express your knowledge either in written form or verbally. This anxiety-induced barrier can interfere with your performance, leading to underrepresentation of your true understanding.

Social Consequences of Anxiety

Anxiety has repercussions not only on academic performance but also on a student’s social life. Students struggling with anxiety at the university may encounter challenges in communication, forming friendships, and establishing meaningful connections with others. This difficulty can hinder their performance in group projects, result in strained friendships, and contribute to social isolation. Furthermore, these students may increasingly opt to avoid various social events, whether academically related or not. All these lead to a sense of isolation and helplessness. When social isolation begins to impact mental health, it initiates a downward spiral from that point onward.

Coping Strategies

Anxiety can get better. It can get better with time and implementing some of these coping strategies:

  • Proper time management
  • No procrastination/avoidance
  • Making a to-do list 
  • Setting realistic long-term and short-term academic, social, and financial goals
  • Proper rest, food, and proper hydration
  • Establishing a routine
  • Regular exercise 
  • Seeking support from family or professionals
  • Creating effective study plans
  • Going out to social events
  • Journalling
  • Using study apps
  • Using online mental health resources 
  • Taking up manageable side hustles to alleviate financial stress.


In summary, recognizing anxiety, identifying triggers, and applying personalized coping strategies are essential steps to alleviate the burden of anxiety on the lives of university students.

Igbadume Tecy

Igbadume Tecy, currently immersed in her 4th year of medical studies in Nigeria, discovered a profound passion for health writing which was born out of a realization that her non-medical family and friends lacked comprehensive knowledge about health and wellness matters. In response to this information deficit, Tecy made a determined commitment to bridge the gap by harnessing the power of the writing. In the last year, she embarked on a commendable mission by establishing a dedicated health blog. This platform serves as a reservoir of accurate, scientifically sound, and easily understandable information for a diverse audience. Tecy skillfully weaves her ongoing medical training into her writing, tirelessly providing readers with insights that empower them to make informed choices regarding their health. Tecy's impact extends beyond her solo efforts, as she actively collaborates with qualified healthcare professionals, fostering an environment of shared knowledge and expertise. This collaborative approach significantly enhances the credibility and depth of the information presented on her blog. Her vision is clear – she aspires to cultivate a society where health information is not only accessible but also comprehensible to individuals of all backgrounds. As a medical student, Tecy brings a unique blend of academic expertise and passionate communication to the realm of health writing. Her aspiration is palpable in her commitment to reach everyone, one meticulously crafted article at a time. In Tecy's world, health knowledge is not confined to textbooks but is a tool for empowerment, creating a ripple effect that resonates throughout communities. Her aspiration is clear – to reach everyone, one article at a time.