Personal Branding

SWUGS Invade College Campuses Across Nation

by Hayley Formolo on September 26, 2013

30 Rock's female protagonist, Liz Lemon, played by comedienne Tina Fey. An inspiration to SWUGs everywhere.

30 Rock’s female protagonist, Liz Lemon, played by comedienne Tina Fey. An inspiration to SWUGs everywhere.

College students across the nation, prepare yourselves: the SWUGs are coming.

For those of you now asking yourselves, what exactly is a “SWUG” (a new sluggish, invasive species, perhaps?), let me break it down for you. “SWUG” is an acronym for “Senior-Washed-Up-Girl”. Origins can be traced back to an article first published in the Yale Daily News and later picked up by New York Magazine, where it then went viral and was spread nationwide.

In the article, Raisa Bruner, a female Yale student at the time, discussed the newfound sense of apathy that she and her fellow female friends had begun to embrace approaching their senior year of college. Granted, an overall sense of laziness and indifference is nothing new for seniors of any gender or education level (hi, my entire senior year of high school, holla #SEN10RS!!), but this seemed to go beyond that. It was more than being lazy, saying YOLO, and skipping class to day-drink at insert-string of Greek letters-here on a Wednesday afternoon. Senior boys were still repeating the same routine they adopted first semester of freshman year: hanging out at all the same parties, with all the same people, all in hopes of getting the number of some cute freshman girl. Senior girls, on the other hand, were starting to find themselves in quite the predicament. At these same parties, they found themselves being turned down by boys three years their junior: boys who, like their elder counterparts, were solely interested in the “fun, free-wheeling frat hookup culture that’s so compelling to younger students” as Bruner explains in her piece. In other words, Bruner and her girlfriends were beginning to feel on the down and out.

So, what’s a girl to do? Well, in Bruner’s case, you adopt the “SWUG lifestyle”. You welcome the washed-up, senior girl way of life—the lifestyle of a collegiate female who embraces a laissez-faire attitude, free from the constraints of the typical, stale college social scene. As Bruner’s friend and fellow SWUG explains in New York Magazine’s follow-up article, “The SWUG seeks oblivion in the face of despair, love in the face of alienation, whiskey in the face of moving back in with your parents who don’t have a liquor cabinet.” And, before you say it, I know how ludicrous it sounds for 22-year-old females to be describing themselves as “washed up” and “elderly”. Yes, it is completely and totally ridiculous. Yet, people make fun of the immaturity of the SWUG lifestyle without realizing the girls have been in on the joke the entire time. They use it as a means to make fun of themselves, but also as a means to liberate themselves and make the most out of their senior year of college.

Do you find yourself spending your Friday night in sweatpants, holed up in bed with your girlfriends, binging on old episodes of Friends until your eyeballs fall out of their sockets? Don’t like getting dressed up or putting on makeup, but still like to go out to the bars and dance on tables to some Bon Jovi without judgment on a Saturday evening? Is your relationship status on Facebook currently listed as “in a serious relationship with Netflix”? Ever driven to Taco Bell at 3 a.m. on a random weekday for a crunch wrap supreme, just because you can? Congratulations, if you answered yes to any of these, then you might just be a SWUG. Also…yes, I am guilty of all these things. #SWUGforlife.



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