University Counseling Center
The Anxious/Shy Student
Anxiety is a normal response to a perceived danger or threat to one’s well-being. For some students, the cause of their anxiety will be clear; but for others, it is difficult to pinpoint the source of stress. Regardless of the cause, the resulting symptoms may include rapid heart palpitations; chest pain or discomfort; dizziness; sweating; trembling or shaking; and cold, clammy hands. The student may also complain of difficulty concentrating, obsessive thinking, feeling continually “on the edge,” having difficulty making decisions, or being too fearful/unable to take action. In rarer cases, a student may experience a panic attack in which the physical symptoms occur so spontaneously and intensely that the student may fear s/he is dying. The following guidelines remain appropriate in most cases:
What You Can Do:
- Encourage the student to discuss his/her feelings and thoughts, as this alone often relieves a great deal of pressure.
- Provide reassurance without being unrealistic.
- Remain calm.
- Be clear and directive about expectations.
- Provide a safe and quiet environment until the symptoms subside.
- Be patient.
- Minimize the perceived threat to which the student is reacting.
- Take responsibility for the student’s emotional state.
- Overwhelm the student with information or ideas to “fix” his/her condition.
- Be judgmental / cynical.
- Get caught up and lost in their anxiety.
- Disregard the feelings.
Guide Table of Content
- Typical Concerns for UR Students
- What You Should Know About Student Problems
- Symptoms of Distressed or Distressing Students
- Responding to Distressed or Distressing Students
- Making a Referral to the UR Counseling Center
- Responding to Student Emergencies
- The UR Counseling Center
- Information About Confidentiality
- Mandated Risk Assessment
- Other Campus Referral Sources
- Academic Faculty: Classroom Climate and Prevention
- Responding After a Tragedy: An In-The-Classroom Guide
- The Grieving Student
- The Anxious/Shy Student
- The Student Who May Have an Eating Disorder
- The Demanding Student
- The Dependent/Passive Student
- The Depressed Student
- The Student in Poor Contact with Reality
- The Student Suspected of Substance Abuse or Addiction
- The Victim of Stalking
- The Victim of an Abusive Dating Relationship
- The Victim of a Hate Incident
- The Victim of Hazing
- The Student Who Has Been Sexually Harassed (Assaulted)
- The Suicidal Student
- The Suspicious Student
- The Verbally Aggressive Student
- The Violent Student
- The Absent/Disappeared From Class Student
- Responding to Students with Transition Issues
- Responding to the Student with Choice of Major or Career Concerns