We Only Live Once Essay Format

Life is short, we all know that, and we – well, most of us – want to live life to the utmost fullest, in turn getting everything we can out of life. After all, it is a wonderful, beautiful gift: Life. But we didn’t ask for it. As a matter of fact, it takes some people a lifetime to figure what it means to be alive.

“Yolo” may be a term used by the youngsters of today, as heard in songs by Adam Levine and Drake, but it carries meanings and implications that are universal and everlasting. The phrase is too often used by the hipsters of today in the United States to make excuses for their dumb mistakes. The phrase will never catch on and be used ubiquitously by the American people – or other nationalities, either – because it is cumbersome to say and even harder to care about and remember. To the ordinary person, it sounds like some frozen yogurt brand nobody wants to try, or some variation of the color yellow.

But the acronym has good intentions. “You Only Live Once” reminds one of a hopeful youth, of seeing and wanting the best in life, of seizing the day because tomorrow is not promised – nor is even the next moment. Nonetheless, the wrong people seem to be using the term. They are the slackers who don’t take blame for their impulsive, risky decisions, and then when the problems arise from the decisions, they blame it on “You Only Live Once.” But it’s just one more way to enable these kinds of behaviors where judgment is lacked. Also, the mentality attached to this word provides people more reasons not to blame themselves for when they make a monumental mistake. They blame it on “Life” and not their own erroneous decision. What does this create? A bunch of cultures which don’t hold themselves accountable for their actions.


So this “Yolo” mentality is not so cut and dry. It is good and bad. It is both a hindrance and an empowering philosophy, depending on the person using it and how they use it. But it is being used nonetheless. Most people want to get all they can out of life, and so, in this case, it is quite motivating. “Yolo” can be inspirational to those trying new things – who want to take calculated risks, meet new people, take exciting trips, etc. It can mean understanding what it means to be born to die – and in between, there are opportunities to make the most out of this crazy life. In between birth and death, there is of course suffering, problems, the death of others, bad people and bad experiences – but there is also love and hope and family and beauty.

Unfortunately, this “Yolo” philosophy does not seem to focus on the most optimistic aspects of life. It seems more that this philosophy only provides excuses for young rich kids to account for their immature, impulsive, selfish actions. The phrase will never be used by the masses like “Carpe Diem.” It is one more excuse for spoiled American kids to put off growing up and becoming responsible, productive adults. It is really quite a pathetic, irritating notion to people who don’t have the luxury of staying children their entire lives, putting off adulthood because it doesn’t suit them. “Yolo” is an irritating acronym, one that is not only confusing to most people but one that will just never catch on. Only the young hipsters will use it, and they are not “mainstream” anyway.

YOLO [YO-low]: An acronym meaning "You only live once." Meant to elicit a carefree attitude, willing to take chances.

Also, the subject of an essay question to get into one of the best universities in the country.

Tufts University in Medford, Mass., is asking applicants to answer three essay questions. The first two deal with why prospective students are applying to Tufts and how their background defines them. Then they give applicants a choice of six essay prompts, one of which involves "YOLO":

The ancient Romans started it when they coined the phrase "Carpe diem." Jonathan Larson proclaimed "No day but today!" and most recently, Drake explained You Only Live Once (YOLO). Have you ever seized the day? Lived like there was no tomorrow? Or perhaps you plan to shout YOLO while jumping into something in the future. What does #YOLO mean to you?

(Yes, they include the hashtag.)

"This question was submitted by a member of our incoming first-year class and was one of six essay choices designed to give students a chance to tell us about themselves," Tufts spokesman Alexander Reid told The Huffington Post. "The spirit of the question is quite serious, as it asks students to consider a concept that people –- from Roman philosopher of antiquity Horace to contemporary Grammy Award-winning Canadian rapper Drake -– have been thinking about for thousands of years."

Lee Coffin, dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Tufts, admits he has an affinity for pop music. Coffin is encouraging applicants to have some fun when they introduce themselves to Tufts.

"Oh yes, we did. Quakers, Virginia Woolf, nerds, an ancient Roman, Drake, a principle of physics and the Red Sox (at least by inference) all wiggled their way into one of our essay questions," Coffin wrote in a blog about the admissions essay. "YOLO."

Colleges seem to like to ask weird prompts in application essays, like the University of Chicago's 2002 question, "How do you feel about Wednesday?" or "You have just completed your 300-page autobiography. Please submit Page 217," as the University of Pennsylvania has asked for 20 years. Tufts asked applicants in 2009 "Are we alone?"

Which brings us to the evolution of YOLO, courtesy of The Black Sheep Online:

(h/t The Hairpin)


The Evolution Of #YOLO

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