You Felt Left Out (Even Though You Were There)

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FOMO, am I right? Just admit it: you’ve got it bad. Oh, don’t make me make you say it. It’s killing you! And the way I see it, that’s for one main reason: because it’s new.

Newness is surprising to you, you perfect human being, you, and you’re not used to surprises. I mean, how could you be? You’re a Wharton MBA candidate and you have done essentially everything this world already has to offer, from starting your own charity in Latin American to scoring an 800 on the GMAT. You’re supposed to be ahead of the game.

But now that you’re at Wharton you no longer feel all that special. You feel average. Meh. It doesn’t matter that you went to Princeton for undergrad. It doesn’t matter that you managed to go to South Africa to volunteer and build homes for needy families while working at the huge private equity firm in New York. Because the next guy went to Harvard for undergrad and triple majored in mechanical engineering, finance, and English. Did I mention he volunteered with elephants in Thailand? Oh, he also did Teach for America (but who didn’t do that, honestly?).

While it seems like what I’m getting at is that there is a lot of competition at Wharton—and don’t get me wrong, there is (there are only so many people that will develop their own start up in SF after Wharton!)—what I’m really trying to say is that the reason you’re feeling so much FOMO in general (we’ll get to the party later) is because there has never been so much pressure form connections. Up until now you had never come in contact with such an enormous group of people as intelligent and bright and, of course, perfect as yourself. It’s actually not merely a group—no—it’s everybody. Everybody is as intelligent, bright, and, of course, perfect as you.

It is the opposite of competitive. All of you bright and beautiful souls are super afraid of not going to any Wharton event where you are sure to meet someone—no, many people—that will challenge you and who could become someone crucial in your life as a catalyst for growth. And on a deeper note, isn’t that what everyone wants in life? Doesn’t everyone want to be surrounded by people who will essentially make them better people? Now it’s like there is something on the line—no—something is definitely on the line. When you miss an event, which you can’t because there are not enough of them, they’re just so rare, you might just be missing out on meeting the puzzle piece your life has been missing all along.

Now, this is of course not to say that you have never met a group of really driven and talented individuals in your life. This is actually to say that you’ve never been surrounded by all of the people who are talented and driven—one third of the most driven and intelligent people in the world, actually (the other two thirds are at Harvard and Stanford…Look, mom, I can do math, too!). So yes, while you must have met tons of bright and intelligent people in your past life, that is, before Wharton, being here now is simply a game changer.

This whole article really dealt with the general idea of FOMO at events and at school, but right now I’d really like to address why FOMO becomes even worse at the parties, why even when you’re at the party you feel somewhat left out. I could be totally wrong in saying this, but the way I see it, people don’t act the same at parties as they do at school. People are more drunk real. The first question people ask one another is not “Hey, what did you do before Wharton?” Really, people act less like mere sources of occupation connections and more like real people and friends. So pretty much if you’re missing out on the party you’re missing out on that.

To wrap this up, school and other Wharton events are where connections happen and missing a day of class or feeling like your learning team sucks will definitely give you FOMO, but the parties are where true friendships develop. Perfect or not, isn’t that what you’re truly looking for?

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