Canadian rapper Drake references YOLO in his song “The Motto.”
“Carpe diem” is dead. “Gather ye rosebuds” has withered. “Live life to the fullest” is so last year.
The latest dream-big-be-bold phrase is actually an acronym, one that has been fervently adopted and scorned in equal measure by students: YOLO or You Only Live Once.
It is a text-and-tweet-friendly reminder about the benefits of seeking sheer enjoyment, adventure and risk during our brief time on Earth.
Its first public use can be traced to last fall’s premiere of “The Motto,” a digital bonus track on Canadian rapper Drake’s latest album “Take Care.” As Onward State at Penn State University explains, “[E]ver since, the phrase … has taken on a life of its own within the teenage and college age generation. At this point, it is rare that you can walk campus or scroll a social media site without hearing or seeing ‘YOLO’ at least once.”
Chapman University student Mark Pampanin further confirms in The Panther, “[I]t is quickly becoming the new motto of our generation. Found on T-shirts, people’s arms and all over Facebook, YOLO is a new craze that many here at Chapman follow with an almost religious fervor. Those who subscribe to YOLO will tell you it’s a lifestyle, one of adventure, fast living, and trying anything and everything.”
Many students have publicly demeaned it as nothing more than a silly saying their peers are shouting and hashtagging when engaged in immature or reckless behavior.
“Plain and simple, YOLO needs to die,” Drew Balis argues on Onward State. “While the philosophy is nothing new, the saying has gone way beyond too far to the point that it is being abused. … 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.”
Others have knocked its extreme obviousness, noting that the phrase has been used for years and applies to everyone who hasn’t yet been cloned or reincarnated. Along with “You Only Live Once,” Urban Dictionary labels the acronym as “You Obviously Lack Originality.”
Originality issues aside, some students see its potential as a positive motivator. As Ashley Dye writes for The Ball State Daily News at Ball State University, “I see it as a fun little fad. It reminds me of ‘Hakuna Matata,’ but without a warthog and a meerkat singing about it. … Too many people (myself included) can work themselves to death and forget about an important part of a healthy life– mental health. Remember ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’? If shouting ‘#YOLO’ is what keeps you from pulling a ‘The Shining,’ then do it.”
In this vein, Robyn Dexter advises in The Daily Eastern News at Eastern Illinois University, “YOLO isn’t about random stupid shenanigans you will regret in the morning. YOLO is about opportunities that will make the most of your life. YOLO is about taking risks, but making sure they’re worthwhile ones. YOLO is doing everything you can to improve yourself as a person. So next time you yell ‘YOLO!’ before doing a keg stand, think of what it really means to only live once.”
Powered by Facebook Comments