For many college students, the fear of missing out, more commonly known as FOMO, is an extremely persuasive factor in deciding how to spend our time. Our generation has transitioned from going out and being with our friends because of a genuine desire to be social, to being motivated to do things simply because we're afraid of what will happen if we don't. Whether it is going out to see a movie, grabbing a bite to eat, or studying in the library, no one wants to be the odd man out.
At school, it seems we always want what we can't have. If we are stuck studying in the library, we fear missing out on that super fun party. If we are out with friends, we fear that we missed too much time that could have been spent studying. The common phrase, “the grass is always greener on the other side," has never made as much sense as it has to us in the past year, and as our freshman year comes to a close we find FOMO creeping its way into our transition back home for the summer. When at school, we miss our friends and family from home. When finally with them, we long to go back and see our friends at school.
So the day has finally come. After weeks of living in the library, emotional goodbyes, and reminiscent, teary-eyed freshman “lasts," it is finally time to head home. We packed up all of our belongings, now piled in heaps in the hallway, and looked inside at the skeleton of a dorm room we used to call, well, home. While you brush off the waves of nostalgia and sadness thinking about your past year, and leaving all the new memories and friendships behind, you are at least comforted in knowing that in just a few short months, you will return to take on even more collegiate adventures.
With this comfort to placate your emotions toward leaving your new “home," returning back to the old stomping grounds is almost refreshing. No longer bogged down by academic obligations, we are excited to reconnect with old high school friends, bolster our drained bank accounts through summer employment, regain a nice summer glow, and maybe even attend a few music festivals and concerts to fully exploit our crop top collection and unused face gems.
However, the first few days of being home were a bit unsettling. Trading our dorm rooms for our old bedrooms, eating home cooked meals rather than the dining hall food every day, and relying on designated drivers rather than the Uber app -- it all just seems so foreign, so different. Yet, like any other transition, we adapt. Seeing the faces of old friends, going to all the old hang outs, eating Sunday dinners with our families again- while we know a lot has changed, it is almost like nothing has changed at all.
Yet, as we watch the final episode of the ninth season of One Tree Hill on Netflix, finish yet another eight hour work shift, and sit around yet another bonfire with your old high school homies, you cannot help but pull out your phone and watch the Snapchat stories of some of your college friends in the midst of their spring semester, still enjoying all aspects of college life. Suddenly, FOMO sets in yet again.
Rocking flashy rompers and heels, dressed to impress the spring term crowd, we picture them strutting down the sidewalks, equally embracing both the summertime air and the streets of the campus we once called home. Squished beside our high school friends in the basements of our parents' home, we cannot help but see these Instagram pictures, Snapchat stories, and hypothetical visions and feel left out -- even though we should be enjoying where we are.
All in all, it is virtually impossible to never feel left out, or to never feel like you may have missed out on a certain experience. However, if we are always afraid of missing out, we will miss out on what we are actually doing in the moment. So put your phone down, enjoy the people you are with and the memories you are in the midst of making.