YOLO mentality leads to false confidence, real regrets

by Kelly Gardner

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Mary Jane walks in the door after a long day of school. Unsurprisingly, the girls are already pre-gaming for a toga party later that night. While taking shots, Mary Jane brings up this weekend’s rave, “Who wants to do molly?” she asks. “I’ve got some!” someone says. “Well, looks like we’re going hard this weekend,” they cheered. “YOLO!”

While this is obviously an extreme example and not necessarily representative of all college students, there have recently been some extreme incidents. For those of you who don’t know, the term “YOLO” is an acronym for  “you only live once.” While the term is meant to encourage risk-taking, some students have gone beyond simply pushing boundaries.

August 31 was a tragic day for 22-year-old Samantha Lynn Goudie, who was arrested after attempting to rush the field at a University of Iowa football game, and blew a .341 blood alcohol content on a breathalyzer test. According to Clemson University’s Redfern Health Center website, people commonly slip into a stupor at a .30 BAC. At .35 BAC, drinkers may stop breathing. Once released from jail, Goudie tweeted “Just went to jail #yolo,” “Blew a .341 in jail” and “I’m going to get .341 tattooed on me because its so epic.”

The fact that she could even function at a .341 BAC shows clear signs of alcoholism, and should raise some serious red flags. Goudie is lucky to be home and still healthy.

That same day did not pan out quite as well for some other college students looking for a good time. Mary Goldsmith was a 19-year-old student at the University of Virginia. She collapsed at a Washington, D.C. club after an overdose of the designer drug commonly known as “molly.”

Two other students who were attending the Electric Zoo music festival in New York also died of “molly” overdoses that day, according to an article by nydailynews.com. “Molly” has gained a reputation at raves and festivals for enhancing users’ experiences and causing feelings of euphoria and boundless energy. Unfortunately, some of these experiences end tragically.

College is known for providing ample opportunities for students to pursue good times. And while it may involve socializing at parties or concerts, we don’t need to take it to the extreme. It’s possible to have a great time while enjoying activities in moderation.

The “YOLO” mentality has swept young adult generations. In some instances, the idea of “YOLO” pushing people to take risks is positive. If this mentality influences college students to step outside of their comfort zones and change majors at the last minute to pursue something they’re passionate about, we want to encourage it. However, the term has also become a gateway excuse for people to partake in activities and substances that are less than healthy.

Students are offered countless opportunities to enrich their lives while attending institutions of higher education. They have the ability to travel abroad, learn about different cultures or even take water sports classes such as surfing or sailing. In no way do I expect the students who live for the weekends to stop partying. I am, however, suggesting that students have a responsibility to find a healthy balance.

Taking risks is a part of life, and it’s every individual’s choice to decide which risks they are going to take. The questionable activities taking place around campuses are meant to be in good fun, but they bring to light the true value of the experience. As students, we are just beginning to see our paths unfold. I urge you to think about your future plans and proceed with your actions from there. Everyone should live life to the fullest, whatever that may mean for them, but remember to make note of the things you are fortunate to have and what it would mean to lose them.

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