YOLO, #No: A commentary on things to leave back in 2012

Welcome to a new year, dear readers. Hopefully your break was full of friendly faces and fascinating stories. Though I enjoyed the long break, I found myself missing my friends, club lib outings, and ASR drama while hibernating in West Texas. Thus, I’m glad to be back (having a class-free Friday didn’t hurt my willingness to return either).

We now find ourselves in a completely new semester full of new classes and people. And yet, amidst all this new commotion, I believe that most of us are still holding on to many things from 2012. This is futile. Times change and so should we.

You may be sarcastically asking as to what things I could possibly be referring. You’re rolling your eyes thinking, “2012 was fantastic! The world didn’t end! Barack Obama was re-elected!”

Well, let me remind you of the infamous 2012 phrase: YOLO. It seems as if 2012 was filled with YOLO (an abbreviation of “you only live once”) at the drop of the hat. Made famous by the musical genius Drake, the term came to be a response to everything from “I forgot I have a 19-page paper due tomorrow. YOLO” to “I took the last bag of salt and vinegar chips from Coates. YOLO”. This phrase filled us with determination to live and act without regrets. With our trusty phrase YOLO (or #YOLO, if we’re getting fancy), we could now find justification for not thinking of tomorrow and living freely.

I think 2013 should be the year in which we bid farewell to “YOLO” for various reasons. The first reason is one that I mulled over in my mind during much of break and may be sobering to many of you intelligent readers. Apologies, for as you all know, this is not my usual tone, but I thought I should attempt it anyways.

In December, the lives of many were shattered by the Newtown, Connecticut shootings. Teachers and children were gunned down, shocking people throughout the world and renewing a debate about gun rights in the United States. The decisions made by our generation on an issue such as gun rights have the potential to reshape our country.

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, the fact of the matter is that events like the Newtown shootings vividly indicate to us that we are not of a “YOLO” world. Every action has a consequence and these consequences can affect people deeply and forever.

You may respond by saying that I am taking the term “YOLO” too literally. Perhaps originally, Drake wanted to convey the idea that we should simply live for the moment. But to me the “YOLO” lyric has become more of a generational mentality than a convenient mantra. Even here (or especially here) at Trinity, our generation refuses to live too much in the future. I see many of my friends (and myself) scrambling to search for jobs, apply to graduate schools, and waiting until three hours before a final to study (a.k.a. cram). People refuse to commit to relationships or even maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Our generation excels in living in the moment because (you guessed it): YOLO. But this cannot be. And leads right into my second reason as to why YOLO must become obsolete in 2013.

The “YOLO” mentality has overtaken our lives. We must be better than this. Our generation has the capacity to plan for the future and take responsibility for our actions. We can act on impulse and bear the consequences of these impulsive actions.  Equipped with Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, GPS, online academic journals, and iTunes, we have NO excuse to not be better than this YOLO mentality.

Overall, I guess I’m being too harsh on our generation. It was not our fault, Drake’s fault or YOLO’s fault that Newtown or other tragic events of 2012 occurred. Yet, perhaps our response to world events, or even events in our small Trinity bubble, can slowly begin to move away from the lack of accountability that inundated 2012. So, for 2013, please try to remember that the consequences of your actions last forever, even if YODO (you only die once). Good luck and godspeed.

Gabrielle Shayeb is a senior majoring in history.