Mar 28th, 2023, 09:00 AM

Are AUP Students More Prone to FOMO?

By Ayah Shayeb
Image credit: Ayah Shayeb
How FOMO is the enemy of university students and ways to overcome it.

It’s 9pm on a Friday night in Paris.

You're sitting in your room, already regretting passing up the opportunity to hangout with your friends. But at the same time, you've spent too much money this week. And your economics classes drained all the energy out of you for the next couple of days.

You still couldn't shake off this empty, aching feeling in your chest. Maybe it was because you missed your dogs. Or because you wanted a bagel from the corner store back home. Or perhaps both. You somehow feel the need to cry but also fall asleep, snoozing surrounded by snot-covered tissues.

Being lonely as a university student in a big city can be a horrific experience, especially if you're away from your family and friends. Many students experience feelings of homesickness, culture shock and loneliness during their studies abroad. These feelings are normal and are a natural part of the adjustment process. There's so much to do but so little time. You don't know whether you should finally go out for that coffee date or finish up that assignment due yesterday. Everything feels so overwhelming and your love life could not be more non-existent. 

There's a simultaneous problem of self-isolation and the fear of missing out on what's going on in such a lively city.  FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, is a common feeling that many students experience, especially living in Paris. Whether it's a concert or a fashion show, there's always this invisible string pulling us towards outings we don't have the time or energy for. But with that comes the sadness and regret of not going. 

At its core, FOMO can be particularly difficult to deal with when you're already feeling lonely or isolated. The pressure to keep up with others and be a part of everything can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and make it harder to connect with others in a meaningful way. University is a time of great social opportunities and it's natural to want to be a part of everything that's going on. 


FOMO therapy

♬ Miss The Rage (Mario Judah) - HyPerZan

Rather than fret over missing a certain exhibit, try taking advantage of your surroundings and what they can provide for you. Join clubs and organizations on campus. AUP provides countless options and Engage is a great way to contact the organizers with any questions. There's a wide range of clubs and organizations, including sports teams, academic groups and volunteer organizations which are a great ways to socialize with peers who share similar interests and hobbies.

Be intentional with your time. Instead of trying to do everything, focus on the things that matter most to you. Make a list of your priorities and schedule your time accordingly. This can help you feel more in control of your life and less like you're missing out on everything.

Taking breaks from social media plays a huge role in pushing down this fear of missing out. Social media can be a major source of negativity as people often post about everything they do. The constant observations of other people's lives makes your own seem even worse than you think it is.  For some, it may seem ridiculous to pay so much attention to what others are doing, but if you're one who does care, you aren't alone in your feelings of missing out. It's the way you deal with these emotions and anxiety of being left out that matters the most. Taking a break from social media is one of the best ways of dealing with your own thoughts and feelings. It helps you focus on your own plans and reattaches you to your own reality and the joy you can feel from your own life.

Instead of constantly worrying about what you're missing out on, make an effort to stay connected with your friends. Staying connected with your friends helps with these feelings of not being included. Plan regular get-togethers or study sessions and make an effort to really engage with the people around you. It gives you a sense of belonging that you wouldn't have necessarily felt before. 

Regardless of all these activities, sometimes it's okay to miss out on things. Embrace the fact that you can't do everything and focus on enjoying the things that you are doing. Taking time for yourself can be just as rewarding as being social. You don't have to explain why you can't go out and never feel ashamed if you don't want to spend any more money. 

@gstaadguy Goodbye FOMO. Hello ROMO. #GstaadGuy ♬ ROMO - Gstaad Guy

Constant worry about missing out on experiences and meeting deadlines can be stressful and overwhelming. It affects many students' mental health and self-value. It's always important to seek support if things deteriorate further. If you're struggling with loneliness, anxiety or other mental health issues, don't hesitate to seek help: AUP has counseling services that are available to students upon appointment.

Sadness can feel like an endless pit and it never helps when one is feeling lonesome. But you should always remember that it's more than ok to miss out on a friend's outing if you don't have the energy for it. It's important to remember that it's normal to experience loneliness and FOMO from time to time, and that it's okay to take time for yourself to recharge and focus on your own well-being. By taking care of yourself and being mindful of your own needs, you can better cope with these feelings and find ways to connect with others in a more meaningful way.

You are never alone in feeling this way. 

In the end, whether in Paris, the U.S. or Tokyo, prioritize yourself and what YOU want to do with your life. Stop feeling pressured to act a certain way to fit into certain groups. You don't have to go clubbing every Saturday night. Instead, call a friend from back home. Go for a walk and buy a crepe. It doesn't always have to be out of this world exciting and “post worthy”. Chasing our younger years while we still can is understandable, but the little things in life are so much more important than we think.

So, take a deep breath and smile. You're in Paris baby.