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Onward State Chimes in on YOLO

It seemingly began with Drake’s “The Motto” and ever since, the phrase YOLO (You Only Live Once) has taken on a life of its own within the teenage and college age generation over the past few months. At this point, it is rare that you can walk campus or scroll a social media sight without hearing or seeing “YOLO” at least once. Below, several Onward State staff members share their thoughts on the use of the phrase and whether it deserves the place that it seems to currently have in college life and society.

Drew Balis 

Plain and simple, YOLO needs to die. There, I said it. In the ever evolving instant messenger acronyms, Internet lingo, and Twitter hashtags, this is the latest phrase. While the philosophy is nothing new, the saying has gone way beyond too far to the point that it is being abused. Our generation already fights an uphill battle against those who think we are lazy and apathetic. Now, I’m not about to pull a Pops from Rugrats on you and talk about staying up 15 days in a row or walking 15 miles in the snow, but those abusing this phrase are not doing others any favors. I have seen the phrase used to write off teenage pregnancies, arrests involving alcohol, and several other events that could impact your one life negatively. Life can be about taking chances and learning from mistakes, but four letters cannot and should not be tolerated as an excuse for complete irresponsibility.

At this point, I’m seriously waiting for a group of people to decide to recreate a real life version of The Hangover complete with arrests, wild bar fights, and torching cars only to tell a cop the next day “But bro, I called #YOLO on that shit before the night started. Come on dude, nothing else matters” (Cue a not up in here reference).

On a lighter scale, live your life. If you want to go out instead of studying for a test or break your diet by ordering the large fries, go for it, but is it really necessary to justify the act with YOLO? Does it not sound a tad ridiculous? While the pure meaning of the phrase is good, it is a disgrace in some of the ways that it is now being used, and I hope it somehow stops.

Feel free to disagree with me. There’s arguments to be made both ways, but I’ll take pride in knowing Daryll Clark is on my side with this April 19th tweet:  (Credit to Onward State’s Greg Schlosser for locating the tweet)

“YO!!! Smh lol don’t act stupid out there and use the word #YOLO as an excuse.. Terrible”

Thank you, Daryll.

Alicia Thomas

Maybe I’m just associating with the wrong (or in this case, very right) people, but I have never heard someone use YOLO seriously, in the “fuck it, I’m young so I can do whatever I want, yeahhh let’s all get STDs and alcohol poisoning and possession charges because we only live once!” way. Everyone I know sees YOLO as a joke to begin with and uses it as such, kind of a tongue-in-cheek, making-fun-of-our-own-dumbass-generation type of deal.

Any of those hypothetical situations of badassery that are being punctuated with #yolo were, at one point (pre-The Motto), followed by #sorrynotsorry. So what makes YOLO that much worse? People are always going to find a way to validate the poor decisions they make be it “whatever,” “I do what I want,” “I’m a grown ass man,” “fuck it I’m young,” or anything else. There’s always going to be some catchy phrase to blow off their responsibility. Generally the phrases are at least accepted (if not embraced) by the generation that coins them– why is YOLO an exception?

Matthew D’Ippolito 

YOLO is stupid. If you only live once, you’d think that means you’d want to preserve that for as long as possible to get the most out of it. Doing stupid shit and justifying it with YOLO makes no sense. Even if you want to go with the “live life to the fullest because YOLO” argument, that does not justify using it because you buttered your toast this morning. Slacking on your diet is not YOLO-worthy.

If you’re doing cool stuff to live life to the fullest, then YOLO is implied. You shouldn’t have to say it. If you think you might have to include it in a tweet or Facebook post, that means it does not apply to this situation. It’s stupid and annoying, and everytime I see it another small part of me dies.

Do you think Hindus and some Buddhists feel disenfranchised because they cannot use the YOLO hashtag?

For further examples of YOLO abuse, see here, here, here, and here.

I will ultimately leave you with this.

Rebecca Alt

I hate “YOLO” because people use the phrase to justify doing stupid or embarrassing things like, “just threw up on the blue loop! YOLO,” instead of cool things like: “Bungee jumping today….YOLO!”

Joe Rogachevsky 

Drake came out with Take Care late fall semester. It took some time, but by Spring 2012, bonus track The Motto had become the favorite song of every wannabro and whatever slutty female equivalent on the University Park campus.

The people had their motto, and their motto was “YOLO.” Just say it: YOLO. It leaves the mouth with the ease of a smoke cloud, with as much indignation. Which reader hasn’t at least thought it in passing in the event of some trivial yet noteworthy occurrence?

The elevator is already on the right floor; YOLO.

You “forgot” to study for a test and it’s go time; YOLO.

After a ten second dizzy bat, you smack the shit out of a beer can; YOLO.

YOLO means you only live once. It does not mean I only live once. It’s really a call to arms more than anything. What is the overlap of people who have yelled YOLO with the people who have yelled State? The two are no different. People have been doing stupid shit for years. Yelling YOLO afterwards just makes you cooler, and maybe a bigger asshole. More than that, it is embracing the constantly changing slang we are entitled to enjoy while we are young. Go ahead, yell YOLO. Like Juvenile said, I ain’t tryna stop ya.

Shawn Inglima 

Using a hashtag as an excuse to live up life is stupid. Making reckless acts that you know you’ll regret is stupid. If you can think of inappropriate uses of Yolo, such as guy pick up lines (“wanna experience genital warts?#yolo”) or at funerals, then you know YOLO was created by some adrenaline junkie asshole. That’s all I have to say.

Ryan Beckler

Since the majority abuse #yolo, uttering the acronym usually makes you sounds like a complete idiot. Using #yolo to justify any irresponsible act is infantile and maddeningly annoying to anyone else that has to read the hashtag. If anything, #yolo should be reserved for seniors in high school, not seniors in college.

“Spending the night at my boyfriend’s without mom knowing#yolo”
“Going to class drunk #yolo”
“Pooping in a urinal #yolo”
“Snorted a line of coke #yolo”

We get it. You’re a badass. You can stop clogging our Twitter feeds now.

Tyler Hoy

I’m going to be honest; I’ve used #yolo many a time ever since The Motto came out. I even used it before it was cool, or not cool depending on how you look at it. I understand that this term isn’t an excuse for irresponsibility but you have to admit – it’s kind of catchy. Plus if you use #yolo instead of taking responsibility for your actions, you’re most likely an idiot in the first place. Being that it’s my senior year, #yolo is fitting and I will continue to use it. I wonder what Drake thinks about all this. He really created a monster. Oh well, #yolo.

Maggie McGlinchy 

Here’s the thing about #yolo. When it first happened, I was totally on board. I had some half-assed justification for all the stupid shit I was doing? Perfect! Now instead of everyone telling me I may have a problem or that maybe I should go to class, I could just call #yolo on it.

Then came along the asshole who ruined it all.

“Overslept class. Ehh, fuggit #yolo.”
“Just ate two bagels. #calledyoloonit”
“Handing this paper in late #yolo”
“Deleted her off Facebook #yolo”

NONE OF THESE MUNDANE EVENTS MADE YOU SEEM LIKE A BADASS BECAUSE YOU CALLED #yolo ON IT. #yolo is supposed to excuse completely inappropriate behavior. Indulging in some extra carbs or instigating a Facebook fight and then calling #yolo on it doesn’t make you a badass, you just magnified what a total loser you are. Asshole.

We shared our wide ranging and various views on the use of the phrase YOLO. Now it’s time to hear your thoughts. Is YOLO a perfectly appropriate and catchy phrase or have we created a four letter monster that excuses irresponsible behavior? Let us know your opinion in the comments below. 

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