The ‘fear of missing out’ is an epidemic that is stressing out us Millennials. We have a constant view to the world through the window known as Social Media, where we spend a fair amount of time refreshing the same pages looking at the highlights of other people’s lives, and wondering why we’re not having as much fun/wearing the right clothes/living our best lives* (*delete as appropriate).
A few people will say this is ridiculous, but FOMO is real and it’s not difficult to see the impact that it has. There are stats that show FOMO is now linked to anxiety, depression and alcohol misuse. So, what’s to be done with the dread of hearing those fateful words…’you really missed out’ in the back of our minds?
Flashback to Freshers’ Week: Your first thoughts were likely to be, “I need to make the most of this big life moment” and “I don't want to be known as the ‘boring’ one”. On top of that there’s the added pressure we put on ourselves because we are Christian, wanting to challenge the stereotype that Christians are prim and proper and don’t know how to have fun. Many Christian students tend to hide this piece of their identity and just go with the crowd, then before they know it, the desire to fit in and not miss out on anything has left them with a sense of regret.
Have you ever had the same fear about missing Church, life group, the SCM or CU meeting? Probably not, but what if they became the things we wanted to be at? You know, just in case you missed out on witnessing miracles, being involved in life changing acts of services or Jesus coming back? (Could happen!). This is the reality of what being a Disciple is, and this lifestyle is way more fruitful and life-giving than attending every single Students’ Union event thrown at you.
Now if you’re thinking “This sounds soooo boring”, hear me out. I am not saying that uni is not for having fun - I'm not your parent! However, do be a proud Christian. At uni you can model a way of life and break down stereotypes like never before. It’s by no means easy and the world around us will sometimes feel against us. Challenge yourself to be more like Jesus at uni; looking after others and sticking up for the ones in despair.
I'd like to propose we assess our priorities. If we put God first, the rest will fill in around Him. Some people might not like you, or may be suspicious of your motives, but most people will not even bat an eyelid. Be known as the one who is kind and loving, rather than that unfortunate nickname you earned following an incident on a night out. Remember that your main reason for being at uni is to get a degree to help you out in this big ol'game of life. A life with Christ is to live life to the full, as John 10:10 says, don't sacrifice the more eternal things for the fear of missing out on cheap thrills. This is what being in the movement is about, seeing faith in action. For the record, this is not easy and peer pressure is real, but stand firm, you’ll make it.
If you are struggling to find some other like-minded Christians at your university, may I encourage you to seek out an SCM group near you or find a Church on the SCM Connect page. Find a home that is right for you and a place that you are excited about attending.
Rob Chivers is the SCM Connect Worker.