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The reopening of society after months of a stay-at-home order has created two types of people: first, there are those who are staying cautious. They wear masks and avoid people outside their immediate circle. The second type includes people who are trying to grasp at a sense of normalcy. They go out to eat and resume their life by seeing as many people as they can. Most of us are somewhere in the middle. We recognize our responsibility to keep everyone safe, but also find ourselves trying to keep up socially. No matter where we fall on the spectrum, we are all feeling an overwhelming sense of FOMO -- “fear of missing out.”

For those who opted to stay home for the fall 2020 semester, it’s hard to see your peers in the city, doing things you would be doing if the world wasn’t suffering. Although you won’t get the chance to see your friends in person, there are many events going on remotely. Even though it won’t be the same as meeting people face-to-face, there is still a community operating online which the majority of students are part of. Clubs and general meetups are happening every day, so getting involved has never been more important. Even if you’ve never joined a club before, signing up for these opportunities is a great way to fulfill your social battery. All you have to do is log into Zoom, and you could be making new friends or at least relieving some stress.

For those who are anxious about the virus and find themselves judging others who aren’t following protocol (as you should), while also wishing they could partake in the festivities, it is important to acknowledge that Instagram and Snapchat don’t tell the full story. When scrolling through social media, it’s easy to think everyone is out and about. The truth is, at all times, most people are in their rooms. The posts you see are the rare times in which people get a chance to go outside after months of staying cooped up. Of course they are going to want to document it in order to appear busy, as if their life is thriving in spite of the pandemic (no matter how screwed up things have become for them). 

Lastly, for those of you who are the ones posting everywhere and getting out as much as possible, it is important to remember that things will get back to normal as long as we all keep the numbers down and prevent further spread before a vaccine is available. There will be a time when we can all get together again. Venues will reopen, people will be going out again, and parties will commence. Even though things are, in fact, starting to reopen, it does not mean life is back to normal. You aren’t missing out on anything if you decide to stay inside and stay safe. We are all on the same boat, wishing the virus never happened while trying to make the most of it. If you feel like you are falling behind socially, know that everyone is feeling this way and you will get the chance to do whatever it is you are longing to do now. 

What’s most important is that we stay safe and we stay healthy. FOMO is a real feeling, but don’t lose sight of the fact that we are still in the midst of a pandemic. Keep yourself mentally busy and make the most of what you can, but the only way we will ever see a “normal” again is if we work together. 

Currently a sophomore at NYU studying Dramatic Writing! Loves a good story, a cup of coffee, and all things New York City. Can be found on Insta @lilly.ulrich.
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