Sometimes making the decision to study at university can seem daunting. Whether you’re taking your first step into uni study, coming back to it after a break or considering studying online for the first time. So we have some expert advice to help you overcome anxiety – and get you where you want to go.
Bushra Aman, a student counsellor at Charles Sturt University (CSU), has a lot of experience in helping people address their fears, and here she shares her top four strategies for conquering your doubts when it comes to the decision to study at university.
1. How to refocus on your goals
You’re considering studying at university because it aligns with a goal you want to achieve. It’s the unknown journey to get to your goal that can be a bit scary. Keeping your eye on the prize will help you take the leap…
“Whether you want to change careers, start out on a career path or study something you have always been passionate about, reaffirming where you want to go, and what you want to achieve, can be empowering.
“One good way to do this is to discuss it with someone who has already done either the particular degree you are interested in or a similar one, and/or someone who is working in an industry you want to work in. You can find discussion forums online or contact a CSU alumni to discuss how they worked towards their career goals.
“Knowing as much about the course as possible before you start – and how it can help you get where you want to go – can also help you overcome some of your fears. The course becomes more real, rather than an abstract concept – like fear – and it is easier to see how it fits in with the achievement of your ambitions.”
2. Start small (breaking the big unknown down)
Turn a fear of the unknown into a practical path to success by breaking the overall goal of studying at university into smaller steps.
“If you are wary about taking the leap into university, that it seems overwhelming to undertake a degree, remember that you can start off with a single subject. Or if you are worried about taking on a master’s degree, you could start with a graduate certificate and work your way up in increments to the master’s. The flexibility that CSU has around pathways to your degree, and being able to alter your study load, can be a key thing in helping you master your fear.”
3. Get the details so you know what you’re dealing with
It may sound simple, but the unknown can become a lot less intimidating if it is, well, better known. And when it comes to the decision to study at university, if you map out the details you will feel more confident and in control of your destination.
“I had one student who wanted to do the UMAT [Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test] exam, but was considering not doing so as she said that so many people had said it is a very hard exam and so many people fail. But she didn’t actually know what the test involved. So, I suggested she try some of the test papers available online. And she found that she was much more capable at the requirements of the exam than she thought, and went on to successfully take it.”
4. Remember that you’re not alone (a problem shared… )
A problem shared is a problem halved. And sharing your fears can be a great way to start overcoming them – at any stage of your study journey. Remind yourself that you’re not the only one who has ever felt anxious about making the decision to study at university.
“Remember that you won’t be the only one with this fear. Other students will have their own concerns as well. And communicating with others in the same position, particularly on the same course, can be a great help. And at CSU there is always someone who can help you, a support service you can contact to get advice – whether on assignments or managing your study load.”
CSU has student advisers who can help you with the decision to study at university. You can get in touch for an obligation-free chat to talk through any concerns and see if university study is right for you. All you have to do is reach out and contact us in the way that best suits you.