StaffStance: You Only Live Once

Went to a concert or dinner date on a school night. Devoured a box of thin mints in half an hour. Saw  “The Hunger Games” midnight premiere on Thursday before a Friday morning test.

Hashtag it YOLO. An abbreviation for “you only live once,” this phrase has moved from tweets to Facebook wall posts (but please everyone, stop with the hashtagging on Facebook) and into our daily conversation. This phrase became especially popular when featured in Drake’s hit song “The Motto” where he sings, “You only live once: that’s the motto YOLO.”

YOLO “excuses” slacking behavior or underachieving efforts, usually with regards to completing school work. Case in point: junior Kaitlin tweeted “not studying for your exams…#YOLO.” It encourages the speaker to take risks or do something they wouldn’t normally be comfortable doing. YOLO is typically used in a sarcastic manner where the speaker won’t actually do the spoken action, for example did Kaitlin actually study for her exams.

The popular Twitter account @YOLOJokes has mastered this sardonic tone, with tweets like “Belly-flopping onto a sleeping cat… #YOLO.”

But beneath the flippant attitude, it may contain true meaning and cause for reflection. We do only get one chance at each day, at each year and at high school–so let’s throw caution to the wind and act crazy. Just forget about studying for any tests and catch up on all the episodes of “Modern Family” stuck on our DVRs.

Well, not exactly.

Don’t waste your time by doing pointless things and explaining them by saying YOLO. Live each day to the fullest, but don’t use a simple phrase to encourage yourself or your friends to not study or skip school. Instead, remember to take advantage of every moment and make it into a lasting, worthwhile memory, because, well, YOLO (for instance, that box of thin mints, although the minty chocolateness is delicious and memorable, does not count). Even in our stressful environment, don’t get too wrapped up in the things and remember to have fun and just laugh.

Don’t say YOLO while sneaking out of the house, but use it to inspire yourself actually take advantage of the one lifetime you’ve got. Change the world, make a difference, and be remembered. While that might not be completely attainable either, wouldn’t you love to be remembered as the girl from high school that became influential and famous?

Incorporate YOLO into your daily life without going overboard or negatively impacting the big picture. Maybe only eat one of those sleeves of thin mints (bikini season isn’t too far away!). Try to finish your work before hitting the town on a school night. As for missing out on extra study time to go see the Hunger Games premiere… well no one can really blame you for that one.