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Opinion: Proud To Be a SWUG

Returning to Boston College in the fall is arguably better than Christmas. Yes, instead of getting presents, we fork over $60,000 for tuition. But still, you know what I mean. Even the most adventurous of summers abroad or most interesting internships can’t diminish the excitement that a new school year brings.

This particular year, I returned to campus with a new perspective. Since I decided to graduate in three years from BC due to the aforementioned high price tag, I am officially a senior.

Flash forward to the first Friday night of the year before classes. While troves of freshman poured into the mods and sophomores descended upon Walsh, I was sitting on the floor of my half-decorated and vaguely smelly Edmonds apartment watching The Real Housewives of Orange County on E!. It was then that the realization hit me: I was a SWUG.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this acronym, SWUG stands for senior washed up girl. Made famous by Yale University in 2010, the concept has since spread to colleges across the country. On Instagram, searching the  hashtag #swug turns up over 21,000 photos. There is no one established definition of the SWUG. To some, she is the girl who brings her own bottle of wine to parties. To others, she cannot be bothered to wear makeup or put on jeans. A few will say she swore to never hook up with an underclassman, but breaks that promise every other weekend if only to teach the younger, hotter female freshmen a lesson.

Certainly the idea that a girl’s stock goes down as she gets older has existed for ages. I distinctly remember my friends and I being told by a sophomore girl when we were mere freshmen that we should, “have fun now because it’s all downhill from here.” With this attitude so prevalent on campus, it’s no wonder that female BC students report having lower self-confidence upon graduating then they did when they were freshmen.

SWUGdom seems to imply that because senior girls do not put much effort into their appearance and generally do not try as hard to impress, they are less attractive to boys, become desperate and are therefore, washed up. I find this logic to be ridiculous; a girl’s worth should never be measured by her appeal to the opposite sex. As Betsey Johnson said, “Girls do not dress for boys. They dress for themselves and, of course, each other. If girls dressed for boys they’d just walk around naked at all times.”

Never to be underestimated or undervalued, senior girls on college campuses across the country are banding together and taking back the term SWUG. They rebel against the notion that they should leave college after four years of blood, sweat and tears with less confidence than when they arrived. They are smarter and more self-aware than ever before, and they demand to be respected for it.

SWUGs bring their own wine to parties because they know that few things taste worse than vodka and sharing is not always caring (hello mono!). SWUGs don’t wear makeup because skipping eyeliner means five extra minutes in bed. SWUGs flirt with whoever they want simply because its fun, and they like to have fun.

SWUGs are the enlightened of BC because, in essence, they shun social expectations in favor of personal happiness. It’s for this reason that I think everyone should embrace a piece of the SWUG lifestyle, even freshmen. Every BC student has experienced the pressure to be perfect. Living like a SWUG, even just for a minute, is liberating. It gives us the confidence to be ourselves.

In the spirit of being a SWUG, I’ve accepted that the real world is a mere year away while refusing to accept that senior year won’t be the best one yet. While I know that it’s nearly impossible for freshmen to rail against BC’s social expectations, I hope that they can take a page out of the SWUG’s book and own their BC experience. Washed up never looked so good.

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(south) jersey girl. incapable of whispering. happiest in big cities. still trying to make "swag" happen. very