Fear of Missing Out

Madelina-2016 Madelina 0 Comments


There is a very real, and very concerning medical condition to which I am convinced there might be no cure, and it is an affliction extremely prevalent in USC students. Formerly known as FOMO, Fear Of Missing Out, this condition causes one to see all the possibilities and become paralyzed with the desire to do all of them. Walking through the involvement fair the first week of school, I suddenly realized I wanted to do everything. One of the more entertaining results of FOMO in students is that those afflicted will actually try and do everything, like I did, until they realize it is literally physically impossible. Then comes the painful part of letting some things go and choosing the commitments you personally find most important and dropping those that are not as much of a priority for you. Although when I walk through the involvement fair even now, after a year, I still feel the temptation to sign up for another dozen clubs, I have to remember that the quality of my commitments is more important than the quantity. Overstretching myself will not only severely diminish my ability to perform well in my classes, but also greatly limit the impact I can have within each of my commitments.

I have had to choose the things that matter most to me, and focus on doing the best that I can in those fields. So far I have tried to maintain balance by concentrating on important key areas of development. I am able to work in community service through Troy Camp and the Society of Women Engineers. I get professional development through the Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering, I learn technical skills through the 3D4E club, and I get to do music through acapella. Working in research then provides me the work experience I will need for my career. Although I would love to try my hand (or my broom) at Quidditch, I would love to join the ballet company, play club soccer, audition for musical theatre, or work on the robotics design team, I have had to let these interests go simply because there are not enough hours in the day. But the trick is that this does not mean I still can’t enjoy all those amazing things! In fact, sometimes not being part of every club means the joy of getting to appreciate them from a distance. While I can’t do every club, I still get to enjoy the ballet showcases, watch the soccer games, and see the shows, all while supporting my friends involved in those activities!

In her book The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath describes the analogy of the fig tree, in which an individual sits starving at the base of the tree because they are too paralyzed by the possibility of choosing any one of the figs above to the exclusion of all others. The figs in this case represent possibilities for extracurricular involvements. You only get to choose a few, so choose wisely, but don’t get so worried about choosing the right one that you constantly question yourself. Pick a few things to start, give it your best effort, and if you don’t like it, it’s never too late to change. The key is not getting crippled by the sheer vastness of possibilities. The Trojan family is very real, and many incredible opportunities are sure to present themselves to you while you are at USC, so keep your eyes open. I think often times our generation misuses the whole concept of “yolo,” taking it as a justification for doing all matter of ridiculous and irresponsible things. In my opinion, “yolo” really is meant to be a reminder that since we only get to live this life once, we should make it count by getting involved, working hard, and choosing to live in such a way that leaves an impact.

The only way to truly miss out is to not choose anything from the vast array of possibilities. As long as you pick something and give it your all, you’re sure to not miss out on the most important thing: Being part of the Trojan family!


Want to learn more? Here's the best place to ask: