Coping with "FOMO" in College

In high school, I constantly struggled with a fear of missing out, “FOMO” for short. Living under my parents' roof, I developed a steady routine. During the week, I would go to school, then sports practice, family dinner, and homework. The weekend would be my time to socialize. I lived in the anxiety of missing out on any social gathering. I believed missing one event would exclude me from quality time with friends. Having a twin sister, I was constantly aware if I were to be excluded from any gathering as well. I also had the mindset, “If I don’t go to one party, I don’t know when the next one will be.”

Now, as a sophomore in college, while I am still struggling with similar problems of self-doubt and feeling left out at times, I no longer cope with the same amount of anxiety from missing one night out with friends. While there is a huge stigma around going out in college, I have learned the importance to first and foremost prioritizing myself.

While at times it may feel necessary to go to the boot, the boot will always be waiting for you. There will always be another night of the week to hang out with friends. However, we are at school in the end to earn a degree. It is okay to favor the books for one night and go to the library. It is also equally okay to take the night for yourself, and put on a facemask while watching Netflix. At the end of the day, your mental health should be the number one priority.

As an example, after a full weekend at Voodoo festival, I was mentally and physically exhausted. On top of that, I had an Accounting exam covering four chapters the day after Halloween. I was prepared to power through, and go to Frenchman street. However, at the end of the day, I prioritized my well being by staying at the library, and being well rested for my text the next day. I was able to make the experience enjoyable by treating myself to Starbucks, and surrounding myself with company to study with.

The most important thing to remember is that balance is key. While one should not have “FOMO” for missing one night out, its important to de-stress in whatever way that means to you. If that means going to a party, then go to a party. However, if that means watching Netflix, then prioritize yourself, and watch Netflix.