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

The fear of missing out is a silent plague among college students but unlearning this habit can nourish your college experience and allow you to prioritize yourself.

Merriam Webster defines FOMO as “fear of not being included in something (such as an interesting or enjoyable activity) that others are experiencing.” 

College is a time to explore, make new friends and go outside of your comfort zone. Many students feel if they don’t join a variety of social activities, their college experience will fall short. Prioritizing yourself can help you feel satisfied even while sitting alone on the couch on a Friday night.

A mindset that focuses on what you lack will never lead to fulfillment. Choosing to attend social activities is what makes them enjoyable. Worrying about what you might be missing can lead to a cycle of dissatisfaction and burn-out, but this can easily be changed.

When you are invited to an activity and you immediately think that it sounds like a lot, it probably is. Take a step back and consider what you’ll gain from the situation.

For example, you may be invited to go out for dinner and drinks one night with your friends. You may be exhausted from a really busy day, but you still want to catch up with them. You can go out with them for a couple hours and leave early.

You can stay with them the whole night, you can leave early or you can not go at all. Focus on how you feel in the moment because it’s okay to operate on your own schedule.

It’s possible to stay in the loop with your friends and not be present for every single thing they do. The competition to be the most highly involved erases the goal of having quality time with people you care about.

Being social is never worth sacrificing your mental and physical wellbeing. Listening to yourself and doing things to make yourself happy is what’s most important.

Make memories that you choose in college in order to have a balanced and happy experience. Prioritize what you want to do over what others do.

Here’s my routine for enjoying my own company and avoiding guilt when I stay in:

  1. Take an “everything” shower. I wash my hair, do a hair mask, use an exfoliating scrub and take my time. Feeling good physically will help you feel good mentally.
  2. Make a yummy meal. Comfort food with at least a little nutritional value makes me feel satisfied and accomplished. 
  3. Put on a new TV show or read a book. Entertainment outside of schoolwork is so important to me to feel balanced and focus on relaxing.
  4. Don’t overthink! This is the hardest part of avoiding FOMO. Reminding myself about what I’m gaining from my night of self care brings me peace and happiness, and you can achieve that too. 

College should be a time for your personal growth. Comparison is the thief of joy, so find your social balance and know that everything will be okay.

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Paige Bilsbury

Maryland '24

Junior journalism student at the University of Maryland