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

Growing up, I was never allowed to stay out late with friends much, so “FOMO,” or “fear of missing out,” was a prevalent feeling in my life. I was always worrying about what inside jokes or stories I would miss.

Then, I headed off to Penn State where, in the fall of 2020, there was absolutely nothing to do except for sitting in your dorm room for classes and then hanging out with a group of friends you made at the beginning of the semester for dinners and movie nights.

During this time, even though I lived in West Halls and most of my other friends lived in East, I would go out of my way to make sure I was there with them every night. The concept of not hanging out with them, knowing they would all be there without me, was enough for me to abandon studying for an exam I had the next day just so I could be with them.

After freshman year, I knew that something had to change — even if it was going to be difficult to accept.

Anna Schultz-Girl Sitting On Bed Facing Wall
Anna Schultz / Her Campus

Multiple different factors helped in my process of accepting that I wasn’t going to be able to hang out with my friends at any given point every day.

regular classes were back in session

One of the most important factors that helped with my FOMO was the fact that in-person classes were in session for my sophomore year. While we were still masked up, being in the presence of a classroom made it a lot easier to bring normalcy to my day and allowed me to not just wait for them to be over to be with friends.

Keeping a schedule truly allowed for me to not rely on my friends for consistency in my life.

Everyone was further away from each other

After freshman year, students aren’t required to live on campus. Due to this, most of my friends moved somewhere that was about a 20 minute walk from campus because the price was more manageable for them.

Two of my other friends and I, however, chose to stay on campus in Nittany Apartments. That allowed for me to still be able to frequently see friends and hang out with them without needing it to be a bigger group of people to satisfy this incessant need I had to be kept in the loop. Social media and group chats also helped to remain in close contact when we were apart for longer periods of time.


Clubs were another way that I was able to keep myself busy, especially since they are in the later hours of the day. By replacing the time I used to make for solely being with friends, I was able to better prepare myself for my future as well as meet new people.

Additionally, after becoming so busy, I made peace with the fact that this school year wasn’t anything like my freshman year. Now that more activities and classes were opening up on campus, everyone was bound to become more busy and take their own paths through school.

In the end, while these factors did play a huge role in helping me grow out of my FOMO stage, I think the biggest change was my mindset. If you miss something and it was truly important, you’ll find out about it one way or another. Ruining your grades or sleep schedule just to be with friends isn’t worth it in the end, and if they’re your true friends, there will always be more time to hang out with them in the future.

Also, learning to be comfortable alone is something that is really important. While we spent a lot of time alone due to the pandemic and you want to soak up as much social time as you can, being able to enjoy your own company is such an important part of life.

Shannon is a junior from East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in sports studies. She loves La La Land, rom-coms, and the music industry (Taylor Swift). Follow her on Twitter @shantanczos!