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The Parthenon

LET ME BE FRANK: ON F.O.M.O.

Franklin+at+his+sister%27s+wedding+2015.+
Franklin at his sister's wedding 2015.

Franklin at his sister's wedding 2015.

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Screen Shot

Franklin at his sister's wedding 2015.

Franklin Norton, Social Media Manager

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I am someone who really values alone time. I really need it to recharge and to find peace and calm amidst a busy schedule. But at the same time, I really value experiences. Here recently, as I have had more downtime than recent semesters, I have been so anxious that I am missing out on these experiences. I obsessively check my Instagram, scroll through Snapchat stories and refresh Twitter like it’s my job. I have a dreadful case of FOMO—Fear of Missing Out.

This fear comes from a worry that everybody is having more fun than me. Everybody is laughing more, learning more and just, frankly, doing more. One day, I finished with class at 11 a.m., and I sat around campus for hours just because I didn’t want to miss out on anything. I even joked to a friend: “What if my future wife walks by and I’m not here?” Well, maybe I was being a little serious.

I look at pictures online and wonder if I’m boring. I wonder if I could be having more fun somewhere else, with somebody else. This constant social comparison and angst is obviously exhausting, but it does more than just tire me out: it adversely affects my mood, my self-esteem and my own social climate.

I want to urge myself, and whoever is reading this, to be here now. Unplug from Spotify and listen to the wind and the birds and your best friend’s voice, the living poetry around you. Look up from your phone screen and into people’s eyes. Enjoy the peace and quiet of solitude. Give yourself, and the people around you, the courtesy of being completely present, without distraction.

Social media is an amazing tool, but I think it’s time we connect to something other than the Wi-Fi. Often, ironically, my FOMO leads me to actually missing out on valuable moments in the present. Life happens in these ordinary moments. Life happens every minute of every day. And I hope we don’t miss any of it.

Franklin Norton can be contacted at [email protected]

Screen Shot
Franklin at his sister’s wedding 2015.

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