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Topic: extreme pre-exam stress

  1. C74
    C74 avatar
    37 posts
    19 January 2020 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hello Summer Rose,

    Thank you for your reply

    Honestly, it’s fine that medicine didn’t work out at this stage. What I’ve been telling myself is that the entry requirements were put in place for a reason, and if I didn’t meet them, then it makes sense that at this point, I’m probably not ready for medicine yet. As ATAR was my downfall, I think the main thing I should tackle is to continually improve my work ethic, and to try and apply better study habits and routines. I’m staying positive and hoping that when I am ready, I will be able to transfer :) Or, as you said, change my mind about what I want to do in life.

    Regarding my current issue, I followed your advice about just accepting that Topic A will come up and riding it out, and it has worked well thus far. Instead of trying to insert myself into a conversation about something I have no interest in by forcing an interest, I just leave for a few minutes, enjoy myself on YouTube or chat with another friend, and when that topic subsides, I jump back into the conversation.

    I’ve gotten to know these people so much better that we’re planning on meeting up in real life, which is really exciting. My whole life, I’ve never been particularly ‘popular’, and this group of people are the type of friends I’ve always wanted, and it’s really fun to talk to them.

  2. C74
    C74 avatar
    37 posts
    19 January 2020 in reply to C74

    But the thing that worries me is *why* I may not have been particularly popular in the past, and whether that will affect me in meeting these people. There are two possibilities - my shyness, and the second (which is a bit silly but it’s an insecurity I have), the way I look.

    Regarding my shyness, I actually find it quite difficult to keep a conversation going when talking to someone in real life who I just met, because I get nervous and freeze up. I worry too much about getting judged. It’s far easier to talk online, and I’m worried that when I meet these people in real life, they’ll realise I’m not as exciting as I was online. And regarding the way I look - it sounds ridiculous, but I’m really paranoid about being judged on how I look. I don’t think anyone has particularly judged me about how I look, but the paranoia’s still there regardless, and I can’t get rid of it - particularly when it involves a group of people I have grown to know personality-wise online, but who have no idea what I look like.

    How can I ease my insecurities and fear when I do come to meet these people in real life? And would you have any suggestions on how to make friends in university, and maintaining friendships for longer than one conversation?

    Thank you so much,
    C74


  3. Summer Rose
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    Summer Rose avatar
    71 posts
    20 January 2020 in reply to C74

    Hi C74

    I was never "popular" in high school either and I too wished things were different. But when I look back, I realise the girls I wanted to be with were doing things I wasn't really interested in-- smoking, drinking a lot of alcohol at parties, cutting class to go smoke pot or go to the shopping mall and having sexual relationships.

    I spent most Saturday nights babysitting and my friends would come over to watch movies or I'd talk on the phone to them all night. I liked going to class and I actually enjoyed reading in the library (total nerd, okay, but I did go on to study journalism and become a writer). As far as boys went, I was a late bloomer.

    The girls that were my friends were a lot like me, friendly, responsible and thoughtful. What I'm saying is that, I think there is a difference between being likeable and being popular and, while they're not necessarily mutually exclusive, I'm not sure that the "popular" girls were all that likeable.

    So, when you say, " I’ve never been particularly ‘popular’, and this group of people are the type of friends I’ve always wanted", the "mum" in me says go slow. (I could be misinterpreting and completely off base, and if I am please know that I mean no offence.)

    I think you will be better able to assess the prospect of genuine friendships after you meet. My advice is to project confidence. Hold your head high, make eye contact and smile. Be warm and friendly and people will be drawn to you. And remember, they will be as nervous as you.

    It can help to make a mental list of things to talk about before you meet. Join in when you have something to say. Giving a compliment is also a way to start a conversation (e.g. Love your jumper, where did you get it?)

    If you get stuck, ask questions. Most people like to talk about themselves, so give them an opening. Being shy can be a blessing because the others will think you are a good listener!

    I understand the fear of being judged, particularly as I know you just want to fit it. But you have no control over the judgements other people make, so I would encourage you to let that go. You look the way you look. And if somebody doesn't want to be friends for such a shallow reason, I'd suggest you are better off without them. However, my guess is that you look fine and are likely judging yourself more harshly than anyone else ever will.

    Kind thoughts to you

  4. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
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    Summer Rose avatar
    71 posts
    21 January 2020 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi C74

    I was reflecting on my response to you and realised that I didn't answer your broader question about making friends at university.

    It really helps to have a common interest to build a relationship upon. I would suggest that you start with your classmates.

    Go to all classes (not watching on-line), tutorials and study groups, and build a network of people you recognise (make eye contact, smile). Start by saying "hi" when you see them around class or campus and, if they're responsive, start a conversation about your study subject. Then broaden it. It will take a bit of time but you can't jump from eye contact to best friends overnight.

    I would also suggest joining a couple of clubs. This way you will broaden your potential friendship pool to choose from. Clubs also usually give people a chance to bond by working together on a common cause, whether it’s preparing for a chess tournament, supporting a political party or putting on a play. These types of bonds usually endure.

    Accept all social invitations, even if you're anxious or unsure about going. This will give you a chance to practise your social skills and meet people. The worst that can happen is that you realise the event really wasn't for you and you go home early.

    I guess what I'm saying is that you have to put yourself out there a bit, be a bit vulnerable and take some chances. Not all of your efforts will result in a positive outcome. This is not necessarily a reflection on you and will more likely reflect what's going on for the other person involved. They too could be shy or having a bad day or just not pick up on the social cues or opportunity you are providing for contact. You just keep trying because as my Grandmother used to say, There is a lid for every pot.

    Kind thoughts to you