SA and Performance in School


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I've been doing some thinking and I wonder if there's a link between SA and how much school is such a struggle for me. I'm not talking about interacting with others, I'm talking about performing well in tests and being able to handle all the workload.

I've noticed that school is so stressful for me because I always compare myself to others. Every time it's the same. As soon as a new semester starts, I become a big ball of stress and it ends when the semester ends. I think it might be because of SA. When I'm at school, I feel stupid. I feel like I don't belong there. I compare myself to others because in my mind everyone is better than me. I believe in that illusion so much that I get really stressed and can't cope with it, therefore I end up being depressed, undisciplined, pensive and in the end I'm always struggling to get things done. Every day for me is like going to war. I actually failed some classes in the past because of this. Also, I often have nightmares about school, at least once a week. I keep destroying myself in everything that I do.

I don't really know what else to say. Is there anyone else who's like this? What do you guys think?


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I think I can relate to you. I do believe I feel other people (students, especially ppl in my classes) at my college are better than me. I've failed classes over stressing about actually showing up for class. Can you believe that? It's such a simple task -- just to SHOW UP for class but of course I have social anxiety and i absolutely do not confide in my professors about this. I don't talk to a counselor, either. I used to see a therapist regularly for almost three years but that has since ended (my decision to terminate).

I get so worked up about going through the process of being in the presence of my other classmates. Thinking about walking into the room and I always need to be early cause i cannot stand the way ppl's heads turn to me when i enter the classroom late. What happened last semester is I was absent quite a number of times for classes and i beat myself up about that. Lots of times i did not show up to class b.c. i was late and i was so afraid of coming in when the class was full i just refused to be present. And in turn i felt really bad to the point i couldn't motivate myself to do the work in class. So I failed classes.

I hate drawing attention to myself, or having other ppl notice me. I used to desperately wish to be invisible and I so believed I had achieved this task in high school but i was just fooling myself. Because part of me wants to be noticed; wants to fit in and have a good solid relationship with someone at school as a friend. Sigh.

The toughest class I have this semester is probably my language course. It's horrible. I learn, but there's all sorts of presentation type of stuff the professor makes everyone do. I hate everyone's eyes on me. It makes me sooo nervous! Sometimes i try to play it off and say what i have to say when it's my turn but only look at my professor and pretend everyone else isn't there watching me.


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I've noticed that school is so stressful for me because I always compare myself to others.
I think you have answered your own question. If everyone did that then Einstein would be the only person in the world who never had social phobia. Actually, he did not do particularly well in school.

This is one of the reasons mentioned in:

Although I should point that I did not have any problems in school - that was in the "before-time".
Back in my school days, I did exceptionally well with the schoolwork side of things. Was in the top classes (3A, 4A, 5V1). Always getting percentages in the 90s, and occasionally 100% (esp in maths).
I think i just was able to focus my mind on the schoolwork, and off people, for the most part. My mind was constantly full of schoolwork/tests/etc (i have a "hyperactive mind"). So , even though i had my "worries" concerning the social/people thing, i did what i had to in order for those issues not to bug me too much (avoidance mainly), and my hyper mind was usually kept 100% busy with academic stuff (which meant little room for much else).
Back then, i had BDD & SA, for sure. And it seemed that i had a bit of ADD, as i couldn't follow what teachers/kids were saying.
At home, doing homework, that was pretty much my main hobby. I just stayed at my desk until the work (or "play") was done - which for me meant until absolute perfection was in my mind achieved. I constantly fidgeted, & fairly often got restless, but i had a system that allowed me to put in virtually unlimited hours, and that was why i did so well.

Edit: Btw, as far as comparing self to others, i constantly fluctuated between (feeling) way superior & way inferior, depending on whether i was "in my element" (in class, doing what i did best) or a "fish out of water" (assembly, between classes, in class but "social" type stuff happening, after school). A very unhealthy & emotionally exhausting state of affairs. Thankfully i have almost grown out of it now.
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I feel like everyone is better than me and I don't deserve to be interacted with based upon my outlook on life. I dread the walk on campus to my classes. Catching peoples' eyes is creepy, I have to pretend to be busy or else one of them might say hi or smile at me and I'll just look at the ground instantly.
I was the same way and I nearly didn't graduate due to myself tanking so badly in math. I just could NOT focus at all on schoolwork, and when it was time for a test I nearly always choked on it.


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SA can definitely cause a lot of stress. Even though we aren't necessarily required to interact well with other people in order to get good grades in most subjects, having SA is like an extra pile on your plate and after a while it just gets taxing. Everything we do is affected. So I would definitely say that SA affects a person's performance at school. Maybe even his performance at life.


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well i can relate to you,though my performance is affected not because I compare myself with others, but because of the depression that arises from SA


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Thanks for the replies guys. There is some interesting stuff here. Like some people wrote, I used to hate it when people look at me and I made myself completely invisible to everyone when I was in high school. Now, I want people to look at me, I want people to be interested in me, but I'm so used to being invisible that nothing ever happens. Whenever I wanna talk to someone, I just choke. If a girl looks at me for a fraction of a second, I don't do anything to trigger something, like smile at her. In the end, SA starts taxing like Agon said and I get overwhelmed and crash.

It sure doesn't help when it comes to performing in school. As for comparing myself to others, today I decided never to do that again. I just don't care anymore. I just wanna be myself and be proud of myself. I'm also trying to never be overstressed about school anymore. I'm just tired of school dictating my life.
Pfffffft, I am home from school today because I am so stressed (plus I can only take being around rich prep school kids all day for so long). Granted, I am in my second semester of senior year so the pressure is off a little, but I'm doing terribly in math, and have stresses with work outside of school as well, a job that is going to require a lot of social interaction. I just feel like I can't deal.


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mm yes for instance when the test comes it's like everyone is racing to get finished first, i feel stupid if i'm one of the last ones done and i'm afraid the professor will try to talk to me if i'm the last one too. In my online classes I have to go in for the test too. Everyone else is working on different subjects and it just doesn't seem right. Also you have to hit sumit and then it's gone forever, you can't touch it. It helps if I don't wear contacts that day so everything is more blurry around, but at the same time if i must see something far away in dim lighting not good....Tips: Excercise, don't drink coffee, have a sip of alcohol, fruit smoothie


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Of course SA affects performance is school - for many anyways not all. I'm a film major - kinda hard to do with SA. I avoided taking filmmaking classes and forced myself to do small screenwriting classes for a while. I should have graduated two years ago...

It affects ppl in different ways performance I don't know imo doesn't have to mean actual academic performance. By avoiding any class or putting it off due to SA is too.


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I was never terribly scholastic. I had the ability/intelligence and I actually love learning and studying, but it was everything surrounding it that killed me. I couldn't walk into class late for fear of everyone looking at me. I couldn't discuss a problem with a teacher/professor due to anxiety. I couldn't speak up or contribute in class because of how conspicuous I felt. I couldn't give a presentation because of the debilitating fear that would absolutely paralyze me. Ultimately I choked three quarters of the way through my degree program at university. That was five years ago now and I've been trying to find my feet educationally ever since. The real world does demand some sort of qualification after all.
mm yes for instance when the test comes it's like everyone is racing to get finished first, i feel stupid if i'm one of the last ones done
I wouldn't worry about that too much. Certain people get an ego-boost if they finish quickly, but the REAL measure of the test is of course the RESULTS of the test.
I was a top student - a model student for a few teachers, but i usually was in the last few people to finish. Whenever i saw others finishing around me (esp quickly) it made me "worry" a bit, but i just shut it out & kept on at my own pace. Slow & steady & thorough was my motto. You also can look at it like this: those finishing quickly "race" from the start, & then "cruise" (or rest) at the end; those finishing slowly (like me) go slowly ("cruise") at the start, & then "race" at the end. So if the test was the other way round, us slow-starters would WIN!!
Reminds me of a 6th form end-of-year (physics) exam i did at school. I musn't have been thinking very well, maybe stressed or sth. I was late getting there, and i had to have a desk added for me (at front, so couldnt see behind). For some reason i didnt realise that the exam had started until about 10 MINUTES after! (i was looking around, seeing people reading (& writing), but thinking they were just reading the instructions - there was a fair bit of friendly ribbing after the exam!). I felt quite dumb, but that's kind of how i was with everything except the schoolwork itself. BUT after QUIETLY consulting the teacher (at which the entire class burst out laughing, as he said loudly ~'yes <name> you can start now'), i then TOOK-OFF, going as fast as i could (but maintaining accuracy). Of course i was one of the last to finish. BUT what do you know, I got the HIGHEST mark in the ENTIRE COUNTRY for that exam!!! (96%).
So the moral is, it's the size (of results) not the speed that counts ;)
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My agoraphobia made me end up dropping from college. I'm not even sure if I'll get into another college or even the same college, but either way, I'm worried I have nothing ahead to look forward to.

The feeling you get when you're overworked is what I had all the time, and I had panic attacks in class.

I'm unable to work as well, and I've ended up staying with my parents, who were nice enough to actually support me.


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I was always stressed of school because I wanted to be on top and my SA didnt help and at one point it just turned out to be a vicious cycle of fear and failure , eventually I hate do drop-out. Id recommend you to go take some CBT therapy classes, to change your negative thought pattern .So you wont have to stress about what could possibly happen and how you appear etc... and hypnosis treatment for your concentration on your schoolwork and getting rid of the nightmares. I havnt done any of these therapies yet but Ive read lots of literature about them and I have an appoitment set with specialists.
Your post is old but I hope this was helpful.