Got FOMO???

Raptors share their experience with FOMO and how they fight that unpleasant feeling.

The big deal with FOMO — ”fear of missing out” — started when I was in middle school. I remember an incident where I found out that my friends went to have lunch together without inviting me. After that incident, I became a little insecure because I started to question if I was good enough for my friends. But, as years passed, I realized that I did not really care what my friends did without me. I noticed that there were other teens who are not hugely impacted by FOMO. They do experience FOMO but it is usually not to the point where it affects their mental health drastically.

Junior Kaylee Barnett is very involved in school– particularly with swim and theater. Because these activities are time-consuming, she has close friends in her extracurriculars. Even though Barnett has friends in the activities she is a part of, she occasionally feels FOMO.

Barnett believes that it is important to take care of your mental health first before you worry about other people’s agendas. (Crystal Li)

“I have a lot of friends that are in the same extracurricular activities as me. There will be times when I cannot hang out with them because of homework. So while my close friends are at a team bonding activity or a cast party for theater, I will be at home doing homework,” Barnett said. 

Whenever this happens, Barnett reminds herself that she said no for a reason and that her mental health and responsibilities always come first. The mindset has helped prevent her from feeling sad, but this was not always the mindset she had.

“When I was in middle school, I struggled with FOMO a lot. I always got upset that I could not hang out with my friends because my parents would say “no” when I asked. I was not upset at my friends, I was upset at myself that I did not ask [more] and try harder to go. I would also be a little upset at my parents for constantly saying no when I wanted to go and hang out with friends,” Barnett said.

Even though Barnett may have been angry with herself and her parents, she knew in the end that the feeling of FOMO was temporary. She knew that she may have lost opportunities to hang out with her friends but she was investing in her future during those times. 

Because Day is willing to take advantage of opportunities, he has learned how to play a tenor saxophone – something he never imagined he would do. (Crystal Li)

“I still struggle with FOMO but it is not as bad as it was In middle school. I have grown enough to realize that it would be fun to hang out with friends, but at the same time, I need to prioritize myself and my mental health. So sometimes it is okay not to go because, at the end of the day, my health matters more,” Barnett said. 

In Barnett’s friend group, they have different ways of helping each other not feel left out. One of their solutions included Photoshop.

“We have a running joke with my friends where we do very poor Photoshop edits. We just photoshop each other into our photos if they can not make it to events,” Barnett said. 

While some students are learning how to deal with FOMO, some are luckier than others. In fact, junior Steven Day is unaffected by FOMO entirely. He believes that it is important to look at an event as a learning opportunity instead of something fun to do.

“Personally, I do not experience FOMO because I like to look at things as an opportunity to learn instead of what my friends are doing that I can not do. I am also willing to put myself out there to experience those moments in life. I never imagined that I would play an instrument but I decided to give it a shot and I ended up really enjoying it,” Day said. Because Day has created this mindset for himself, he has been able to protect his peace of mind and not constantly worry about other people’s agendas. 

“I think that sometimes it is important to do things for yourself. Even if you want to hang out with your friends, do it for yourself. If you do things for yourself, you will not be stressed from constantly thinking you are missing out on something,” Day said.

Lamouria believes that it’s important to not let FOMO take over your life because there will always be many more opportunities to hang out with friends. (Crystal Li)

Similarly to Barnett and Day, Junior Natasha Lamouria has the mindset that it is okay for her to miss some hangouts with friends when it is ultimately for a good reason. In middle school, Lamouria noticed that there were more frequent feelings of FOMO compared to high school. It is a feeling that we tend to grow out of as we mature emotionally.

“I think FOMO definitely comes from a place of insecurity. In middle school, people are figuring out who they are as a person, so they are constantly wanting to be involved in everything. I think that is unreasonable because it is hard to be involved in everything. While in high school, there is change that happens. You mature and you discover who you are as a person. You start to care less about what other people are doing and care more about your health and happiness,” Lamouria said. 

FOMO is something everyone has to deal with but as people grow and mature, they figure out who they want to be as a person. Because Lamouria has already figured out what she wants to accomplish in her life, she is focused on achieving those goals. 

“I honestly have never really been impacted by FOMO. If you miss something, you miss something. And you move on. The idea of missing out does suck, but it is really not a big deal,” said Lamouria. “There will always be more opportunities to hang out with others, so it is truly not the end of the world.”

FOMO is something a lot of teens experience, and most of the time it leaves them feeling insecure because others are having more fun than them. Fortunately, that unpleasant feeling slowly becomes less relevant as teens mature. They start to learn that it is not necessary to be a part of everything, but it’s important to focus on their health and happiness.