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uni-life 3 min read

FOMO: The struggle is real

By Tom 16 Dec 2019
Students studying with laptop and coffee.


Does the idea of missing out on even the smallest thing keep you up at night? Does a clash of plans send you into hysterics? Do you expect to be invited to everything and lose it when you find out you weren’t?

Nobody likes being left out or forgotten, but if you can relate to the above, there’s a good chance you suffer from FOMO: a fear of missing out.

FOMO is real and it can strike anywhere, at any time because let’s be honest: no matter how much you want to be, you can’t be everywhere at once!

If you’ve ever tried to fight FOMO, you can probably relate to these 9 stages:

It all starts with a seemingly innocent question:

“Hey, we’re heading out to that festival/networking event/Friday night drinks. Want to join us?”

Stage 1: Indifference

“Nah, I might just stay in today.”

'No, thank you.' - Lindsay Lohan from Mean Girls Gif.

Stage 2: Second guessing

It might have actually been pretty cool … oh well.

Oh well! braces girl gif

Stage 3: Popular opinion

Oh wow, everyone is going for once …

Where are you going? gif

Stage 4: Stiff upper lip

Doesn’t matter, I made my decision and I’m going to stick with it.

I ain't even mad gif

Stage 5: Realisation

Wait. There’s free stuff? Are you kidding?!

Oh, what have I done? Moe from The Simpsons gif

Stage 6: Reverse FOMO

I’ll just put up a Tweet and make them feel like they’re the ones missing out!

“Having the best day ever! #somuchfun”

skit of Donald Trump saying  'wow, what a great, smart tweet!' gif

Stage 7: Loneliness beckons

I am literally the only person not there.

I'm so happy for everyone. - Girls tv show gif

Stage 8: Increasing panic

What if they cut me out of the friend group because I didn’t go? What if this is the event talked about for years to come?

 increasing panic gif

Stage 9: Sense of impending doom

This is the worst decision of my life …

 head in hands gif


See, the bitter truth about suffering from FOMO is that even when you aren’t somewhere physically, it’s hard to detach yourself emotionally.

The solution? Well, there really isn’t one. The best thing to do is make sure you have a reason every time you say no to something.

In reality, you can’t be everywhere at once and plans will clash from time to time. But don’t make things worse for yourself by being lazy and making excuses to get out of something, and risk the torment of regret you know you’ll feel later.

At USQ, there are heaps of events and activities you can get involved in, from weekly on-campus common hours to mentoring programs, as well as the many USQ clubs and societies (including options for online students). If FOMO isn’t enough to convince you to get out there, maybe Tracey’s advice for making the most of your time at uni will provide the motivation you need.

Author profile image of Tom