If You or a Loved One is Experiencing F.O.M.O., There is Help Out There
F.O.M.O. (or Fear Of Missing Out) is a common problem these days, made worse thanks to rampant social media posts depicting glamorous, air-brushed snapshots of impossibly perfect lives. Everyone knows they’ve been affected by it far more often than they’d like to admit.
F.O.M.O. Keeps Us from Doing Things We Would Otherwise Enjoy
This is simply out of the fear that while we are away, something more important or even life-changing will happen without us. Logically speaking, this is a paradox. If you always avoid commitment so you don’t miss out on anything, you will never actually participate in these supposed “life-changing” events.
Obviously, this is one of the things that students consider when thinking about studying abroad. They will be away from their friends and families for weeks or months and a lot can happen in that time.
“Will my friends forget about me?”
“What if I get left out?”
“There is so much I’m going to miss!”
These are all valid thoughts that have certainly crossed the minds of many who have gone abroad over the years. It’s important to acknowledge these fears, but not let them rule your life.
How to minimize F.O.M.O.
Try to limit the amount of time you spend on social media. I know it can be difficult, especially when you want to share your adventures abroad on Instagram and Facebook every day.
Keep a journal or a blog. It is a great way to capture those feelings and adventures abroad while keeping them private (if you want to.)
Go to the market, chat with someone and put in practice those new language skills, find a new activity you can enroll in, and try to keep yourself away from your laptop. Shut it down, go explore!
Make new friends. Study abroad brings together people from all over the world, people you would never meet otherwise. Since this is such an intense experience that you are sharing with new people who are in your exact same situation, lifelong friendships are often made during study abroad. Therefore, if you are going to have F.O.M.O., you may want to fear what you’re missing out on by NOT going! (Note on Study Abroad friends: you will get to meet people from all over the globe, so you’ll have places to crash in cool cities all around the world if you play your cards right!)
True friends will always be there. If your friends are really your friends, they will be happy that you have the opportunity to go on such a fantastic adventure! You will pick up right where you left off, catching up with stories and laughing through tales of your individual exploits. Share pictures (not just the glamorous ones) and add your piece of the puzzle to the grand narrative.
The Bottom Line
You can’t be everywhere at once so inevitably you will miss out on something that would have actually changed your life. The key is to do whatever you think will make you the happiest, and whatever will build you up as a person and a global citizen. Years from now, you will always regret not doing something out of fear rather than doing something even though you were uncertain. Trust us.