YOLO, a term popularized by Drake and college students about to make life-altering mistakes, stands for You Only Live Once and it has swept college campuses everywhere. YOLO promotes a sort of, ‘do whatever you like, you’re young!’ attitude that admittedly already existed among young adults everywhere. Drake, he just put it into words. College kids, well, they’ve been claiming YOLO since the very beginning. But what is college all about? Well, why don’t you just sit back and let me, a baby freshman from the Midwest, tell you allllll about it.
I once heard the phrase, “If you’re young and a republican you have no heart. If you’re old and a democrat you have no brain” and found that it applied nowhere better than at college. Most college campuses are bluer than a smurf suffering from asphyxiation. (Unless, of course, you go to CMC in which case you will inform me between sips of Coors Light that you’re “fiscally conservative but socially liberal.” Translation: my parents are Republicans #Reaganismybro.) The vast majority of college students are totally into freedom and equality for all, and also totally once had this friend who knew someone who knew someone who was gay and he said he was, like, totally normal and stuff. My president is black, my lambo is blue (thanks, Young Jeezy) and most college campuses tend to lean blue too. And yeah, there are all sorts of political activities vying for attention around campus. Students seeking an active civic life are often faced with a dilemma: too many causes, not enough time. Do I go to the candlelight vigil for all the cucumbers that been so cruelly pickled into pickles or do I go protest Merriam Webster’s inability to decide on a plural form of platypus? (Here’s hoping I get pepper-sprayed or arrested so I can make it into the campus news!!) And then, of course, there’s Saturday night, when fine young minds combine with a heavy drinking culture to produce situations that would make the Democratic National Committee put its face in its hands and bemoan how far we have fallen. Example A: “DO THIS KEG STAND OR I’M TELLING EVERYONE YOU <3 BARRY GOLDWATER FOREVVVVAAA” That’s right kiddos, alcoholism in the defense of democratic values is no vice.
Wahoo! There’s a sort of euphoria that being a college freshman produces. You arrive on campus, discover that there are virtually no rules, and proceed to do things simply because you can. Staying up until three AM? Watch out world! Driving to In N’ Out for dinner? Go get ‘em tiger! Holding down a steady job, paying taxes, going to church, and sticking to your homegrown family values? Go crazy, kid, it’s college there are no rules! Then the thrill wears off and you’re still trying to maintain that all-too-cool façade by deciding you know infinitely better than your parents. This mostly consists of you sitting in your friend’s room under his Belushi poster (not that you know who he was. The 80’s? Like, the decade your parents were in college? That’s ridiculous. Everyone knows parents were never young) and ingesting that mar-eh-gi-wah-na stuff for the first time. You’re having a deep conversation. Parents just totally don’t get what it’s like to be young, man, they are all about restricting your freedom and holding you back. Meanwhile, you’re totally into Dylan and you’re adamant that music has really gone downhill ever since. Never mind the fact that you know every word to Ke$ha’s latest single, it’s chill because you know the chorus to “Lay, Lady, Lay” and you used to know the basic chords for it on guitar. We college students are independent, living life to the fullest, and we’re more in the know than our parents. We’re enlightened! (Nietzche? That dude had some chill as hell ideas!) We’re going to do some much better than our lame parents. Oh, except they’re totally paying for room and board. And tuition. And that In n’ Out we just bought. Oh yeah, and they could totally school all of us when it comes to Dylan lyrics.
Speaking as a wide-eyed college freshman fresh outta prep-school (what is this Beer Pong you speak of?), college parties are extremely entertaining from an outsider’s perspective. Think of any excuse to drink and you’ll have hundreds take you up on it. Saturday night? Drink because everyone else is. Sunday night? Drink because you survived the weekend. Republican GOP debates? Drink every time Romney references his obscene wealth. Condelezza Rice is coming to speak? Time to test out my new vodka-boarding torture/pregame methods on my friends! I’ll give my fellow students some credit, they bring a lot of creativity and dedication to creating new situations to drinking, but come Monday morning the general report seems to be more of the same. Why not add some variety? I have some brilliant ideas. Rig a Rube Goldberg contraption so that you flick a trail of dominos which ends up nudging into motion a ball that falls into a cup that pulls down a weight that tips a beer can into your mouth. Prizes for the most elaborate machine. Whip out a book of Mensa puzzles, the last one to finish the puzzle has to take a shot of whiskey. (It’s fine, they probably already have the lowest IQ anyways.) Tutor low-income children in arithmetic and take a sip of your drink every time they solve an equation. Watch videos of when you were a kid and down a beer each time you’re reminded of how disappointed your parents would be to see what you’re doing right now. (Too far? I thought so.) But even these games aren’t half as crazy as the ones that Oprah invents to scare the bejeezus out of your mothers (The Bracelet Game, Lipstick Parties, Vodka-Tampons etc.) if you’re ready to get hog-wild, I mean really crazytown, I’m talking topnotch off the charts, let me introduce you to this new psycho crazy game called Drinking Wine Responsibly Over A Nice Meal With Good Friends. Now that’s reckless.
Funnily enough, college students who live by the motto You Only Live Once are statistically much more likely to die young. (Alright, that has not yet been statistically proven, but it is true that people are more likely to yell YOLO before doing things that could easily get them killed. Ah, what a strange correlation.) We may think we’re smarter than we are. (Chicka chicka yeahhhhhh I just used “postmodernism” in a conversation and resisted the urge to pat myself on the back until I was out of sight of the person I oh-so-casually said it to!) We may not be trying as hard as we could in school. (What if there was a Sparknotes for Sparknotes? All book plots condensed into one word. To Kill A Mockingbird: Racism. The Scarlett Letter: Guilt. Freud: Mommy-issues.) We may not be as independent as we think. But hey, we’re college students and we only live once! So bellow YOLO! as loud as you please. Tattoo a red SOLO cup on your left bicep. Wear that Che Guevara shirt with pride. Vote for Obama because you think he’s hot. Play as many ridiculous drinking games as your bladder will allow. And then go call your parents and thank them for your college education.
– Clancy Tripp