Distractions have never been foreign to any college or university. Rambunctious parties, sporting events or even the latest season of “The Walking Dead” can be enough to put off that homework assignment or report for “just a while longer.” With so much happening, many college students worry that they are going to miss out on something. For some, this worry turns into fear.
The Fear of Missing out (FOMO) phenomenon is seen by many as an addiction, or a phobia that revolves around a person’s fear that they will miss out on something more exiting, fun or interesting than what they are currently doing. It is not an official disorder, but the “addiction” has received a cyclone of attention on the internet and on college campuses.
Though humans have always worried about what they could be missing, many believe that the primary culprit of the recent FOMO explosion is social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The instant connection to friends and family gives people minute by minute information, and many often feel that if they do not stay constantly connected, they will be at a loss.
“People have gotten so dependent on technology that they don’t know how to separate from it,” said Wright State sophomore Will Hensley. “I have people in my inner circle that use Facebook for a good portion of the day.”
Wright State First Year Programs director Catherine Queener sympathizes with the human desire to stay connected and informed, but believes that people should be able to refrain from using their laptops or smartphones in the professional and educational environment.
“I understand the urge to hear that message,” Queener said. “But when you’re in college, or maybe if you have an important job and you’re about to go to a meeting, wouldn’t it be great if you could be paying attention to that for an hour?”
Queener advised students to commit to attentiveness before going into a college class to stop themselves from creating distraction, and to make sure that they do not let technology dictate their lives.
“Just as people might do going into a theater, maybe going into a classroom students could remind each other ‘we made a pact that we were going to be super attentive’,” Queener said. “You, the owner of the laptop, or you, the carrier of the phone has to put some thought into who owns who.”