FOMO is a real issue that a lot of young people experience as you go through a large portion of university life. You may feel the pressures of other people going out, socialising and actively doing things that you may not necessarily feel comfortable doing, but you may want to do them anyway, in order to fit the norms and stigma of what normal university life is like. These pressures can heighten young people’s feelings of anxiety, and it can also really affect other areas of normal day to day living, as you are constantly comparing to see if you are living up to those expectations that other people push towards you. And the reality is, you are allowed to feel like this. The normal university experience of going to lectures in person, and then speaking to course mates, and perhaps organising a night out after has been hindered due to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19.
There are so light ways to stop you feeling negative and the feelings of missing out on what university is offering.
Firstly, PUT everything into perspective.
It may be incredibly frustrating that you can’t attend that perfect night out that you have always been dreaming of, or meet up with the people that you have wanted to meet, but when you really think about it, everyone is in the same boat. Instead of stressing out on all the things that you can’t do now, focus on the here and the now. What can you actively do right now that can benefit your well-being? If you can’t go out, what can you do to enjoy spending time with the people in your house or accommodation to match that?
What you need to realise, is that not everyone gets the opportunity to go to university and experience the ‘uni’ lifestyle, so just enjoy the fact you have enrolled and you still have time to go out and do exactly what you’ve been wanting to do.
Make time for the things that really matter
I find that the more I focus the time on what actually matters to me, which could be a number of things, it just makes me feel so much better about any anxious feelings inside. A lot of my time is spent doing sport, or writing, and spending time with those who are closest to me. If you continue to do the same, then those feelings of FOMO will fade, because you aren’t really missing out if you are doing all the things that continue to make you feel positive and with that, will better your university experience. Too much time trying to think negatively about what you are missing will make you miss out more on finding the beauty in what makes you happy in day to day life, which is the most important thing.
Be optimistic about the future
As much as we don’t know how things will pan out, all we can do to keep us feeling that we aren’t missing out as much as we are, is to prepare for when we are able to. Accept that maybe now isn’t the time to do everything you want to do, which is an extremely hard skill in life that we all have to face up to, and be patient. Things will improve with time. We haven’t had to experience anything like this before, so we are all hoping that we can regain some sense of normality. That optimism will be the fuel to helping you to navigate the concerns and worries that we can all agree that we are feeling. University is so much more than the nights out. Take up a new skill, a sport, a volunteer group, and use this time to engage with new opportunities you may not get again
Comparison is not key: It is an illusion
If you are an avid social media scroller, where you are consistently checking up on people and seeing what they are doing, you are just making it harder for yourself. You need to try and not do this as often, because a large root of unhappiness is by comparing what you are doing to everyone else, and then feeling like you are not as successful or doing as well. The likes of Instagram and Snapchat are an illusion to the reality of how someone is feeling in that exact moment. Just because a snippet of someone’s life looks happy, that doesn’t mean that they are doing better than you are or are happier than you. You aren’t missing out on the most perfect life, as most students who have had to isolate and adapt to the new learning methods, are most likely feeling the exact same way and perhaps are using your own media to make themselves feel better.
At the end of the day, the utmost happiness you can feel is when you don’t care about the glamourising of posting every snippet of your day, and enjoying the company in person, or little acts that are much enjoyable through your eye than a screen.