From one student to another: Feeling anxious about fall semester? We can help!


After what has felt like years, universities across America are starting school again. I have gone through so many highs and lows that if they were represented by dots and connecting lines, I would have a decent looking drawing of a mountain range.

I bet many of you are feeling a whirlwind of emotions. You’re excited to be on campus and safely interact with friends, but you might also have concerns.

How will I remain safe while on campus?

Will I receive the same quality of education?

Will I succeed in my online classes?

The good news is there are answers to all of these questions. My hope is that they will help you manage your anxiety.

How will I stay safe while on campus?

Since March, Wichita State has been working on a way to safely conduct the fall semester. They require everyone to wear a mask on campus and to social distance. They’re limiting gathering sizes, implementing advanced cleaning protocols and offering free resources on how to stay mentally and physically safe. For more information, visit

Will I receive the same quality of education?

The short answer is yes. Faculty want you to succeed too, and they’ve worked hard to develop their courses to assure quality in an online or in-person format. If you want to know the details, watch this video and visit the FAQ section for academics here.

Will I succeed in my online classes?

Two things that make a great educational experience; the school and its students. Wichita State University is proud of the way our faculty are continuing to provide the top-quality instruction our university has delivered for many years. That means the quality of education you get is dependent on you. What you put into your education is what you get out of it.

Now that you’ve heard from me, a fellow student, here’s some helpful professional advice from Wichita State’s Dr. Jessica Provines, assistant vice president of Student Affairs and Wellness, on how students can put their anxious minds at ease.

Steps to manage anxiety: 

1. Establish a daily routine.

This tip isn’t instructing you to live each day like you are Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day.”

Having a routine means you should set goals for each day and figure out ways to accomplish them. Many studies have found that routines help people cope with change and reduce stress levels. It’s recommended that you include exercise, healthy meals, human interaction and time outdoors in your routine, says Provines.

“I like to browse thousands of free guided meditations at the Insight Timer app or take a walk through my neighborhood,” she says.

2. Focus on what you can control.

“Be mindful of spending too much mental energy on the unknown future and bring your concentration and focus back to the present moment,” says Provines.

We can only control some of our future, and that thought can make people feel very anxious. It’s best to focus on the present because that is something you have more control over. Another way to focus on what you can control is by taking a break from the media. The constant stream of information can be too burdensome at times, says Provines.

The feeling of anxiety is dictated by what you believe, so look at the facts, form beliefs and let the truth set you free. For me, my faith in God brings me comfort because I believe God is in control and has a purpose for me. It’s also helpful to find meaning in the struggle, such as how this experience forced us to appreciate the little things in life.

3. Prepare for fall semester.

In the movie “21 Jump Street,” police officers Jenko and Schmidt pretend to be high school students. They quickly discover that they are completely unprepared for their undercover roles. On their first day of school, they fight over whether kids wear their backpacks with one or two straps (turns out it’s two). The lesson here is to be a two-strap student; learn about the online format for your classes, acquire all the necessary tools needed for online learning and check in with your advisor and professors. You won’t have anything to worry about if you are prepared.

Are you still anxious? It’s OK to feel that way, as long as you are actively trying to manage it. If you need help, schedule an appointment to talk with a CAPS counselor or submit a report online to the Care Team. Remember that Wichita State understands your anxiety and is here for you. 

Troy Bolton once sang, “We are all in this together.” Shockers, we are in this together, so let’s take care of each other and make this semester a great one!

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