As told by Tam: FOMO

Tamra Smalewitz

Tamra Smalewitz
Tamra Smalewitz

Fear of missing out, also known as FOMO, is a growing part of the college experience these days. Before college, I had never heard the term, and now I hear it every day. Many of my friends have FOMO, some admit it and others cannot face the truth of it.

FOMO is when someone needs to know what those in their social circle are doing every minute of the day, and they must feel included.


An article from The Guardian describes FOMO as “revolving around a person’s fear that they will miss out on something more exciting, fun or interesting than what they are currently doing.”
If you are reading this and think, “Hmm, I can relate to FOMO,” keep reading because I have some helpful tips on how to help you get through it.
Let me start by saying what others are doing is not always better than what you are currently doing. An example of this is that if you are with friends watching a movie and having a good time, then another friend strolls in and announces that they are going to a party, do not ditch your current friends to go with them unless everyone involved decides to go. Parties can be either a really positive or really negative experience, so if you decide to ditch your current plans to go, you are risking having a worse time than you were back on the couch watching that movie. 
Leaving others to do something else can result in hurt feelings. If you were with someone and they got up and left to do something “more fun” than what they were doing with you, would that hurt your feelings? It would definitely hurt mine, so the next time someone new comes in that is on their way out to do something else, think twice before you leave with them. You only miss out when you convince yourself so, and every moment is exactly what you make it to be. Sometimes instead of changing your plans, you should change your attitude.
The urge is real to leave and do what others are doing when it seems more exciting, but let me tell you mono e mono, stay put. Enjoy what you are doing and who you are with, and ask yourself, “Will I really have a better time if I leave?” The answer to that will most likely be no, so stay put and enjoy yourself and your current company.
The wider spectrum of FOMO extends to having a fear that you will miss out on achieving different experiences and opportunities before you die. Many fear they will die without doing what they truly want in life.

“The Buried Life” is a show that follows four men who go around the world fulfilling desirable experiences they have put on their bucket list. The men from the show say, “Relying on our wits and the good will of others, we travel the globe to complete a list of things to do before we die.” These four men, whether they identify with FOMO or not, have decided to take fate into their own hands to cross important experiences items off their bucket list. 

Whether your Fear of Missing Out is confined to the college environment or spans into general life before death, we have the power to make situations in our lives happy, memorable and worth it.
Collegian Columnist Tamra Smalewitz can be reached at or on Twitter @tamrasmalewitz