Self-esteem is one of the most important aspects of an individual’s personality that can shape their identity and affect their entire life. Adolescence is one of the crucial periods in a person’s life when their self-esteem can significantly decrease. This is a rather challenging time because of physical and psychological changes that occur, as well as the newly discovered perspective of the world and its challenges. During adolescence, a person also makes one of the most important steps in their life – going off to college. This is yet another challenging and exciting period that brings numerous changes that can have a major impact on their self-esteem and, thus, their entire life.
Pre-College: The Roots
Experience before enrolling in college can greatly influence one’s attitude towards the upcoming period and their belief in their abilities to cope with it well. A person who has been bullied throughout high school and become socially alienated might be anxious about going off to college. Since these individuals typically have low self-esteem, they might think that they won’t be able to fit in, which can affect their academic achievements. Individuals who are simply uncomfortable about changing their environment or have social anxiety can also start their college years alienated from others and depressed, thinking that they won’t be able to get through it.
On the other hand, hardworking students confident in their knowledge will be enthusiastic about college. If they have a healthy self-esteem, they will be more likely to achieve academic success. However, students who have fallen behind with their education might encounter major changes that might be too overwhelming. These individuals should start preparing for their entrance exams early on to avoid disappointment. This is particularly important for students who want to study medicine because they might be under the greatest pressure. They should ask for additional help to get through this stressful period and talk to their teachers or school psychologist to see if they can guide them through the process. If they don’t feel comfortable asking them for help, they can always prepare online by opting for a comprehensive UMAT tutoring or GAMSAT tutoring depending on their high school education. This way, they will feel more confident in their knowledge and abilities, which will lead to better academic performance.
College: The Problem
College experience itself can be quite stressful and overwhelming, affecting one’s self-esteem and general personal development. Even a person who has got into the desired college can be disappointed because it didn’t meet their expectations. With their families and partners being on the other side of the continent, they might feel lonely, depressed and anxious. They can start focusing on negative outcomes, which will lower their self-esteem and self-satisfaction. All of this can impede their academic achievement and cause them to become socially withdrawn and wallow in self-pity.
Individuals who haven’t got into college can also lose their self-esteem. They start doubting themselves and feeling as if they weren’t in control of their life. They can give up from trying to get into college next year because they believe that they will fail again. Even if they do try, the belief that they will undoubtedly fail will be a major source of anxiety, which can lower their chances of success. Consequently, this will reinforce their low opinion of themselves that they can have for the rest of their lives.
You: What Matters
If you’ve identified yourself with any of these cases, it’s time for you to stop and take an objective look at your life. You should talk openly with your parents who can provide you with help and support. Don’t focus solely on the negative aspects of your life because they will only bring you down and prevent you from overcoming the challenges that you come across. If necessary, you can even make a list of both positive and negative sides of your life. Take a look at what you can change and how you can improve your self-esteem and then take one step at a time. Not only will this help you get out of the vicious circle of self-pity, but it will also help you be more successful at college, meet new people and have a healthy relationship. If you keep being insecure, there are people who might take advantage of your insecurities. If you believe that you can’t do it on your own, you can always seek professional help. A counsellor or psychologist can always help you overcome this difficult period and become a stronger person.
Adolescence and college experience will present you with many challenges that can affect the rest of your life. It’s important that you remain strong and self-confident because only then will you be able to overcome them.
Isabel F. William Body&Mind Balance Consultant. Lover of literature and philosophy, runner, and Tai Chi master. She believes that sometimes it is just enough to enjoy a really good book, smooth jazz and a cup of coffee to travel somewhere else.