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Life > Experiences

Dealing With The FOMOs Of Exchange

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

Ever since the semester started, I have been consumed by wanderlust – and a serious case of FOMO – as my Instagram became flooded with photos from all over the world. Paris, New York, Seoul, Tokyo… you name it. As I lived vicariously through my friends’ adventures on exchange, I can’t help but feel like I’m missing out on major life experiences. 

Travelling through regions, meeting new people, having crazy wild adventures… these out-of-the-world experiences made my mundane daily life back in Singapore really pale in comparison. While I do try to feel better by telling myself that there will always be a chance to travel in the future, I can’t help but think that I’m only going to be 21 once, and seeing the world for myself when I’m older won’t exactly hit the same. 

Sometimes it does feel frustrating to be “trapped” and confined here. I continue to repeat the same old days over and over again, while the rest of my peers are moving forward in life, gaining experiences that they’ll never get here in Singapore. The whole reason why I wanted to go on exchange was to live life in a way I’ve never imagined before; being 21 was not a time for routine, but for exciting new adventures. 

But after a random night of heart-to-heart talks and non-stop laughter with my hall friends, I realised that I can always choose to make the most out of whatever I have. It was like having an epiphany, really. The realisation that I was truly happy in that moment made me feel like I wasn’t missing out on anything at all. I can still have all my crazy little moments here at home, and suddenly it seems that comfort isn’t a bad thing after all. 

It’s all about the energy you surround yourself with. I’m grateful to have found a new group of friends to keep me company, and will always be up for spontaneous adventures. You don’t have to defer life’s enjoyments; instead of waiting for a better time, just do whatever you want to now. 

With restrictions finally being lifted, events and parties are back in full force, and I definitely enjoyed the semblances of pre-COVID days. Be it mini costume parties in hall or large-scale concerts at National Stadium, these events injected a healthy dose of fun back into my life. And while it’s nothing like travelling across continents, even having short day trips to JB felt liberating – especially when academics start to get really stressful. 

Of course, it’s not always about having fun. Staying in Singapore for the semester also forced me to reflect about what I want in the future, especially when I’m graduating three semesters later. Realising that my passion lies in writing, I worked on my portfolio and picked up different roles in school, ensuringthat I don’t put the semester to waste.

It seems really cliche to say that “it’s all about the small things in life”, but it really feels that way as I reflect on the past semester. I’ve come to appreciate the heart-to-heart sessions with my friends, the spontaneous getaways to JB, the nightlife adventures and rave parties, and many more of these fun moments. 

As someone who always has a serious case of FOMO, I used to always want to experience everything fun under the sun. But I find it important to reflect on what we have and make the most out of it, instead of constantly thinking about what other people are experiencing. 

One day, I’ll see the world for myself. But for now, I’m content in my happy little bubble. 

Zhi Yi Ong

Nanyang Tech '24

Loves to sleep so much that she spends more time being asleep than awake. When she is actually awake, she enjoys watching films and writing about culture.