The Joy of Missing Out

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.

Here are some Success resources to help you make the most of your time.

Practices for Self-Care & Wellness

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:

  • Sleep: Plot twist. All nighters are not the move. Rest is essential to overall health and is closely linked to academic success. Maintain a routine that allows you time to get enough sleep each night.
  • Exercise: Research shows that exercise can relieve stress, improve your mood, and help you sleep better. Block off time each week solely for getting exercise, break out that Splash card, and put that free Reily Center membership to use. 
  • Journal: This doesn't have to be a "Dear Diary" scenario. Let this be your reflection time to discover your strengths and visualize what you want out of life at Tulane and beyond. Dean's List one of your goals? Write down a plan to make it happen. Use the page to explore feelings on your day and what classes/activities you're most excited for. Maybe that will help you discover your major. Track your energy levels. Use that to plan your study breaks. 
  • Do something you love: Carve out time for your passions and hobbies, whether that’s hiking, crafting, dancing, reading for fun, or cooking. Hobbies provide you an outlet for managing stress and can increase happiness levels.
  • Practice self-compassion: Both treat and talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend. Replace self-critical thoughts with compassionate thoughts. 
  • Practice deep breathing/meditation: Take five minutes at least once a day to practice deep breathing. In just those few minutes you can lower your blood pressure and heart rate, thus reducing the physical affects of stress. If you arrive early to a class, practice deep breathing while you wait!
Talk TU Us Lunches with Success Coaches

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.