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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

Friday nights. My favorite time of the week. My hair is freshly washed, I’m wearing the coziest pajamas, I’m lying in my bed with my fairy lights on in my dorm, I’ll be watching one of my favorite shows on Netflix soon, and I’m finally having a peaceful night after the constant chaos of my week. I decide to give Snapchat and Instagram a quick check before I continue to enjoy my peaceful Friday night. Right when I open the apps, though, I’m met with various pictures of people hanging out with their friends, going out and having what seems to be the best nights of their lives not in their rooms. Suddenly, my Friday night isn’t as peaceful as it was a few minutes ago, and I have an intense feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out). 

This feeling of missing out is common among college students, whether they want to admit it or not. Nobody wants to be the outcast who’s constantly missing out on a fun night or be the person who doesn’t understand the inside joke because they weren’t around for the origins of it. This will inevitably happen though. So, how do you control FOMO? 

The first thing you can do to combat FOMO is to face the fact that you are missing out on something. Instead of focusing on what you may be missing out on, find the good in what you are currently doing. Don’t worry about what is happening in another place, instead be engaged in what you’re doing at the moment. Being upset that you aren’t doing something different isn’t going to change the situation, so embrace your current one. No one can fault you for doing what is best for you, and you made the choice to do this activity for a reason. 

Know that you don’t always have to be doing something extravagant. Taking time for yourself and being alone is important. For many people, these are the times when they learn the most about themselves. There is no reason to feel guilty for wanting to be alone or wanting to do one thing when everyone else is doing another thing. 

Another thing that you can do that can help you fight FOMO is to ignore social media. Whether that is for a couple of hours, the whole day or multiple days, some of your FOMO can probably be relieved by taking a break from your apps. Maybe even delete the apps, so you’re not tempted to continue mindlessly scrolling. Scrolling through your feed is not going to make you feel better about your situation or change the fact that something is happening and you aren’t there to experience it, so it is a waste of time to agonize over it. Social media is also a highlight of moments, you’re not seeing every piece of the story or every single moment that happened that night, just the good parts. There’s no use in playing into this fantasy world others have created. 

The last piece of advice I’ll give about FOMO is: you won’t feel this way forever. It’s a temporary thing, even if you feel like your whole college experience will be centered around FOMO. There will be moments, even if they’re small, where you don’t have this sense of dread of feeling like you’re the only person who is sitting in their dorm watching Netflix. When you find those moments of good, relish in them, remember that feeling, and remember that you will feel it again. 

Sarah Knowlton

Illinois State '24

Hi I'm Sarah! I am a junior at Illinois State and I am majoring in Human Development and Family Science! After I finish my bachelor's degree, I plan to get my master's degree in Human Development and Family Science as well. Besides writing, I like to read, watch TikToks, make art, and bake!