As humans, we are all driven by fear: fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of insignificance. But we college students (or, at least, we Penn students) are driven by another type of fear: the fear of missing out. My friend Daniella introduced me to the concept (FOMO, as she calls it) a couple of years ago, and it’s grip on me has only grown stronger since. Plus that whole "being a senior" thing is freaking me out a bit.
It’s no secret that I’m not a big school person. Studying doesn’t thrill me, no matter how cool the subject matter — I like to learn by doing. I like all the extra stuff that comes along with being a student at Penn. As such, my friends know they always have a partner in crime when they want to go to Quizzo or lay in Rittenhouse or venture beyond Metro for a meal. While this is definitely a product of my procrastination (and my obsession with Philly), I have come to realize that it is also a product of my incurable, undeniable fear of missing out.
Even when I have three papers due and an exam to study for and a magazine to edit and errands to run, I feel compelled to agree to all sorts of plans. What if that one night at Blarney is the night to end all other nights? What if that one dinner downtown is the best dinner in the history of the world? What if that one rooftop gathering is truly epic?
So obviously this probably won’t be the case, but even the most average social experiences in college can be absurdly fun, fulfilling and occasionally eye-opening. How could I possibly resist? The answer: I usually don’t. And you probably shouldn’t either. Maybe this FOMO business isn’t such a bad thing.
If you’re invited to play four square in Center City (see our feature, pg. 10), accept the challenge. Check out that DJ (pg. 8) spinning down the street, try a new brunch spot (pg. 7), brave another Millcreek Monday or Copa Wednesday — you’ll be sorry if you don’t.
Let’s hang out, Julia