Angel Wood Know how to say ‘no’ to FOMO

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Question: How do you conquer the fear of missing out?

Dear reader,

A day in the life for a student may include many classes, meetings and events, creating a very busy and demanding schedule. As a senior, this is what almost every day of the week looks like. 

Others ask me, “Why are you so busy, Angel? Why do you do that to yourself?” 

Well, long before I entered college, I was told, “You need to be involved in college.”

They said: “Do this. Do that. Be busy.” And although there are so many benefits to being involved, being too involved can outweigh all the benefits.

But I did as they said and got as involved as I could, and now I am left with little time for homework and relaxation. 

Because of my leadership roles on campus, I have found myself feeling that I need to go to every event to be a good example and to be seen. I have also found that when I don’t go to an event, especially an event that my friends are going to, I feel that I have failed and am missing out. 

And that is what FOMO is. Fear of missing out. It can make you go to every event regardless of if you have time to do so, or it can negatively affect your mental health as you choose to miss out on them. If you feel you have this fear, you are not alone because 75% of young adults also experience it. 

The Utah Tech University community does a great job hosting multiple events throughout the week, with most days having more than one. Whether it’s a Utah Tech Student Association event, an event put on by the university, a sports game or a club meeting, it’s safe to say students are offered many ways to be involved. That doesn’t even count the things that are unrelated to school like work, church events and hanging out with friends and family. 

However, it’s OK to not go to every event, every hangout and even every class. It’s OK to tell your friends you can’t go because you have homework. And it is OK to take time for yourself away from others.

There will always be something to go to, so missing one or two events will never be the end of the world. You truly are not missing out.

There will be times when you are tempted to go to something, but you know you do not have the time or energy for it. Maybe you have an assignment due that same night or need a break from socializing. Maybe your mental health is suffering and your self-care has been neglected. Maybe you have just had the longest and hardest week. Whatever the reason, it is OK to say no and to take a break. 

I know that by the time the evening rolls around for me, which is when many of the events are, I am drained, tired and overwhelmed as the list of homework never ends. If I were to go to an event rather than prioritize relaxation and the things I need to get done, my mental health would suffer and I would be stressed and anxious.

You will find that as you start prioritizing the things that mean the most to you, whether it be your academics, your sleep schedule, your mental health or your well-being, the FOMO that once haunted you will slowly start to go away, or it will not affect you as much as it once did.

You will be more successful. More happy. More prepared. More healthy.

But, that’s not to say going to activities is bad. Going to these events and spending time with others can contribute to a fun college journey filled with memories, friendships and the feeling of belonging. There should always be a balance between your academics and involvement. But going to everything because you fear missing out, that is another story.

As I sit here writing this story after telling a friend I could not go to an event, I can confidently say I do not feel that FOMO that I once felt. I feel more satisfaction in getting my work done than going to an event I’d end up leaving early anyway. But more importantly, I find more satisfaction in investing in my priorities: my academics and my mental health.


Angel Wood 

If you are seeking advice on something, it can be anything, message me on Instagram at @angel.utahtech.