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TANG: Practice JOMO, not FOMO

College students shouldn't always feel the pressure of going out and being around others. – Photo by Andreas Glöckner /

The idea of the fear of missing out, or FOMO, has become popular, especially in the era of social media. With countless social media sites allowing one to post every second of their day, it is easy to fall into the trap of making comparisons and missing out on experiences.

But the idea of JOMO, the joy of missing out, is often overlooked when it should be embraced.

FOMO dominates our culture, pushing individuals to be ever-present physically and online. But JOMO offers the opportunity to live in the moment, with no pressure to be consumed in others' lives, ultimately allowing oneself to not only enjoy living in the moment but also to protect one's peace.

Accompanied by social media addiction and the pressure to stay connected, FOMO has consumed our lives. Being consistently connected or involved in every event or online trend can lead to overwhelming amounts of anxiety. We have all had moments when we have been caught endlessly scrolling, attending too many social events and saying "yes" to everything, all to keep up with experiences.

Studies have shown that these feelings of anxiety stem from seeing others seemingly having more fun or living a better life than you, which triggers more social media use due to the compulsion to respond to everything and everyone.

But the fact is that sometimes, not every event needs to be attended. Not everything needs to be acknowledged on social media, and saying "no" is healthy. There is happiness in taking breaks and not being involved in everything.

JOMO is about recognizing that individuals do not need to be doing something or seeking external validation to feel fulfilled. Author Max Frenzel wrote, "happiness is not really a thing to be found, but more something to be unveiled within ourselves. It is the absence of unhappiness. It is our default state."

JOMO emphasizes the idea that it is perfectly acceptable to do nothing and recharge oneself. Alix Earle, a popular TikTok creator, said that she journals and writes down goals to help center herself, which enables her to reach her set goals. Whether it be taking a walk around campus, reading a book or getting a sweet treat with friends, finding the simple moments in life can bring so much happiness.

This intentional disengagement allows for negative influences like comparison to be filtered out, allowing for a healthier mental and social life. A study by Charles Czeisler, a Baldino professor of Sleep Medicine at Harvard University, examined how the artificial blue light from technology activates neurons in the brain, resulting in a disruption to the production of melatonin. In other words, it causes sleep deprivation, which has proven to take a toll on the mental health of teens.

Prioritizing the well-being of oneself and setting boundaries around one’s online presence ultimately allows individuals to build meaningful connections and can lead to a more balanced life.

Jennifer Sadler, a licensed mental health counselor, explained to Allure that how an individual presents themselves online is a reflection of how others believe they can treat them offline. This is why she highlights how important it is to establish boundaries so that others know what is acceptable and what is not.

Going out, experiencing new things, making memories and immersing oneself in the spontaneity of being a young adult is all part of the journey. But reevaluating one’s relationship with social media, being constantly busy and seeking internal validation can help individuals find savor in moments of quiet and stillness.

Finding the balance between utilizing these youthful years to their fullest potential while leaving space for self-care allows one to build healthier relationships with others and themselves.

Kelly Tang is a sophomore at Rutgers Business School majoring in Finance and Supply Chain Management. Tang’s column, “Don't Get Me Started” runs on alternate Thursdays.

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