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YO-what? YOLO. Experiencing Fourth Year to the Fullest


My friend pulls down his bottom lip to reveal his bold new tattoo. The fresh black ink spells out “YOLO”. After getting over my initial shock of someone actually getting a tattoo in their mouth, I finally process the phrase “YOLO”. There it is. The new trendy mantra staring me right in the face— and in my friend’s case, forever in his mouth.

After returning from being abroad I was shocked to see how YOLO had spread like wildfire. The phrase itself had twisted into such witty phrases such as, “YOGO—you only graduate once”, and even, “YOBWO—you only beach week once”. Now I’m all about the inspirational quotes, hell they consume my desktop, the walls of my room, and even on my hand when I’m trying to be super hipster and edgy. So how has YOLO gone from a harmless abbreviation to completely dominating hashtags and facebook album titles everywhere?

What astounds me is experiencing first hand how YOLO pumps people up to do awesome things, including even the most mundane activities. I’ll wake up to tweets reading “Skipped my 2pm discussion to see Finding Nemo 3D #YOLO” or my personal favorite “Taking out the trash #YOLO” Why don’t you just say something like, “Woke up today! #YOLO” “Ate a sandwich! #YOLO” “Watched the new Taylor Swift music video! #YOLO” Originality at its finest let me tell you.

Now no matter how you may want to incorporate YOLO to help make your life more adventurous, I’ve recently gotten in touch with my cheesy side, and have decided why not make YOLO applicable to 4th year here at UVa? No, I’m not planning on running around defending every action I take as a 4th year with “YOLO”, because believe it or not there is life after May 2013, but I do think it is refreshing how we have finally accepted that fourth year is the time to finally just let it all go and do it bigger and better than we have before.

Think about it. We’re no longer anxious first years, struggling to find our place and praying that the person we had a 5 second conversation over O’Hill dinner becomes our best friend because we both bonded over being from NOVA. We’re over the excitement of getting our first apartment or house as a second year and finally drinking on our balconies, as opposed to hiding in dorms praying our RA doesn’t walk in. And as wonderful and fun as third year was, we are finally in a place where we really just don’t need to worry so much as to how many brothers we know, how many different organizations we belong to, and what other people think about us.

I cannot tell you how freeing it was this past weekend where my friends and I didn’t even make it to the football game because we were having too much fun just dancing and drinking on the lawn, not caring at all who’s tailgate we were at, how our pearls and Lily looked, or even where the day would take us. We had finally overcome the fear of not being accepted and instead finally displayed the confidence and courage to throw our most authentic self out in the room and love every minute of our fleeting time left here together.

And that’s just it. Now is our time to forget about the mistakes and wrong impressions, and make this year all about being the absolute best. After all when else realistically will we all ever be all together in the same area like this ever again?

I’ve always heard college is full of high highs and low lows. I only hope we are able to learn from our low lows and make this year absolutely epic and the best yet. So now is the time to finally get over yourself! Hang out with the friends who matter, not the ones who advance you socially. Commit your time to organizations that actually matter to you, not the ones that are resumé builders. Take classes you actually enjoy, not ones that you have to take because your parents expect you to take ECON101. And finally, become friends with those you misjudged or have awkward history with, instead of ignoring eye contact any time you may pass on the corner. And try something new!! You could be that fourth year who gets a callback for a cappella, or even becomes the new hit sensation of the Whethermen. Possibilities are endless when we just let go and decide to take the plunge.

So whether it’s hashtagged, shouted, or even tattooed on your body, just remember what you’re actually saying. You Only Live Once. Or in our case, “You Only Fourth Year Once”. Let’s do this right friends.

Get it to live it.

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