FOMO. Fear of missing out. While many might see this term as something cliché and maybe even cheesy, it is in fact a common phenomenon among college students. Especially at a large public institution like CU Boulder, where students are encouraged to be socially involved, it is no wonder that many may feel the sentiment of never wanting to miss out on the marvelous tidbits that college life has to offer.
You probably can’t deny it. In fact, you probably witness the joys of college life almost everywhere you go on campus. The roaring waves of the crowds in football games. The growing excitement between friends in the classroom as they make plans for their weekend road trip. The hustle and bustle of music, drinks, and chatter as friends stroll along the streets on a Friday night.
And you can most likely observe it on the most convenient place of all: your phone.
As you scroll through your Instagram feed, your attention gets hooked into a trailblaze of people exploring scenic, photo-worthy places, trying new foods and drinks, and immersing themselves in all sorts of fun activities.
Glancing at these aesthetic photos of your friends, acquaintances, and maybe even relatives can be quite a cool and fun way to pass time. Not only are you gaining ideas on your next potential adventure, but you are staying up to date with the lives of the people you know; which in a way, can be mutually beneficial, because people’s likes and comments can provide satisfaction, and these types of posts can be great conversation starters.
However, if looking at your social media gets to the point where you feel envy or regret that you can’t do the same things others are doing, this is where you need to put your phone down, take a deep breath, and ask yourself, “Do I really want to travel to this place or do this activity because I really want to? Or is it just because it seems like everyone else is doing it?”
With spring break just around the corner, these questions become especially important to ask. After all, spring break, for many, is a peak time for relaxation from the intensity of classwork and exams. So as you take a break from all your classes, this is the perfect chance to focus on your health and do whatever is necessary to help you feel refreshed.
Relaxation. When you think of this word, the picture of what this looks like may be entirely different from that of your friend or classmate. But don’t be alarmed: this is totally normal. Your friend’s definition of relaxation may be soaking in the sun at a beach in Hawaii, while your definition of relaxation may be staying at home and sleeping in.
No matter how you visualize your form of taking a break, what matters most is that you are enjoying it and feel comfortable. Everyone has different preferences on how to spend their breaks, so don’t feel like you’re missing out if you’re not doing what others are doing. In other words, there’s no need to feel any FOMO at all.
College life (and college spring break) in 2023 is something we college students should certainly not just take for granted. And I can say this based on personal experience.
For the first two years of my college career, I never had the experience of a full, week-long spring break.
During my freshman year in March 2020, the advent of quarantine and the beginning of remote learning led to the cancellation of spring break.
During my sophomore year in March 2021, we were provided a few days of vacation dispersed throughout the semester, called “Wellness Days”, but never a full week dedicated to spring break.
So, in summary, I’ve only had one normal spring break so far in college (in March 2022), and I’m sure many fellow seniors at CU can resonate with this.
You may be wondering, “So how did you spend your first ‘normal’ spring break, Gennah?”
Well, to tell you the truth, it was actually pretty chill. I didn’t travel out of the state or out of the country, but I explored a few places here in Colorado, and then stayed home for the most part. I even had time to read over one-third of a book assigned by one of my classes, so it was also productive in a way.
Even though I didn’t travel at all, I still felt pretty satisfied with my break because I was given the chance to relax for once. After months of continuous studying, attending events, and fulfilling tasks for the student organizations I am a part of, I knew I needed time to temporarily shift my narrative and, of course, recuperate on sleep. I wasn’t exactly inclined to travel because I wanted to concentrate on my well-being first and foremost. If anything, it was only a little over a month until summer officially began, which is one of the best, if not the best, times to travel.
Now that you know a little more about my experience with spring break, I hope you take the time to consider – and maybe even reconsider – your plans for this upcoming break. Remember, it’s all about taking it at your own pace without feeling pressured by what others around you are up to. Whether you’re traveling or staying at home, sticking to your routine or trying something new, I hope your spring break is one that is worth your health, comfort, and time. I wish you an amazing spring break!