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Student Reflections

What to Do When FOMO Hits

Maria Muhareb
October 15, 2021

Classes start tomorrow, and my sleep schedule is about to get worse. Naturally, a lot of my classes are during the daytime. Given that I am not yet in the UK, my class schedule revolves around a five-hour difference. One of my classes is at 10 am BST, and now that becomes 5 am ET.

It saddens me to be so far from where I need to be due to legal and financial issues. While I wait for my aid package to disburse, I have to watch my friends explore the city as well as the rest of Europe. I have seen their Instagram pictures and other posts that have awoken a little green giant called jealousy. So, as a result, I am riddled with a severe case of FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out.


Though doctors might question the validity of such a diagnosis, I can confirm that it is very much a tangible disease plaguing millions of humans each day. I set out to find a cure to this disease, or at the very least, a successful remedy. My research has found multiple methods that may alleviate the symptoms, and they are as follows:

1) Make Packing Lists

I figured London would be on my mind no matter what I do, so, why not make it productive? I have started thinking about what I am going to bring and which suitcases I would need. It mostly helped because it let me think about what I am lacking or what I need to buy. One of the first things I knew I need, was a replacement laptop. If you are at all versed in the tech world, this next part might interest you. 

My brother, being a computer wiz, wanted to help me purchase a laptop after graduating high school. I bought the Acer Nitro 5, and it is a powerhouse machine that works well for intense gaming and video editing- all of which I do not need. While I loved that laptop, it weighs almost 6 pounds and is a 15-inch laptop, making it huge. The issue, however, is that there is some form of a design issue with the hinge. This problem makes it easily breakable, as happened to the right hinge of mine. The panel on the side opened up, and I had bought a monitor to turn it into a desktop. For obvious reasons, I cannot take a desktop with me to the UK. 

The Solution

My brother has chosen to let me figure out how to buy a laptop by myself this time around. I know nothing about computers. I now must deep-dive to learn. Once I went down that rabbit hole, I did not come back up for a week. I am not even sure I am out fully!

My search taught me about computer processors and rams and even taught myself what a GPU and a CPU are, as well as much more. I came out of the hole with a million times the knowledge than when I started. If you ever wanted proof that you can learn anything, here it is. All the knowledge of the world is at our fingertips, and speaking of tips, here lies number 2:

2) Find a Hobby!

I have been utilizing the extra month of wait time USCIS granted me by diving back into my old hobbies. I picked up my ukelele again and even saw a couple of people in my study abroad program want me to bring it! They are thinking of having little jam sessions, which have left me with a ton of practicing to do. In addition, I have been practicing my writing in the avenues of poetry and recently a children’s book- which I now must figure out how to illustrate. I have an iPad and an Apple Pencil. So, I am hoping to teach myself how to draw characters and settings-including the one that would help combat FOMO.

3) Be around Family

Spend the rest of the time you have with your parents, siblings, or friends. It lets you enjoy moments with them, especially when you know you are leaving soon. I have four younger siblings, all of whom are attached to me. Watching movies and playing with them has helped me not think about any outings or trips I miss out on.

4) Do Not Go on Social Media.

The Holy Grail of tips: do not be on your phone. Consistently checking social media will only expose you to feelings of FOMO even more. All the photogenic pictures your stunning friends take will drag you down. While we love to gas them up, the FOMO will hit harder.

5) Watch Videos in Your Place of Travel!

But Maria, you just told us to avoid social media?

Yea, I know what I said, but hear me out.

I have been dreaming of London for months and wanting more than anything to go. To fully feed that excitement, I have watched many videos about walking around London or the QMUL campus. I have been watching packing videos and even Tiktoks that show me places I should visit in the UK or the rest of Europe. I know it seems counterintuitive, but there is a method to the madness. Watching all those videos keeps you excited and further builds up your anticipation. Those feelings of excitement then replace all the stress and negativity of FOMO. 


These five tips are not just for people whose study abroad got put on delay due to passport issues. They can be universal to any delayed trip or activity. It is hard to feel like you are missing out, but then again, everything happens for a reason. Instead of letting the delay get me down, I am instead choosing to be optimistic. I only just got home from school at the end of August so, I have been mostly focusing on my family. They had not seen me since January. Unfortunately, I would have been leaving them just as quickly as I came. Now, however, they got to spend a whole month with me home just being in their company, and there is no price anyone can put on that time.