College students often find themselves grappling with the Fear Of Missing Out, endearingly shortened to ‘FOMO’, as they struggle to keep their lives together. Here’s delving deep into this fear to understand it better.

College years are an amalgamation of a never-ending struggle for attendance, CGPA, friends, and social life. Managing all of these dimensions, and devoting equal attention to all of these aspects become quite impossible and we end up missing out on one thing or the other in our bid to keep them all in our control. No matter how much we try, acing the art of keeping a perfect balance between all these aspects is one Herculean task.

“I need to complete my assignments and my friends are out there partying and having fun,” or “I’ll miss out on an awesome trip with my friends if I pursue this internship in the summers,” and the more famous one, “I must keep up with the show that I hate, because I want to be relevant” etc.. If you have had similar thoughts draining you out of joy and making you constantly discontented with your life, you are suffering from a syndrome called FOMO.

FOMO is defined as anxiety than an exciting or an interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.

Youngsters are most vulnerable to FOMO as anxiety of living a perfect life and comparing their lifestyles with that of their peers constantly pressurize them. Darlen McLaughlin, assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science College says, “FOMO is especially rampant in the millennial community because they see a peer achieving something they want, and somehow in their mind, that achievement means something is being ‘taken away’ from them.” This could, perhaps, be linked to the kind of connectivity that we have – with people posing on Instagram, Facebook, etc., it becomes difficult not to compare yourself with others. And the verity of the virtual image of people is always a big question mark, that seems to get blurred in our fit of envy.

Constantly getting affected by this fear hampers productivity and ends up in acute dissatisfaction. Thus, dealing with FOMO in a smart manner is essential to retain one’s sanity.

It becomes imperative to internalize the fact that no matter what you do, you’ll always miss out on something. Constantly dwelling on what you are missing out will strip you of your satisfaction. It is also significant to prioritise, so you invest your time in activities that are yielding and actually interest you. So, tell yourself that’s okay to miss a few parties or outings as you are working towards an even more important goal.

Besides, this idea of the Gen-Y, that says that there has to be this constant state of bliss is especially problematic. Not saying that there shouldn’t be ambition, or motivation to be able to do everything, but one must realise that it is okay to have bad days, or dissociation, or not having watched the show that everyone seems to be talking about.

Bottom line is that for everyone, their mental health should be their number one priority, even if it means disappointing your friends and peers.


Image Credits: The Irish Times


Shreya Agrawal

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