FOMO to make students feel left out

Syd and Brooke Jacques take photos of themselves on their smart phones. FOMO is (BYU Photo)
Syd and Brooke Jacques take photos of themselves on their smart phones. The “fear of missing out” or FOMO is a form of social anxiety where individuals are concerned about missing out on opportunities, new experiences and fun activities. through social media. (BYU Photo)

Days are getting shorter, the weather is getting colder and homework is getting harder. As the semester starts to wind down BYU students may feel the pressure to get good grades, but also make good memories.

The “fear of missing out” or FOMO is a form of social anxiety where individuals are concerned about missing out on opportunities, new experiences and fun activities. Students want to do everything and be everywhere at the same time. Social media technologies like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are directly linked to the rise of FOMO, according to

All BYU students, freshman to senior, can overcome FOMO by following a few easy steps.

Managing expectations and priorities is the first step to managing FOMO.

Julie H. Haupt, a professor in the School of Family Life, teaches students in her “Strengthening Marriage and Family” class that managing expectations will not only strengthen relationships, but bring peace in students’ lives.

Students may feel disappointed because their BYU experience isn’t what they expected it to be. They haven’t gone on many dates, their grades haven’t been satisfactory or they aren’t having as much fun as they thought they would.

Step 1

Managing expectations and then prioritizing them can helps students see their college experience from a new perspective.

“I think we sometimes require too much from others and ourselves,” Haupt said. “Students should look at themselves and have a discussion. Are they adding expectations on themselves to go out and do everything they possibly can? Why are they unsatisfied? Are their expectations realistic?”

Step 2

Once expectations are managed and priorities set, students have more control of when they complete their homework and when they will join their friends for a late night movie.

The second step in battling FOMO is to get involved.

Melissa Tingey, a student studying psychology, had an overwhelming desire to get involved when she came to BYU.

“I wanted to get involved in everything,” Tingey said. “There are a ton of cool opportunities at BYU, but I overload myself every semester.”

Students like Tingey may want to participate in every activity that BYU has to offer, but finding a balance and choosing activities that fit with expectations and priorities is key.

Tingey is a member of a club on campus that is related to her major. Doing this helps her improve her studies and also have fun. Organizations like Y-Serve and BYUSA on campus are a great way to gain experience and meet new friends. And with clubs that range from Ping-Pong club to Ukulele club, students won’t have a hard time finding something right for them.

Rick Francis, a student studying exercise science, participates in intramurals on campus.

“They are a great way for me to have fun and stay active,” said Francis.

Step 3

Lastly, students should try to minimize screen time. Constantly looking at social media can keep students from finishing homework which then leads to staying home from activities. The cycle of FOMO continues.

Unplugging can help students be in the moment and focus on the experiences they are having, instead of looking at what others’ are doing. Students can make goals to only look at social media after homework is finished or to not look at their phones when they are with friends. Being present in the moment is also beneficial because it helps people appreciate the experiences they have every day, according to

Kelsey Partridge, a student studying humanities, has limited herself to social media on weekends. She also tries to not let her phone become her best friend.

“I totally have that fear,” Partridge said. “Sometimes I sit at home and look at how happy everyone is. Or for some reason I check my phone every two seconds because I don’t want to miss any last-minute sky-diving or something like that.”

The struggle with FOMO is real for many BYU students, but managing expectations and priorities, getting involved, and unplugging from technology can help in the battle against it.

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