Home > Kids > Behavior and Discipline > Behavioral Problems > Anxiety > Afraid to Go to College
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Afraid to Go to College

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: I'm an 18-year-old who's both excited and nervous about planning for college. I sometimes get so stressed out that it feels like someone is strangling me. Everyone around me thinks I'm a great student and that nothing is wrong, but my anxiety is really starting to affect me. Sometimes an attack will start out of nowhere. I don't feel I can talk to my parents or anyone else about this problem. What should I do?

A: The anxiety that you are experiencing is quite normal. Many graduating high school seniors begin to have anxieties about whether they will be able to succeed in college. Some of these anxieties may also be about leaving the familiarity of your home, family, and friends. You are moving from a very secure sense of who you are and what you can do into the college world of the unknown. Your fears are probably heightened because everyone is assuming that you can't wait to get to college and that you will continue to be the great student that you have always been.

So many kids in your position keep their fears and anxieties to themselves. Opening up to your friends and family about these anxieties will help you, I assure you. Don't think that you will disappoint your family or that your friends will think less of you if you acknowledge these intense feelings. Keeping these feelings inside will only contribute to more frequent bouts of anxiety. I have counseled many graduating seniors who experienced the same anxieties that you are feeling. Every one of the seniors that I counseled felt like a great burden had been lifted off of them once we began to talk about their anxieties.

Consider a few sessions with a therapist. Don't cheat your parents out of an opportunity to understand and support you during this very confusing time in your life. Please write me back once you have begun to talk about your feelings to someone. I will look forward to your letter, whatever you decide.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

highlights

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

10 Best E-Reading Apps for Kids
Whether your child likes reading fiction, non-fiction, magazines, or storybooks, these top-rated e-reading apps will help build her own personal library and encourage her love of reading.

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks