I Am Not a SWUG

Emily Kress

Early on in my Colgate career, a senior girl told me and my female friends that “being a senior girl in college is a lot like being a senior citizen: you may be older and wiser, but no one wants to [date] you anymore.” And, from what I’ve heard so far this semester, apparently that is a sentiment that has continued on for my fellow female seniors. I ask you now in all seriousness, why?

For those of you who have not yet heard of this phenomenon, the label of “SWUG” has recently come into use. It stands for Senior Washed-Up Girl. Excuse me? I know a handful of senior girls who have pseudo-affectionately, mostly self-deprecatingly, deemed themselves SWUGs. Last time I checked, I believe that’s an insult you’re throwing around there. This leads to the part that I don’t understand.

Why would you ever refer to yourself as washed-up in any sense? You’re a 21-year-old at Colgate University; you have your whole life ahead of you, and only the next few months of it will be confined to the three-street village of Hamilton, N.Y. That’s hardly washed-up in my opinion.

That being said, I know there’s a weird stigma surrounding the life of a senior girl in college. Before college had even started, it was already becoming engrained in my mind that with each passing year, I would be on a steady decline, all while my male peers would become better and more successful with age. Why does my so-called “prime” have to be in my first year of college? Why can’t I get better with age? Aren’t I just like the fine wine I’ve recently acquired an appreciation for?

I just don’t understand this SWUG fad. It’s derogatory, plain and simple. I know it’s meant as a self-deprecating joke, what with all the “#SWUGlife” being tossed around, but have a little pride, ladies! Oh, you say you’re washed-up because you only go out once a week at most? Or maybe it’s because you’d prefer Slices to the Jug when given the choice?

Am I the only one who sees nothing even remotely “washed-up” in these choices? Why is it that the number of nights I go out in a week suddenly determines my place in the social hierarchy of this campus? On the Slices versus Jug note, I have never been rejected by pizza. The way I see it, I’m picking my battles. Yet, because it’s my last year of college, have these choices gone from intelligent to SWUG-worthy?

SWUG could just as easily stand for Senior Washed-Up Guy, but it doesn’t. I’m no feminist, but there’s a problem here. Is there a reason I can’t be in my prime, too? In my opinion, it looks a lot more “washed-up” on guys’ parts to be preying on first-years at the Jug than it does for me to stay in with my thesis on a Thursday night.

Better yet, why can’t we all be in our primes by senior year? I know I can’t speak for everyone, but from my own experiences and from watching others, each year seems, overall, better than the last. We’ve found our niches, our routines and our friends, as cheesy as that sounds. Since when did growing up become synonymous with being washed-up? Respect choices – your own and others’. This could be the best time of your life. Don’t waste it believing you’re a SWUG.

Contact Emily Kress at [email protected]