Embrace your inner “old lady”

Anxiety, FOMO and the college experience

Anxiety, FOMO and the college experience
I was on Accutane at the beginning of the school year. Since Accutane is hard on your liver you aren’t supposed to consume anything else, like alcohol, that will put additional strain on your liver. Accutane alone caused my liver to be in a cautionary state, so I didn’t even try to push it with alcohol. This is how puzzle nights began. Instead of going out, my friends and I would turn on some trashy reality TV show, gossip and do a jigsaw puzzle.
One night, however, my friend’s mom called her. My friend told her what we were up to and her mom replied, “please don’t waste your college years being an old lady.” I laughed, but it was also telling about the social expectations of being in college.
There is a culture perpetuated by students, parents and the media that tells college students that these are going to be the best years of our lives, so we have to make the most of it. Movies like “Project X,” “Neighbors” and “Superbad” give school and college a black-and-white representation. You are either doing homework or partying. If you are not doing either, you’re wasting your time.
Staying in while on Accutane, I dealt with a lot of FOMO (fear of missing out). I was anxious that I wouldn’t have as many friends because I wasn’t going to parties or the club. These few months stretched on for forever and my Friday night puzzle group began shrinking in size. It began to feel isolating and my anxiety increased as my circle got smaller. It felt like I had royally messed up the rest of my college years and I would never be able to get my foot in the door of social life.
However, now that I have joined the college social life, I see that I wasn’t missing out on much. I have met a few friends, but nobody I wouldn’t have met otherwise. There are still many nights that I stay in for a puzzle and a movie as opposed to a hot, sweaty, crowded room. While it is fun to go out, I equally enjoy the quality time I get with my friends staying in. The bonding gained from those nights is more than what could have been achieved going out.
I still think back to what my friend’s mom said, that we were wasting our college experience being “old ladies,” and honestly, I think it’s dumb. “Old lady” activities like putting together puzzles, knitting, crocheting or playing card games with friends can be much more rewarding than going out and partying. It gives you time to pause and reflect, a moment not many college students have. Taking a break from college craziness allows time to build intimate, meaningful relationships with yourself and others, giving a positive, emotional depth to the university experience.
There is no correct way to spend your time in college. College is for learning about yourself and others, pushing yourself and having fun. In each of these aspects there is no right or wrong answer, just whatever is the most fruitful for you, and if that means staying in and being an old lady, so be it.