Maya Williams reflects on what it means to be a junior at NYU Shanghai, preparing to study abroad.

I think a big part of the appeal of NYU Shanghai is the opportunity to spend one, two, or even three semesters at one of the other 14 campuses apart of the Global Network University (GNU). While the Class of 2017 was off having their adventures I was daydreaming about mine: what site I would study at, what countries and cities I would travel to, and how exciting a semester away would be. I’m looking forward to seeing some of my NYU Shanghai peers again and nervous about meeting new people. I’m eager to see what my classes are like and almost can’t wait to start eating my way through a new city.

But as the fall semester creeps closer, I’m realizing there’s something bittersweet about being a junior at NYU Shanghai. Although I’m more than sure the semester ahead will be an exciting one, as I start seeing my friends from the Class of 2017 and my friends from the Class of 2019 meeting in Facebook photos and having a good time in their snapstories I feel a bad case of FOMO taking over. For those of you who don’t know “FOMO” stands for “Fear of Missing Out,” and is an anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.  I can’t help but be envious of those of you hanging out in front of Dogtown on weekends and awkwardly meeting the new freshman on campus. I think the whole community is pretty aware it kind of sucks to spend a year making friends only to be separated from them indefinitely when you or they go to study away.  And watching the friends I’ve made over the last two years enjoy a place I called home only a few months ago honestly makes my heart ache.

It is an especially weird feeling considering I was so ready to get out of Shanghai last semester. But as a life long sufferer of FOMO, I know part of the feeling comes from the fact that I’m still at home entertaining myself by watching the social media highlight reels of my peers. Once my semester starts I’ll be having my own fun, too busy with exploring and studying to even worry about what everyone else is up to, at least until its time to Skype each other from different time zones.

This article was written by Maya Williams. Please send an email to managing@oncenturyavenue.com to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Dylan Crow

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