When I was interviewing for Episcopal High School, I was asked what my favorite quote was. Without a doubt, my 13-year-old self said “Yolo” (you only live once) to the admissions officer. 4 years later, I found myself resorting to that exact same answer throughout my college applications. My answer won over the hearts of admissions officers for both.
I was originally introduced to this quote during my 2013 obsession with Justice, a teen girl clothing brand. Specifically, their peace sign collection with tankinis and mini skirts plastered in glittery “Yolo” quotes. At the time of my obsession, Justice was not easily accessible because they did not have any retailers in China. My friends in middle school, however, would come back from vacations in America with suitcases full of their newest tank tops. To compensate for my fear of missing out, I took the quote and broadcasted it all over my Instagram instead of my closet. “Yolo” soon became my biography, captions, and justification for anything I did, both good and bad.
A few years later, “Yolo” urged me to apply for boarding school halfway across the planet. This saying followed me all throughout high school and gave me the confidence to take risks and challenge myself. It pushed me to meet new people and build the connections I have with my best friends today. It whispered motivational words when I wanted to give up, kept my head up when I was down and reminded me to always try my hardest. “Yolo”, however, was a double-edged sword. It not only brought out the best in me but also the worst. When I reflect on the few things I regret, it was rooted in the mindset that I only live once. While Justice is now bankrupt, their legacy lives on in my everyday life.
I now graduate with an evolved interpretation of “Yolo”. You only live once because everything is written in the universe, you just have to choose the right path. This mindset has brought me success in both my personal and academic life. I wish for you all to lean into new experiences, be yourself, and live in the moment because you only live once.
New York University ‘25