A fear of missing out: a fear of not being included in something (such as an interesting or enjoyable activity) that others are experiencing, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary.
I’m sure we are all quite familiar with this feeling. Seeing your friends all take part in something you weren't included in. Having to cover a work shift or finish a school assignment instead of going to that super fun, super crazy party you were invited to. Going on a family vacation and missing out on all the summer fun back home. Seeing the craze of Coachella, or another festival or event through social media snapchats and stories. Wishing you were somewhere else, doing something more fun, more interesting, and more memorable than what you are currently doing.
College life can amplify this feeling. With the stress of balancing both the social and academic aspects of college, it is almost inevitable that you will feel as though you are missing out on something. Especially as you start your college journey, you may feel like you are playing in an endless game of catchup. Whether you have to skip that party to study for a big midterm in the morning, or you have to miss out on a girls brunch to finish a class assignment, at some point you are bound to feel like you are skipping out on an important experience.
Believe me, these feelings are normal.
Although it might feel like the only solution is to find a “cure” for FOMO, this might actually be counteractive.
FOMO is simply a part of life. With so many different career, social and academic opportunities, differing lifestyle choices, and people and places to visit and meet in your lifetime, you are bound to feel as though you will never get to see, meet and do everything that you hope to.
Although it is frustrating, and can feel isolating to miss out on seemingly “fun” activities, you will soon realize that having all these options and opportunities is a blessing. There are endless people to meet, events to attend, classes to go to, shifts to work and papers to write. And there always will be.
Rather than sulking in what you missed out on, focus on what you are able to do in the current moment. Strengthen the friendships you do have, rather than wishing you could meet more people. Enjoy the parties you can go to, rather than longing to be a part of the ones you had to skip. Savor the time you have to yourself. Most importantly, appreciate the moments and opportunities you do have in your life currently.
Although this is by no means a “cure” to FOMO, practicing being in the now and enjoying what you can do, see and experience in the current moment, will allow you to take on a new mentality called JOMO.
As you progress through college, you may find that you are most satisfied when you are “missing out”. As you start to find the people, hobbies and activities that you enjoy best, you may notice that you are less interested or inclined to fit into the larger social scene. You may be more content spending quality time with the friends you have made at college rather than meeting new people at parties or other social activities.
The joy of missing out, better known as JOMO, comes with the contentment and appreciation for your time and space. As you learn more about yourself and become more confident in who you are and what you want in life you will notice that the people and activities in your life will reflect that. Late nights out are replaced with movie nights in, dorm room pre games are replaced for wine nights and sorority brunches are replaced with home cooked dinners among friends.
The process of maturing throughout college by no means translates to a lack of spontaneity or fun. You can still be as young and reckless as you were as a freshman, just with a more refined and mature touch. So enjoy the fun of being in your 20’s and living with your friends, JOMO and all!