The Meaning of YOLO

By Rachael Smith, Student at Radford University

By now, just about everyone has heard of the term "You Only Live Once." "YOLO" is an acronym that has spread like wildfire. You’ll see it on shirts, on Facebook and Twitter feeds and even tattooed on Zac Efron’s hand.

All over websites like Tumblr, Imgfave and Pinterest, there are cool pictures that are intended to encourage young people to get up and go anywhere. These photos are easy to come by and easy to make. Commonly, they have a background of trees, an ocean or anything that has a pretty landscape. Then, on top of the background, are inspiring words such as: "Whatever you want to do, do it now," and "For life is time and time is all there is" and "Be where you want to be."

These little quotes are all well and good for us but what is their purpose if they are to just sit on your laptop and look pretty? They make us feel good inside and give us hope, but solely looking at these pictures and pinning them onto our Pinterest boards will not achieve anything but making us look pseudo-adventurous.

Take action by pursuing those dreams! When you see a pretty Instagram picture (which is usually perceived to be more beautiful in the picture than it is in real life), print it out and post it on your apartment or dorm room wall. Keep them as a reminder, for example, “I want to work hard in school and try new things so maybe one day I can live in a little cute apartment in Paris overlooking the Eiffel Tower.”

When you see fun summer checklists, don’t just look over them and read that No. 8 is to meet new people, No. 14 is to go on spontaneous trips with friends and No. 20 is to spend less time on the computer and more outside … Go do them! All of these pictures and lists sound nice, but they are only worth something if we actively pursue them.

Like Travie McCoy sings, "We are young, we run free / Stay up late, we don’t sleep / Got our friends, got the night / We’ll be all right."

Carpe diem, my friends!


Head on over to 1,000 Dreams Fund to learn how to get funding for your dreams!