Some days, I feel like I'm ready to leave college after being here for only three semesters. Don't get me wrong—I love my school. The campus is beautiful, my professors have been (mostly) amazing, I've learned so much, and I've been given so many amazing opportunities. However, I still find myself not enjoying my time here at moments. In fact, I've put myself on track to get my undergraduate degree a whole year early because I'm so eager to move forward at times (and because I want to go to grad school, too).
I'm not trying to say that I'm somehow more mature or better than everyone else, but I feel this disconnect between myself and the people around me in the sense that I'm not doing all of this right. Frankly, it makes me feel so alone even though I'm literally far from it. It's been having me feel severely depressed lately and it has taken me a while now to realize what it all means and where it is coming from.
Going to a large public school, there is a distinct party/Greek life culture that I feel like I'm missing out on for some reason. I see all of these people seemingly having the time of their lives at parties that I really don't care to go to myself and yet I feel somehow wrong for not relishing in it the way everyone else does. To combat this, I force myself to go out late and take advantage of all the opportunities to party and what not while it really isn't something I want to do most of the time; I just feel like I need to so that I don't look back and regret not doing those things when I had the chance. I am not content with doing the things I actually like to do because they somehow seem inadequate to the 'college experience' I'm supposed to be having. I just feel so upset with myself anytime I turn down an offer to go out or don't actively pursue making plans to do so.
I mean, I like to go out every so often, but not always to the extent of my peers. I keep having this FOMO-related depression and it is something that I need to learn to see as not my fault. Rather, it is the fault of the college-party stereotype we have been pushed into believing as the 'right way' to go about it all.
So, to all the people out there reading this who are able to resonate with what I'm saying, just know you're not alone. There is no reason you have to live up to the party culture expectations in order to make the most of your college experience. Sure, they're pretty fun, but you have so much time to do all of that and what is really important right now is to listen to yourself and do what makes you happy. That is how college really shapes us into the adults we are destined to become, and it is a lesson that I am still having to teach myself even if it feels contradictory to everything I've been led to believe about living college to the fullest.
I am constantly reassuring myself that staying in and doing what I really want shouldn't cause me to feel depressed and I urge you to do the same if you're consistently feeling a chronic and irrational sense of FOMO.