Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Harlaxton's Lesser-Known Ghost

Before I even arrived at Harlaxton I heard the ghost stories. As soon as we stepped foot in the manor we were given a guided tour about the ghostly figures that reportedly still haunt Gregory Gregory's golden halls. However, over these past six weeks I’ve realized that there's one ghost that the Harlaxton faculty has refused to acknowledge. His favorite spots to lurk are the dorms, the carriage house, and especially the library. He attacks unsuspecting students with a fear that is almost inescapable. The name of this phantom? FOMO. More commonly known as 'Fear of Missing Out.' He preys upon innocent students in their maroon Harlaxton sweatshirts that are working tirelessly in the library. He destroys all forms of productivity and replaces it with social insecurity. Don't' believe me? Let me provide you with an example of how FOMO usually strikes me. I'll bet my weekly (daily?) bowl of Frosties that you will be able to relate in some way.

First, let's set the scene. I'm in the library. Hair in bun. Highlighters out. Classical music playing. Productivity is flowing like the river Thames itself. Then out of nowhere, FOMO strikes...

Lydia: *attempting to do something productive for class*
Friend: 'Hey Lydia, a bunch of us are going out to the pubs tonight and then coming back to binge-watch Friends, are you in?’
My thought Process: "That sounds fun, but I'm good. I'll just have a nice quiet night in and finish this book for class. I shouldn't go."

"But what if they have a great time?"

"If I don't go I'm going to be here in the library and see all their snapchat stories."

"Hmmmm that will be kind of sad."

"Oh and I bet they're going to get all dressed up...that sounds like so much fun."

"Oh no. What if they all laugh and become BFFs without me?"

"Or WORSE. What if they come up with an inside joke that they keep referencing for the rest of the semester? I'll just have to cluelessly smile every time they bring it up...that will be so sad."

"I should really stu---YEAH OK I'LL COME"

I usually go, have a great time, then end up regretting it the next morning when I feel atrociously behind in class.

Sound familiar? Yup. Thought so.

So how do we banish this ghost from Harlaxton Manor once and for all?
Sadly, we can't. There's no way that we will be able to completely get rid of this social pressure to fit in and be accepted...that just comes with being human!!

What we CAN do is figure out how to manage this ghostly companion and know when to say 'yes' and 'no.' What will this take? Planning, Self-Control, and Discipline. I know, not fun things. BUT, if we want to squeeze every drop out of this study abroad experience, then there has to be some give and take. Instead of falling prey to the crippling FOMO, let's learn to reason with him. Make bargains with him. Believe me guys, I'm still learning how to deal with this voice on my shoulder too. It's annoying, but I'm confident we can persevere and enjoy the social aspect of study abroad AND get 100s on the next two British Studies Exams.

(So what? I'm an optimist?)

Written by: Lydia Anvar

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