Summer of every year marks the time for graduation season for universities across the country. Every year the pictures of peers receiving their degrees and dawning their caps and gowns proudly plaster every social media outlet. And most importantly , it marks the end of an era of education and the beginning of a new life and career and a welcome into the adult world. It’s a great time of celebration and I’ve always found it inspiring and motivating witnessing such achievements.
As a medical student though , with a course that spans 5 years , far longer than most other degrees it’s hard not to find yourself feeling a bit left out in all the celebrations. I’ve felt a feeling of FOMO since the second year of my course and I felt I needed to explore why and if I was the only one.
WHAT IS FOMO?
Urban dictionary defines it as the ‘fear of missing out’ , particularly missing out of an opportunity or exciting event and so leading to feeling uneasy or anxious that you are unable to do something.
Now, given my feelings I think I should give a bit of context. Having taken a gap year prior to starting medical school I already had seen my peers and friends start university a year before me and I’d accepted that for my journey into medicine this was a sacrifice that had to be made. I didn’t mind too much being in my gap year as I knew that I would eventually be accepted into medical school and start my university experience too.
MY 1ST FOMO EXPERIENCE
This came in my second year of medical school, which for my peers and friends would have been their final and graduating year. In this case seeing friends of mine who had been able to start university straight away graduating was bitter sweet, but my feelings of FOMO were short lived . On one hand I was extremely happy that I was now doing my chosen degree to pursue the career I’d always dreamed of, but I can’t deny that I felt slightly left out as I knew I had a much longer time left before I could have my own celebrations and begin my career. However, like I mentioned I didn’t feel too left out because after having to take a gap year to pursue my degree , it didn’t matter that my journey to my chosen career would take me a little longer. Also at this stage , I was barely equipped to save lives yet and I was pretty happy to avoid adult life for a bit longer. So as quickly as the FOMO came it was gone and I was happily carrying on into my 3rd year.
MY 2ND FOMO EXPERIENCE
Finishing my third year , I’ve successfully managed to survive the start of the clinical years. A whole year of clinical placements had come to an end and it had felt for me one of the longer years since unlike the preceding years we have a shorter summer break. Having a taste of what could be, a representation on working life in various specialities. The majority of F1s I’d encountered had been so settled and content in their roles which only made it more attractive. More so this year I’ve felt more ready to want to start my career and also now being at university for 3 years the length of the course has started to show more. But in all honestly even now after 3 years I’m still only a baby in the grand scheme of medicine, again not quite ready to start saving any lives.
Now graduation season 2018 has come along in full strength and I’ve felt the FOMO a lot more. This time not only are peers graduating but now I’ve also spent the same amount of time at university. Reflecting upon it ,although I’m fully aware that my course is 5 years long it really hits home how long it is this year. In some ways it feels like whilst others will be moving on with life , I’ll almost have to play catch up once I’ve finished.
This season especially I thought , could I be the only one feeling this FOMO, so I asked my friends and peers. Thankfully I wasn’t , which ruled out insanity but it wa