Bullying in College — How to Deal With It?

Written by: Maheen Asif – M.Sc (Clinical Psychology)

Last updated date : March 23, 2023

People often think that bullying is something that kids do when they are young but outgrow as they get older. Most people think that their kids won’t have to deal with bullying after they finish high school. But more and more research shows that bullies are getting older and going to college. Bullying in college is a real issue which is sad but true. It is important to learn how to deal with bullying in college.

In this article, you will learn about bullying in college and its effects of bullying. Following this, we will give you some tips on how you can deal with Nostalgic for depression.

Before we begin, let us look at the definition of some key terms that you will come across in the

  • Bullying – Bullying is any unwanted or aggressive behavior from someone who is trying to upset, hurt, or gain power over you.

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Chapter 1:

Bullying In College

People often think that bullying only happens in grades K–12 and that once kids “just make it through” high school, they can start over in college.

But that is a painfully wrong idea. Bullies exist in college. Without the support of family and the added stress of living on your own for the first time, worrying about loans, taking more classes, and getting used to a new way of life, bullying in college can have a bigger effect.

If bullies in high school aren’t taught to take responsibility for their actions or aren’t punished, they will take these habits with them to college and keep doing the same things.

Chapter 2:

What Are The Effects Of Bullying?

Bullying can have a lot of bad effects. There can be long-term effects on the health of both bullies and bullied people. Even bystanders who don’t take part in bullying but see it happening can feel scared and worried.

Bullied college students often feel angry, helpless, lonely, frustrated, and all by themselves. They might have trouble sleeping or have changes in how much they want to eat. They might start skipping classes or staying away from people to avoid being picked on. Being bullied can cause a lot of stress, which can lead to health problems like stomachaches, headaches, and ulcers.

Also, bullying can lead to the following:

Low Self-Esteem

Bullied people may start to take in the hurtful things said about them and started to believe them. Over time, they lose the ability to see themselves as capable people who deserve respect. Some people try to stop bullying by trying to change how they look or who they are. But this doesn’t usually stop bullies, and it’s hard on the victims to act like something they’re not.

Anxiety And Depression

Bullying that goes on for a long time can make a person sad and keep him or her in a constant state of worry. This is especially true when bullying happens online because it can happen at any time.

Learned Helplessness

As bullying goes on for a long time without stopping, victims can get used to being hurt and start to think they have no control over what happens to them. They feel like they can’t make things better, so they stop trying. This can greatly affect their ability to keep going when things get hard.

Trouble Getting Along With Other People

Bullied people often have trouble trusting other people. They might start to wonder who their real friends are and who will betray them next. Bullied people sometimes shut down emotionally and distance themselves from the people who care about them because they don’t want to risk feeling worse. So, it’s hard for them to keep up friendships and close relationships.

Alcohol or Drug Use

Bullied People use drugs or alcohol as a way to get away from the pain.


It’s important to remember that being picked on doesn’t always mean someone will do something violent. But it can work with other things to make the chance of such an event more likely. One study of high school students found that bullying victims who had been threatened at school, had skipped school out of fear for their safety, or had been in a fight at school were much more likely to bring guns, clubs, or knives to school.

Chapter 3:

How To Deal With Bullying In College?

Bullies feel powerful and in charge when they can get others to do what they want. They get this response from other people by annoying, scaring, angering, or threatening them.

Here are some ways to deal with a bullying in college.

Understand That It’s Not Your Fault

You shouldn’t feel bad about being picked on because you probably haven’t done anything wrong. Don’t get mad at yourself. Bullies are often insecure people who need to feel better about themselves by taking advantage of people they think are weak. Don’t let the bully get you to believe what he or she says about you. And don’t feel like you have to change who you are to be someone the bully will like. It’s important to be yourself and do things that make you happy.

Don’t Retaliate

No one has ever won a battle of vengeance. Aggressively responding won’t help your situation and could even worsen things. Bullies are trying to get you to do something, so don’t give them what they want. If they see their tricks working, they will keep doing them.

So, if you want to know how to deal with a bullying in college, put on a brave face (even if you have to fake it) and don’t cower or get angry when the bully is around. Stand your ground without getting angry. You can’t be sure how the bully will react if you give in to the urge to use physical force. If you can’t just walk away, try making people laugh to diffuse the situation. Don’t try to show off or make a bully feel weak or jealous. That can make him or her even more meaningful. But staying cool and calm will take away the power of a bully.

Document Your Experiences

For each event, write down exactly what happened, when it happened, and if anyone saw it. You can take screenshots of websites or social media posts and save emails, texts, or photos. If you can, print them out. You’ll need these as proof if things get so bad that you decide to go to the college administration or the police.

Tell Someone

Getting help is very important if you don’t want to feel alone. If you don’t tell anyone about the bullying in college, the people doing it will have more power. Once they see that you’re too embarrassed to talk about what happened to you, they’ll know they can keep doing what they’re doing.

So tell someone what’s going on in your life. This could be your parents, friends, residential advisor, counselor, coach, or peer mentoring group. They can help you find and get in touch with other sources of help. Tell someone what’s going on will help you feel less helpless and alone.

Don’t Engage

Verbal bullies want you to talk back to them so they can continue to pick on you. If the bully isn’t getting in the way of your work or personal life, don’t deal with them. When the bully starts to say mean things to you, try to get away from the situation. If it’s safe to do so, you should just leave.

Report The Situation

If you try to talk to the bully and they still won’t stop, you should tell someone in charge. Talk to your boss about it if it’s happening at work. Tell a teacher if it’s going on at school. If you think the bully could hurt you physically, you might want to call the police.

Talk To The Bully

Bullies often have a lot of problems that they haven’t dealt with, which makes them act out. Even though this doesn’t make their behavior okay, talking to the bully about it might help them see how much it hurts you and hopefully stop them from doing it again.

Chapter 4:

Final Thoughts

So, you can see that bullying is a real problem not just in schools but also in colleges. And even though facing any kind of violence is never a good thing, you now know that there are ways to deal with bullying in college and make a change.

We also have a lot of courses on mental health on our epsych online website. There are courses on perfectionism, DBT for social anxiety, Low self esteem and coping with bullying. You can enroll in a course online and learn more about it. Take the first step today towards building your mental health.

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