Dealing with FOMO

By University of Alberta Modified on December 05, 2022
Tags : Academics | Campus Life | Community

Are you afraid of missing out? Find out how you can be involved but not take it so far that it’s beyond your capacity.

 Dealing with FOMO

Life on campus goes by very quickly. You think you have all the time in the world; then when you look up, you’ve somehow magically appeared at finals season. You promised yourself that next semester things would be different, but you find yourself in a rinse-and-repeat cycle. Getting involved in extracurriculars is something that most people can agree will be beneficial, especially during your years in university, but somehow, it tends to drop off our list of priorities. Even worse, we deal with the fear of missing out on being more involved.

Whether you are interested in extracurricular activities on or off campus, here are a few strategies on dealing with the fear of missing out.

What is FOMO and what does it mean for students?

Fear of missing out is feeling uneasy, worried, or even anxious about missing out on information, experiences, or even life decisions. But what does this mean in the student context? This can address students on either end of a spectrum. On one end, there is a student who knows that they should be getting involved in extracurricular activities either on or off campus to enrich their resumés and life experience but may not be taking active steps to find these commitments.

On the other end, there is the student who seems to be involved in almost “everything” and wants to do more but cannot make the time commitment. The commonality between both ends of this spectrum is wanting to be more involved but “life” just seems to be getting in the way. As a result, you are constantly asking yourself, “what am I missing out on?

Be mindful and intentional about what you want

In life, we don’t necessarily do things just to do things. We tend to place special focus on the why. You should have an idea of the things you want to get out of extracurriculars before you begin the search for an opportunity.

Before getting involved in anything, you have to see the purpose. Ask yourself, what is the goal? What can I contribute? What can I take away? The purpose behind asking these questions is to figure out where this activity will fit into the bigger picture of what you want out of your life. Being intentional about what you choose to take part in will create greater enjoyment, takeaway, and satisfaction because it was purposeful.

You can’t have it all

Conflicting deadlines is just a part of life. You can’t be everywhere at once and do everything at the same time. What this means is you’ll have to prioritize what is important. You can do this by being intentional.

Something to remember is that just because you can’t do it now doesn’t mean you’ll never get the opportunity to pursue the opportunity. Realizing there is a time and place for everything and what is meant for you will come is a solid guiding principle to dealing with FOMO.

Fully contribute

We’ve already established that you can’t have it all at the same time. But when you do decide to commit to an opportunity, go all in. We always hear “what you put in is what you’ll get out,” so with that in mind, do your best to be fully present and committed to the opportunities you do choose to take part in.

What’s worse than the fear of missing out is reflecting and thinking, “I could have done better.” When you commit, be fully present so you can get the most out of the experiences you do decide to take part in.


Reflection is the greatest way to make the FOMO an instance and not a habit. Everything is a learning experience so reflecting on the things you have had the opportunity to take part in will help you clearly frame everything relative to the big picture and provide clarity moving forward.

Finally, be grateful

You should be happy and proud of what you accomplished up to this point. FOMO in the context of this story is just a way to continue improving upon what you already have built. In fact, FOMO can be a good sign, in the sense that it pushes you to want more.

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