How to Deal with FOMO

College students are pretty stressed out most of the time, but sometimes school work and extracurriculars are not the main factors that cause these feelings of anxiousness. Rather, the culprit that so many students succumb to is much stronger: the fear of missing out (FOMO).

FOMO is a feeling many people suffer from on a daily basis. FOMO can occur when an individual decides not to attend a particular event or party all their friends go to, but in general it occurs when people decide to have a night-in instead of going out.

FOMO is especially alive and well in the college realm. The idea of not going out every night, particularly when your friends do, can be a huge stressor for a lot of students. Additionally, with social media, parties and events tend to look a lot more fun than they actually are. But, seeing this filtered, edited version of an opportunity skipped can be a really awful feeling.

If we are being honest, going out every night is not practical or smart. If you have a big test one night and all your friends are going out, it should be a no-brainer to skip. But, for a lot of college students, it’s not that easy. The power of FOMO is so strong that many students will go to every event possible, in turn, burning themselves out, just to avoid the feeling of FOMO.

So, how can college students deal with FOMO? Well, the answer is certainly not avoiding it all together. Rather, it is important to face it straight on. Students need to remember FOMO is often based on “what if’s.” What if I miss something important? What if it’s the most fun party in the entire world? What if all my friends meet someone famous? While all these are possible, they are unlikely.

I know from experience that when I am unsure of going out, it’s better just to stay in. If I am not completely in the mood, the night turns into a mess and I find myself wishing I would have just stayed home. In other words, do not base your decisions off of “what if’s,” rather base it off our certainty. If you absolutely have a midterm in the morning tomorrow, will you certainly be able to make that class if you go out tonight? Those are the questions to ask yourself.

Circling back to my point on social media- let’s not forget it is all fake. Social media is a highlight reel of everyone’s most exciting parts of their lives. I, like everyone else, am guilty of keeping my social media updated just enough so it looks like I am busy and having fun every weekend, but, in reality that is not the case. I show people what I want them to see, not what my everyday life is actually like. So don’t let others’ Snapchat stories induce a feeling of FOMO.

The easiest and most effective way to conquer FOMO is by learning how to spend your alone time in a productive or enjoyable way. Alone time is not only healthy for you, but it’s extremely important. Being alone is vital in getting to better know yourself and your needs. Additionally, it is always a good idea to pull yourself back, away from the hustle of the real world, and just be present with yourself.

Alone time can be super fun and relaxing if you know how to make the most of it. But, it is a skill that you need to master. In today’s world of social media, we are constantly being surrounded by others, even if not physically with them. It can be hard to adjust to being with only one person, yourself. The best way to master alone time is by turning loneliness into solitude. Find something you enjoy doing, it can be as simple as watching a television show or reading a book. Or, you can take up a new hobby, like making jewelry, painting, or even sewing! However you choose to spend your alone time, make sure you’re not just choosing something to distract you, rather, choose something that helps ground you.

Remember that FOMO is totally normal, especially in college; but, don’t let FOMO control you! Make decisions based on your needs and don’t be afraid to be alone sometimes!