By: Lily Livaudais (she/her/hers), Peer Success Leader, 2019-2020
Read time: <3 minutes
I struggled with FOMO, the fear of missing out, a lot my freshman year. I was always feeling left out when my friends went out and I had to stay in for whatever reason: the need to study, feeling drained, having other commitments, etc. Compounding my fear of missing out, homesickness. Being from the New Orleans area, I could easily visit home to combat my homesickness. Yet, this only made my transition to Tulane more difficult. FOMO continued to plague me as I watched my friends’ Snapchat stories documenting their fun times together, while I was at my parents’ house.
With time, I did begin feeling more comfortable at Tulane and as a result, I started to spend less time at home and more time with friends on campus. But even then, I still experienced FOMO because I realized I didn’t have enough time, energy, or money to do everything that my friends were doing. Whether it was going out, eating at nice restaurants, or just hanging out in the dorms, I realized that I couldn’t do it all.
This understanding was a shocking and somewhat depressing reality at first, but soon I discovered JOMO or the joy of missing out! By taking a personal inventory of my time, my energy, and my finances, I was able to set personal and social boundaries for myself. I said no to plans when it was appropriate. I budgeted time for activities such as: making a weekly schedule by the hour, writing in my journal to prioritize my mental health, and planning free time to spend it outdoors. This set me up for academic success and made me realize it's empowering to put yourself and school first when the situation really calls for it.
For the sake of transparency, I must admit that at times it felt lonely and unproductive being alone. However, being on my own some of the time ended up benefiting me in the long run. By saying no to some of the fun things, I had more time and energy to devote to my studies; using my alone time to review chemistry lectures and rewrite cell biology notes for my ecology major. In that time, I started to notice that I was really enjoying my intro to psychology class and its material much more. As a result, after some deliberation, I decided to change my major to psychology, which has been more interesting and gratifying to me.
By working on my studies more, I became less fixated on all of the ways I was feeling left out and more focused on ways to create a more balanced life. One that includes a healthy academic and social life.
The thing about FOMO is that it’s a useless fear. There are always going to be things that other people are doing that you aren’t. Remember that there are always going to be plenty more opportunities to participate in activities with your friends. Even if you end up not being able to go to Voodoo with your friends this year, there’s always next year!
Everyone experiences FOMO at one time or another. You’re not alone. Remind yourself that there's a joy in missing out. Find ways to make your alone time enjoyable and discover what you can do by yourself. Spend some time reading a new novel, taking a walk in Audubon Park, or catching up on your to-do list. Being productive and successful on your own is definitely a mood booster. And by the time you’ve finished doing all of the tasks on your to-do list or that will set you ahead academically, you’ll probably feel more comfortable spending some time and energy going out with friends.
There are lots of ways to practice self-care. What works for you may not work for someone else. The important thing is to make it a priority in your schedule. Here are some ideas:
Don't identify with party culture? We all aren’t going out every night. Looking for something more? Find out ways to engage intellectually at Tulane, tell us about your experience and meet like-minded people. If you’re considering transferring, this is a safe space to give us feedback. We can support you in whatever decision you make.
Over lunch (12-1pm) in 116 Mussafer Hall, enjoy free Reginelli's Pizza and music, meet new people, and talk to a Success Coach about Tulane.
Talk TU Us happens the first Thursday of the month, every month of the semester. All lunches happen in the same room and at the same time.