Growing up, I always viewed moving away from home and going to college as a huge leap in my independence, but after three years here I feel that I have become more codependent than I ever was.
My friends have replaced nearly every support system that I had at home and I'm around them more than I was around my family at home. I live with them, go to class with them, eat with them, go to the store with them, etc. It's a never-ending cycle of “wyd” and “can we hangout?''.
It really is a dream life — constantly surrounded by the people I love. However, I feel like it has limited my ability to feel comfortable doing my own thing. I love doing things alone but not if that means my friends would be doing something else without me. I can go to the gym alone, but if my friends are going later, why would I not just wait and go with them? I'm studying at the library but my friends are hanging out at home? Homework can wait.
If you relate to this, you probably suffer from the same tiring condition — FOMO, or the fear of missing out.
FOMO is a product of anxiety and causes a constant fear of not being part of events or gatherings with friends or other people in your life. My whole life I have been told that college is where all my favorite memories will be made. The risk of missing out on those memories is what triggers my FOMO.
Don't get me wrong, I love seeing my friends as much as I do, and I honestly would not trade my daily habits for some more alone time. But I would love to get rid of the feeling I get when I do need some alone time and I force myself to socialize.
My independence is so important to me, and I am a better friend after I have given myself an hour or two to reset by myself. This is what I am reminding myself of in 2024 — I can't be a good friend to everyone else if I am not being a good friend to myself.
It's time for everyone to realize that being by yourself is OK— especially when your friends aren’t. Independence is one of the greatest skills you can get from life, so learn while you can. Being independent doesn’t mean you never get to have those moments with your friends. It just means you get to have them when you want to have them.
Everyone was right when they told me that college is where all my favorite memories will be made. I have made the best friends and have the best memories that I will cherish forever. What I have finally realized is that those memories can still be made even if I prioritize myself when I need it.
So if you are also struggling with FOMO — I promise you, it's OK to stay in, it's OK to not go to every plan, it's OK to be alone and it's honestly going to make your friendships stronger when you give yourself the time you need to reset.
Netty Jurriaans is the Community Engagement Editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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