We’ve probably all been there – missing out on some great, “essential” college experience because of papers, work, other responsibilities or (gasp!) because you just don’t want to go out. But then, two hours later, you’re thinking about what you could be doing. What if you swapped shifts with someone? What if you just got over your bad mood and had some fun? The questions go on, and then you’re feeling a bit regretful as you go to bed.
As a full-time college student with leadership positions in two student organizations and a part-time job, free time is a myth. This past year, I know I’ve been missing out on some fun times, but I’m never as bothered by FOMO as I was just a couple years ago. When I was a first-year, I was so self-aware of everything I wasn’t doing. I wasn’t going to a ton of football games, I never went to a frat party and, on the weekends, I was just having a relaxing time with a couple friends, or a relaxing time with a book all by myself. I was constantly worried that I was missing out on the “college experience,” whatever that means. I thought I was doing myself a disservice by not constantly challenging myself. But let me tell you this: the fear of missing out is all in your head.
Now that I’m a junior, I’ve come to learn that the “college experience” is just what you make of your time. Sure, I don’t go out all the time, and I don’t have a clique of friends, but I am involved on campus, and I have some really close friends. Whenever you compare your experience with others, or this idealized version of what you thought college was going to be, you’re going to fall short. Constant comparison will just make you feel bad.
The next time you decide to stay in, don’t let your FOMO get to you. Easier said than done, I know. Once you recognize that it’s okay to cultivate your own college experience, rather than follow someone else’s, you’re going to be so much happier and more content at UNC, or any other college, for that matter. Go out there, make your own choices and have fun – whatever that looks like for you.
I’ll leave you with a quote from the 2004 masterpiece A Cinderella Story, starring Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” (Yes, Babe Ruth actually said this, but I’ve come to associate it with the greatest movie ever made.)