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“SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder) No More”

Gaitree Seepersaud
December 4th, 2014
ENC 1102 Final Essay

In a typical college community, there are a variety of personalities among us. Some extroverts, others introverts, and then there are those who are somewhere in the middle. At some point in our lives, we have all either had a personal encounter with shyness or at least witnessed someone who was socially awkward. My cousin who I practically grew up with was diagnosed with social anxiety at the age of sixteen. At the time she did not read much into it, since she was always a very shy person and liked to keep to herself. It wasn’t until we started college and she was forced to do things outside her comfort zone, which began to terrify her. The simplest things that I thought were very natural like giving a speech in front of a class, introducing myself to someone, or even eating in public, these were all things that were very nerve wrecking to her. I encouraged her to join a club with me to help her with her social skills. But she was too scared to be judged by others for being too shy and awkward in social situations. Her first semester has definitely been challenging since she has had to learn to deal with making new friends, socializing with her roommates, and presenting in front of her peers in class. I definitely admire her dedication to enduring the college experience while dealing with her social anxiety. Although it has not been easy for a socially anxious individual like herself, she has always told me that my outgoing attitude has always pushed her to deal with her anxieties. I definitely feel that she inspires me for being so brave, by becoming a Phi Mu, and leaning to get over her social fears with the help of her Big sister. Which led me to choose to focus my research on social anxiety among college students. After growing up with my cousin who I am very close with, I have witnessed the challenges she has had to face throughout her life. By conducting my research I saw that there are a lot more students who have similar struggles, much like my cousin did, with their social anxieties. Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is quite common among college students especially since college can be a very stressful environment. Trying to juggle school, work, friends, and family while trying to figure out the rest of your life can all be very overwhelming. Most of us are able to bounce back and rise to the occasion. But frequent, intense, and uncontrollable anxiety that interferes with your daily routines could have a tremendous effect on a student’s academics as well as their social life.

It is one thing to have to deal with the symptoms that come along with being a socially anxious individual, but it is another when you have to worry about being accepted by your peers. In today’s society people are very judgmental and can easily make fun of you, or not want to be your friend, just because you might appear socially awkward. Sometimes it is as if, people don’t know how to act in a situation in which they should be more understanding towards someone with a social disorder. Perhaps if there were more awareness of social anxiety on the FIU college campus, students would have a better chance of coping with their anxiety and feeling accepted. They are just normal people who have the same desires to fit in, make friends, and enjoy their college experience. The only difference is that putting themselves out there is not as simple as it would be for people who don’t experience a pounding heart, extreme sweating, and avoidance in social scenarios.

I have taken the initiative to focus on the topic of Social Anxiety on the FIU campus because I feel that it tends to be over looked and more needs to be done to help those individuals. My research supports the following questions at hand, “How is social anxiety different from shyness?” and “Are we a society of anxiety?” In... Show More

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