Why FOMO is Bad for Your Health

Why FOMO is Bad for Your Health

And other things we do to drive ourselves crazy.

You get to college and find all this freedom. Free time, freedom from parents, freedom to choose your classes, your major, your friends, your activities, your sleep schedule, and more. With this freedom comes a barrage of choices — so many choices, in fact, that many find themselves overwhelmed. Some take this overwhelming feeling and dive right back under the covers, opting to not do much of anything. Others try to do it all. Neither one turns out very successfully for most of us, unfortunately. With so much to do and see, with Facebook invites to various events coming in daily, email accounts that have to be checked hourly (or more), Groupme messages, Snapchats, elective classes, trips abroad, student groups on campus, etc., it’s so hard to find what really matters to you, and so easy to feel like you’re missing out. If only I had joined that club, if only I had done that this weekend instead of that other thing, if only I had become friends with that group of people, if only I had picked that major or taken that class or gone on that trip, or… The list is endless.

And if you’re anything like me, thinking about all of this gives you a headache and makes you sick to your stomach. We drive ourselves crazy thinking about what could have been. And in an effort to avoid regret, we overcommit ourselves, stretching ourselves thin, yet claiming that we “work well under pressure” or “like being challenged.” Now, that may all be true. Many people function at really high levels and can handle having a lot on their plates. But, even for these individuals, there comes a tipping point where this FOMO-bred over-commitment creates an unhealthy lifestyle.

Please raise your hand (not actually, unless you don’t mind garnering odd stares from those around you) if you’ve ever lost sleep over something you aren’t passionate about. If you’ve missed spending time with a loved one, or doing one of your favorite things, for something your whole heart isn’t behind. If you’ve caught yourself asking, “Why am I doing this?” more times than normal lately. If you catch yourself explaining most of the things on your to-do list with “I have to” or “I should.” Now, there is such a thing as being overcommitted to a laundry list of things you love. This is hard, but it’s my opinion that this feels less like overcommitment and more like fulfillment. If you love what you’re doing, it’s less likely to feel like work. You don’t mind spending all your time and energy on it, because it fills you up and shapes who you are. But it’s this other kind of commitment, the kind that comes from FOMO and comparison to those around you, that slowly eats away at you. That makes you feel tired not only to your bones but to your soul. That causes you to drag and slows you down, until you’re not sure you can move forward. That stresses you out to the point of simultaneous immobility and panic.

Is the potential of a great time, opportunity, or Instagram pic worth all this? As someone who has been there and done that, usually the answer is no. It’s great to try new things and be involved, and it’s great to challenge yourself and test your limits. But what I’ve found those around me and I struggle with most is saying “no” and freeing ourselves from commitments that no longer fulfill us or enrich our lives. Of course there are always things that need to be done that no one wants to do; that’s an unavoidable fact of life, and something none of us can get around. But, since we already have those stresses in our lives, why add to it by leaving ourselves tied to things we not only don’t want to do, but don’t have to do?

Oftentimes this comes from comparing ourselves to those around us. Our friends, our roommates, our peers. It seems like everyone is doing so much so well, that surely we’re just falling behind and not good enough. Well, this is not true, although it can certainly feel that way. What’s important to realize is personal limits. Yeah, some people really can do it all. But, these individuals are few and far between. And wouldn’t you rather do a few things that you love really, really well, than a ton of things you’re only partially invested in at a marginal level? It’s time we start asking questions about fulfillment. We are spending too much time, energy, and money to be where we are to do things we don’t care about. I haven’t figured out how to stop comparing myself to my friends, but I have figured out that I’m unhappiest when I’m constantly worrying about how I measure up.

My roommate is a chemical engineering major, the internal vice president of our residential college, does research for credit, was in the 50th anniversary production of Hello Hamlet, is a campus tour guide, and is involved in a slew of other things across campus, from the Rice Annual Fund to being a co-advisor at Will Rice College. One of my suitemates is an athlete from Australia who keeps her grades up while having the kind of social life TV shows are made of (and dating the kinds of guys cast in those TV shows). My other suitemate is a swimmer who made the FREAKING OLYMPIC TRIALS and was part of Wiess’ O-Week this past year. And I’m sure they all do things I have no idea about. They’re fantastic, fascinating people, and I love them each dearly. But damn, is it hard to live with them sometimes. They look like they do it all (and generally look amazing doing it), and it’s really easy to compare myself to them and think that I don’t measure up. We all do such different things, it’s easy to get bogged down by what they do that I don’t (or can’t), and fear I’m missing out because I’m not involved in what they are, or to the level that they are.

This is so frustrating and so unproductive. It’s hard not to feel this way, not to compare yourself to those close to you — especially those you live with. But if we can stop, even for a moment, and be satisfied with what we are doing, with what we can do, that will do a world of good. Maybe it means your commitments change, and you stop doing things just because you feel like you should. Maybe it means you take on a few things you’re really passionate about. Maybe it means your commitments don’t change at all, but you'll throw yourself into them with a renewed energy. Maybe you'll get more sleep. At the end of the day, I’m just here to do my thing, and you’re just here to do yours. Whoever likes it likes it, and whoever doesn’t can leave. Don’t let the FOMO get you down, or get in your head; it’s all going to turn out fine.

Cover Image Credit: My suitemates and me at Beer Bike 2016 last weekend

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Elisabeth Carell, Choose UMich Because You KNOW We’re The Best Big 10

We are a community that sticks with you forever, an amazing network that’ll take you above and beyond.

After stopping at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the bathroom and some food, the Carell’s arrived at the University of Michigan for a real tour of an *actual* school.

Multiple students spotted Elisabeth’s parents, Steve and Nancy Carell throughout the day. They were kind enough to stop and take pictures with them, and when one student called out “Michael!” Steve turned around and laughed with the 20-year-old. As amazing as it was to have these two on our campus, that isn’t the point of this article.

Dear Elisabeth Carell,

We hope you enjoyed visiting the one and only University of Michigan. This school is one of a kind; wear a Michigan hat or shirt around any town in the United States and you are bound to get “Go Blue!” yelled to you throughout the day. We are a community that sticks with you forever, an amazing network that’ll take you above and beyond.

1. Game days are no competition

From being woken up at 7 a.m. to getting ready, to the euphoric tailgates to WINNING, nothing beats a Michigan game day. Nothing. Being in the Big House thousands decked out in Maize and Blue is incomparable, you will never feel more a part of something than you do when you are all cheering for our football team in that stadium. And trust me, you want to go to a school where they actually win their games.

Anyone that goes to the school can go on and on about all the traditions we have at this school.

2. At some point during your time here, you will most definitely paint the rock

What’s on the rock changes each day, sometimes even multiple times a day.

3. We have a giant Spinning cube

The Cube” as most people call it, brings good luck. Students and alumni are known to spin it when they walk by.

4. The traditions start as soon as you become a wolverine

During orientation we walk through the fountain towards the diag, symbolizing the beginning of us as a Wolverine. Then on graduation day, the students walk through the fountain again towards the graduate school, symbolizing their bright futures.

5. Kissing under the West Engineering Arch

It is known that if you kiss someone at midnight under the Arch before you’re 21, then this is the one you will marry.


I swear this is real, in the middle of the diag lays a brass M, if you step on it you will fail your first blue book exam. The only way to reverse this is to run to the Natural History Museum from the M, kiss the two stone pumas and run back between the first and last stroke of midnight –naked.

7. Our campus is beautiful

You can always count on something going on in the diag and people laying in hammocks or walking on tightropes tied between trees. The Arb, the buildings, the views, it’s all exactly what you could want for a college campus.

8. State Street

There are tons of “state streets” across the country, but nothing quite compares to this one. There is art and culture everywhere you look, amazing clothing stores and of course this gorgeous street brings me to…food.

9. Food

From Frita Batidos to Fred’s to Zingerman’s, the list goes on and on.


11. The education

Our clubs and activities are endless. There is a place for everyone and so much opportunity. The faculty care, they want to see you succeed. I have heard many stories where faculty have introduced a job or an internship to a student that skyrocketed their career. With all the classes and majors you could want, Michigan specializes in anything and anyone with passion. That’s what makes us so great.

This is where the best memories and friendships happen, I promise. College can be hard, but lucky as a student at one of the best universities I’ve fallen in love with this place faster than I’d ever think. You go in and faster than you would imagine you are able to find connection unlike any other. This is where it's at.

Come here to have the best college experience you could ever ask for.


The entire UofM student body

Cover Image Credit: Sarah Richman

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When You Work A Job In College, You Earn Things Mom And Dad's Money Can't Buy

The appreciation I have gained is something that cannot be bought, it was earned by hard work and dedication.

As my first year of college approached, I pleaded with my parents not to make me work during my first semester. I selfishly just wanted to have as much free time as possible to hang out with my friends, go out to frat parties, and sleep the whole next day. The last thing I wanted was to have a job to worry about, I just wanted to live off of my parents' dime.

I also thought it would have been nice to have school and extracurriculars as my only responsibility, but my parents refused to let me not have a job. They were both extremely hard workers for all of their life and saw no reason I could not handle both work and school.

So, against my wishes, I went out and got myself a hostessing job at a local restaurant. I had no idea the lessons and skills I would gain from this job that I dreaded on applying for initially.

1. Time Management

One of the things I value most about simultaneously being a student and having a job is learning how to manage my time. Prior to being a working student, I was extremely lazy when it came to doing assignments and projects, I would put them off until the very last possible moment. Once I started working, I had no time to waste, I was forced to get my life together and prioritize my responsibilities. So instead of spending my free time laying around and watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians, I was finishing my assignments before I had to go to work because I knew I had no other choice. I learned how to balance my responsibilities while still making time for myself.

2. Maturity

I learned that you cannot rely on your parents financially forever and that it is crucial to learn how to support yourself. I know my parents wanted to teach me that the real world is hard and they wanted to prepare me for it as best as they could. They did not want to shelter and enable me because they realized that it would only hinder me in the long run. My job itself taught me how to take responsibility for my actions, be on time, and to be professional. This all around gave me a more mature outlook on life and strengthened me as a person in several areas.

3. Perseverance

Being a working student is not easy and often makes it really hard to keep going when you are tired, sick, or just feeling worn out. Balancing both work and school can be extremely overwhelming and just make you want to give up at times, but you learn how to persevere because you care about your future. I had coworkers, teachers, and friends/family supporting me through every obstacle that was placed in my path and helped me get closer to achieving my goals. I knew the consequences of missing work, skipping class, and being lazy so I chose to persevere even when times were tough.

4. The Value of Money

When your parents support you financially, you never realize how much things cost. You probably never thought twice about swiping your parents' credit card for a $5 coffee or a $20 meal, but once it's your own money you start to think twice about splurging on unnecessary items. I began to realize how much things like groceries and gas cost and started to manage my money accordingly.

I also learned that money just doesn’t grow on trees and that there is a lot of hard work required in earning money. I would never have realized the true value of a dollar if my parents didn't make me get a job in college.

5. Appreciation

By having a job in college, I gained such an appreciation for things that I would have previously taken for granted. I have learned what it means to work for things and truly deserve everything that I have worked for. The appreciation I have gained is something that cannot be bought, it was earned by hard work and dedication.

Cover Image Credit: Carlie Konuch

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