How to be more confident at university and beat social anxiety!

Disclosure: This blog is supported by its readers; this post may contain affiliate links that, at no additional cost to you, may earn a tiny commission, thank you for supporting this independent blog! (you can read the full disclaimer here)

In this post we will go through how to become more confident at university. If you are struggling with social anxiety and low self-esteem, then this read might help you a lot.

We will see why sometimes your mind, rather than being your greatest ally, could turn into your biggest enemy. It’s time to bring it back to our side!

Let’s be clear here, we are all different and we all possess unique personalities. Diversity is actually a very beautiful thing.

However, confidence is one of those aspects of a character that can be developed and improved with some “mindset adjustments”.

But why is it important to improve this aspect? The problem with lacking confidence at university is that it generally leads to low mental health for two reasons:

  1. It makes it harder to socialise and make friends at university. Moreover, you constantly feel observed and judged for everything you say or do, even for how you look (social anxiety).
  2. It makes you think you are worthless, that everybody around is better than you (inferiority complex and low self-esteem).

Ultimately, these might also reflect on your studies and grades, which is why you need to do something about it.

Lacking confidence at university: what is social anxiety?

In most cases, students that lack confidence at university are, by character, shy and introverted. Unfortunately, this often results in social anxiety and low self-esteem.

But how does it feel to have social anxiety at university? Basically, it is like constantly feeling “under the spotlight”.

You are scared to approach or speak to other people, let alone other students. But why? Because it makes you think you will get judged for everything you do, say or even for the way you look.

It can really lower your mental health. If that wasn’t enough, it might also lead to another unpleasant feeling: an inferiority complex.

Having an inferiority complex at university is horrible. You feel like you are not at the same level as other students, that everybody is smarter than you.

There is no need to stress that these feelings are not ok at all. Remember that your student mental health is one of the most important factors to determine your success at university!

How to be confident and deal with social anxiety!

We will know go trough 5 points (those “mindset adjustments” mentioned at the beginning), that will help you become more confident at university.

The objective is quite simple here. You need to learn how to deal with your social anxiety and get rid of your inferiority complex.

Important thing to mention before we start: consider this post as an opinion only, if you think this is getting out of hand, please seek professional help!

1. (How to) Stop comparing yourself to other students

As said at the beginning, we are all different and have unique characters, what a beautiful thing! Can you imagine how boring it would be if we were all the same?

It is normal to look up to those who seem “better” than us. It is also normal to envy how confident they are at university around others.

These students get a lot of attention as other people find them interesting, attractive even. Therefore, they are more likely to establish relationships with others, make friends or have more success with the other sex.

Some are born with such confidence, others need to work hard to gain it. The problem with comparing yourself to others is clear:

It doesn’t make you more confident at all, but instead it creates a bigger inferiority complex!

“everybody is better than me”

You feel like you are a level below others, not as intelligent and attractive as them, like everyone around is smarter and better than you.

Basically, it leads you to think that you are not a good fit for university, even in life. There it starts the problem, paranoia, inferiority complex, low self-esteem, social anxiety and so on.

You got to learn from others, not copy them, which is completely different, but we’ll see this later. For now, focus on improving yourself everyday rather than trying to act like others.

The only question you need to ask yourself is: am I better than yesterday? Try to answer YES everyday, no matter how you justify it.

You learned something new? You are more knowledgeable than the previous day. Met someone new and had a conversation? You know one more person today. Bought some new clothes or new hair cut? You look smarter today.

Just focus on you, be a better version of yourself everyday. You got to beat your “old yesterday self”; little by little, step by step.

That’s the very first thing to do to become more confident at university on a daily basis. Stop comparing yourself to others, focus on improving yourself first.

2. You need to get out of your own way to be confident!

Unfortunately, stop comparing yourself to others is not enough. You got to get out of your own way! The real problem is in your head, it’s not real.

You have nothing less than other students, a part from, obviously, confidence! Due to your character (which is beautiful and UNIQUE), you tend to undervalue your skills and, instead, highlight you weaknesses..

You need to deal with your inferiority complex at university. But how to do that? The most difficult thing is to actually realise you have one.

If you are shy and introvert, this is a massive obstacle to overcome. Even a simple conversion becomes a drama.

You think about it later, “why didn’t I say this? or “I bet I sounded ridiculous”. Stop doing that, doubting everything you say will not fix anything!

The worst thing you can do is to actually prepare a “speech” or think in your head the exact words you are going to say in a conversation.

The problem with that is that it will make you sound unnatural, it’s not you. People don’t like unnatural characters, and as a result they’ll avoid you or have a low consideration of you. Be natural, be yourself!

Don’t get into conversations you are not really interested in. Maybe you are doing it just to look “cool”. However, it will have the opposite result, people can see a mile away that you are trying to force it.

Should you care really about other students opinions at university?

Often everyone around you has nothing to do with your feelings, you are the “sole author” of them! In fact, it is likely that people don’t actually think about you at all, it is just in your mind.

It is you who feels under the spotlight, judged and observed for everything you do, or even for the way you look or dress.

But even if they were, why should you care? If these people have a low opinion of you and don’t accept you as you are, forget about them, they are not your friends!

See all these people around you; students, lecturers, academic staff etc; ninety-nine percent of those people will not be part of your life.

So why would you care so much about their opinion of you in the first place? It doesn’t make sense, you don’t need to impress or be liked by anybody.

Do you really think confident people care about what others think about them?

3. Focus on your goal, why are you at university?

When you have to deal with a lack of confidence at university, an inferiority complex, social anxiety and all that, it is very easy to lose sight of your real goal.

Why are you at university? Never forget that, everything else doesn’t matter! Keep reminding yourself your final goal, whatever it is.

Confidence also comes from clear objectives. Something to chase will give you “strength” when you are feeling down.

At the end of the day, university is only a tool to get you to your goal, nothing more. Once you reach it, you are going to need another tool to get to your next goal, it is that cruel and simple!

Obviously, in some cases university could be again your next goal (e.g. further studies, academic research, teaching assistant); but this is not the point. The keyword here is tool.

You are the one who needs to use the tool, but if you lose focus of your final goal, you will end up being the tool!

Always focus on your personal objectives, the rest will come naturally, even friends! In fact, once you start focusing on those, it will be more likely to meet people with similar interests and characters.

It is with people with whom we share a similar mind that we are likely to connect in a meaningful way!

4. (How to) Learn from others to be more confident

Remember what said earlier, you got to learn from others, not copy them! If you copy how others behave, you will never be confident at university!

Moreover, not only you will always need someone to copy at university, but also in your life, which is not ideal nor mentally sustainable.

Some students are just naturally ahead of us, exactly how there are others ahead of them too! Do you think they don’t know that?

The real difference between confident students at university and you, is mentality. When they see someone better than them, they think about what they can learn to improve.

Put it this way, they don’t accept being “inferior” in whatever aspect. So, they find a way to bridge the gap and improve! But what do YOU do?

You stop believing in yourself, you think you are worthless, that university is not for you. Basically, you are the one who feeds your inferiority complex!

So what to do instead? Observe and learn from confident people! Do not replicate their behaviour, learn the process of improving, change your mentality!

It is with a positive mentality that you’ll become more interesting to other people, that you will have more arguments to talk about, more confidence!

5. How to look confident at university

Becoming more confident at university is an actual process! After having tackled the “mind aspect”, we are now moving towards another are of confidence, the look.

The reality is, that as an introvert and shy character with social anxiety, low self-esteem and an inferiority complex, your look will reflect exactly that.

More than the way you dress, you should focus on your body language! Non-verbal communication is key to look confident at university!

Remember, it is just a matter of perception.. think about it. Why do you perceive confident people as so without even knowing them?

It is the way they present themselves, their body language! People unconsciously notice our facial expression, our posture, our gestures, everything!

A good non-verbal communication makes us look more authoritative and trustworthy, more confident around others!

How to improve non-verbal communication at university

The very first thing to improve is your body posture, both when sitting at a desk/in class, and when walking around the campus.

This is important to change the perception of how others se you when not in a direct conversation. Shy people tend to have a “negative posture”.

For example, they would walk around keeping their heads down (looking at the ground); or they would sit in class with closed shoulders and leaning forward.

Pay attention to these! It’s not only good for your body in general, but also to show confidence at university. Here some very basic adjustments to make, keep it simple to start with:

Remember to keep your head up when walking around, at a face level; when sitting down keep your back straight, and open up your shoulder to a normal level as they should be.

Tip: set a recurring reminder on your mobile to vibrate every (frequency depending on your preferences); so that you can use it to correct your posture when in class as well!

How to improve non-verbal communication when in a conversation

Similarly to what discussed above, often unconfident people tend to have a negative body language during a conversation.

The most obvious sign of that is not maintaining an eye contact. When you are talking, looking somewhere else will make your argument (and you!) untrustworthy.

When someone is talking to you, not maintaining eye contact will make you look disinterested and it might be interpreted as a lack of respect.

Mind that maintaining eye contact does not mean you have to be staring at someone all the time, but instead for a reasonable time and during the key parts of the conversation.

Another key point: learn to listen! Social anxiety and low self-esteem make people focus more on what they want to say (“preparing the speech” as we discussed in point n.2) instead of properly listening.

So when it’s your time to talk, your mind goes either blank (cause you weren’t listening!); or you start talking about irrelevant things and giving confused thoughts (again, because you weren’t listening properly).

It is really that simple, during a conversation maintain a reasonable eye contact and listen carefully. This will make you look more interested, improve your communication skills and ultimately lead to more confidence!

The best book to improve confidence (UK)

Some people suffering from those “unpleasant” feelings we just discussed, find certain book quite therapeutic.

If you are looking for some books to improve your confidence, this is our top recommendation: unfu*k yourself, by Gary John Bishop.

Moreover, if you are not much of a reader, you could get the audiobook version for free by using this simple workaround!

All you need to do is sign up for the free 30-day trial on Audible; (don’t worry about payment details as they are only needed to sign up); get the audiobook with your free token; then cancel the subscription before the trial ends. That’s it!

The good thing about audiobooks is that, unlike physical books, nobody will ever know what you are “reading”; which is probably a big plus if suffering from social anxiety and low self-esteem.

How to become more confident at university, conclusions

In this post we discussed how to be more confident at university. We went trough 5 key points to help you gain confidence in any situation of your student journey and beyond.

Dealing with social anxiety, an inferiority complex and low self esteem is hard, extremely hard. You should be proud of how strong you are!

Always put yourself first. It might sound selfish, but it’s true. If you are not able to respect yourself first, then you will not be able to become more confident at university.

Your mind can be your greatest ally, or your biggest enemy. You know exactly against who it is acting at the moment, revert that!

Best of luck on your future, you are UNIQUE!


Please mind that everything you read on this blog is based on the authors’ opinions, experience and research. Therefore, consider it as an opinion only, thank you for reading!

Study Essentials for University

Find below our study essential lists for university!

Student essentials, everything you need for your university journey!

Do you like the content of this blog? You can find all posts HERE.