Everything You Need to Know about FOMO

By: Meredith Backman ’22

FOMO: an all too familiar feeling. Everybody experiences the “fear of missing out” at some point. If they say they don’t, they’re lying. Being a college student, that fear can increase exponentially with the new freedoms and experiences that life throws at us. These can range from eating meals whenever and wherever you want, making time to study, work out, do things you enjoy, and hanging out with friends.

Though the new “college student lifestyle” offers a lot of excitement and possibilities, it also allows for a lot of downtime and managing a life outside of schoolwork. Speaking for myself, I experience FOMO a lot. Once the eternity of a school week ends, the main worry on my mind is what I’ll be doing for the next 2 days. I’ll usually worry about who I’ll eat my meals with and where, if I will go out on the weekend and who with, and if a friend already made plans with other people which will result in me sitting in my dorm room alone watching Disney+ in bed while they “have fun”.

Something I realized in all of this is that EVERYONE has felt FOMO at some point. Despite how many friends they seem to have or how action-packed their schedule is, it’s unbelievably common to feel like you’re not doing enough with others or missing out on things with friends, especially in college. 

FOMO is a condition that stems from a negative mindset you hold about yourself and your relationships with others. Changing your mindset is a process and doesn’t happen overnight, so I’ve found some solutions that can help when you are feeling especially down. 

  1. Occupy yourself with things you genuinely enjoy. It is helpful if these things are time consuming and require you to think about something else. They’ll get you out of your head. Getting some work done and fulfilling an activity will make you feel better about yourself and more accomplished in the long run, which will also free up future time to hang out with friends and spend your time the way you want to. 
  2. Take a break from social media. Stalking people’s stories and posts of themselves out partying and living it up isn’t doing you any favors. Unplug and unwind. You’ll thank yourself later. 
  3. Plan ahead, despite how much of a pain it may feel like. Planning ahead a few days with people you want to spend time with ensures that you are with these people when you want to, and that you have something to do when you otherwise might not. 
  4. Remind yourself that everyone feels FOMO, despite what they might show on the outside. I, myself, find it comforting knowing I’m not alone in feeling left out. So in that, don’t be so hard on yourself!

You’re human; you are going to feel FOMO at some point in your life. The biggest thing to remember is everyone has to prioritize their time different. Remind yourself of what matters most to you and use these tips and the FOMO should slowly fade.

**Valley Girl Magazine does not own any photos used in this post

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