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Ali Kokot & Hayley Brooks
Think Twice

Credit: Amanda Suarez , Ali Kokot & Hayley Brooks

As word lovers, we’re attuned to the mythical powers of the buzzwords that define our peer culture.

“SWUG,” a few-years-old acronym that’s been floating around the female senior populace lately, is a word we’d like to see disenfranchised immediately. This acronym has no place here. Begone!

For those unfamiliar, the term “SWUG” refers to a “senior washed up girl,” or the homely homegirl who is “over it” in many respects of college life. She doesn’t care to put herself together, marinates in apathy and lies beneath the radar of younger college men on the prowl. Maybe there are people like this at Yale — where the term originated a few years ago as an in-joke among friends — but we’re not seeing any of that around here.

We’re seeing senior women with full courseloads, a work-study or part-time job, relationships and leadership positions who, shockingly, want to take a few hours to themselves sometimes. What’s so wrong with that? Washed up? We think not.

Calling yourself a SWUG is really a backhanded way of saying, “Usually I’m really productive and desirable,” which is the only reason why this swuggish behavior seems contrasting enough to merit a label.

Why aren’t we taking pride in our accomplishments instead? As Sheryl Sandberg has quipped all over the place, women need to work more on “owning it.” How are we to be in the right mindset to be a campus leader and land our interviews if we’re entering the year putting ourselves down?

At Made in America last Saturday, Beyonce gave us an attitude check. She opened with “Run the World (Girls)” and closed by thanking her sensational all-female jazz band, not once apologizing for being a successful woman. Beyonce, age 32, just pumped out a baby. Did she look washed up to you?

The major problem with this acronym is the apology and surrender it suggests — that what we’re doing isn’t normal. It’s thrown in at the end to qualify a sentence that might otherwise be deemed embarrassing given our do-it-all attitude. Let’s do a quick case study.

On a Saturday night, a lady might text to another lady: “Just watching ‘Clueless’ with the girls in my pj’s. Pass the wine. #SWUGlife.” On the same evening one of our anonymous male senior friends might say, “Football. Dudes. Beers.” No qualifier necessary.

We don’t need to put ourselves down to relax. Overachievement may be the standard at Penn, but we’re allowed to chill out sometimes and not feel the need to justify the choice. Take note from the bros!

On the whole, women are more likely to say sorry than men. Research conducted by University of Waterloo professors Karina Schumann and Michael Ross in 2010 revealed empirically that women apologize more than men on the daily. And not just that — when surveyed with the same “offenses,” women regarded the given situations as more objectionable and meriting an apology than men. We are way too quick to take on guilt for both petty mishaps and our larger lifestyles.

So to the senior ladies: Don’t apologize. We’re letting our alleged decrease in sexual capital define us — why aren’t we seeing ourselves as seasoned and transitioning to the next phase or mentors to younger girls, as opposed to pathetically old in comparison to the “fresh meat”? Defining your entire senior year experience through the gaze of a horny sophomore boy is an unproductive exercise. Also, ew.

If we want to cook ourselves dinner in our monogrammed tie-dye terrycloth robes and go to sleep at 9 p.m., we are happy to advertise it — and without any disclaimers or qualifiers. You’re looking at girls who have a framed poster that reads “Everything you see I owe to spaghetti” hanging in their apartment.

So let’s banish this self-deprecating SWUG life and start living the swag life. If you’re lookin’ for a Pride & Prejudice movie night we’ll be right there with ya … with the boys in Ali’s class who planned it — none of us need an excuse. And we’ll see you in Claire Klieger’s office tomorrow.

Ali Kokot and Hayley Brooks are College seniors from New York, N.Y. and Ft. Lauderdale, F.L. respectively. You can email them at or follow them at @haybethbrooks and @alikokot. “Think Twice” appears every other Wednesday.

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