Confusion Corner: The invasion of the “SWUGs” is imminent

Last week I was talking about senior year with a friend who goes to Barnard College in Manhattan. We shared our mutual excitement about the future, our stress about midterms, but mostly, our apathy at what one might call the “college social scene.” I explained to her how few times I have gone out this semester, and she responded with “swug life.”

What is a SWUG, you may ask? SWUG means “Senior Washed Up Girl.” The definition varies from person to person, but it’s generally understood to be a female senior who’s over the expectations of college social life (infused with hookup culture and centered on drinking), and thus usually opts to stay in with friends of a similar mindset.

The realization that I’ve entered “SWUGdom” hit me when I recently rolled up to a pretty well-known off-campus party house. The place was packed tighter than sardines; it was boiling and uncomfortable. People I didn’t know surrounded me and my feet stuck to the floor as I struggled to maneuver through the mass. The only people dancing were scantily clad freshmen girls, standing on tables and telling the others how much they loved them (even though they had only met the week before, I’m presuming). I turned to my friends and I could see I wasn’t alone in my misery. Parties like this used to be fun. Now they seem laborious and boring.

Some days it’s easier to read a book or watch Netflix with your roommate in bed than force yourself to sacrifice your Saturdays to be trapped at a packed party, wishing you were doing something more memorable.

Being a SWUG means you have more time to succeed at what college is actually about; forging lifelong friendships, making memories and preparing for the future. I know this makes me sound like a twamp, but I’ve spent several Fridays this semester staying in, working on cover letters, just hanging out and talking about life with my friends. Are we missing out? Maybe on something. But at the same time, I think this growing disinterest in college culture is part of growing up. SWUGs have their sights set on the future, not the past. It doesn’t mean I want to become a “cat lady” and stop trying. Rather, I want to try the things I care about, not the things that are billed as necessary to have fun in college. I know what I think is fun, and that means a lot of variety — fewer house parties and more adventures with friends.

So, how do you know you are a SWUG? You realize it slowly over time. It starts with apathy towards going out, figuring you would rather just stay in with your roommate. Then it escalates. Your friend group leaves the bars after a half hour to get Wawa and eat chips in someone’s room. You find yourself explaining that you would rather stay up until 2 a.m. joking around with your little than stay up until 2 a.m. making small talk with strangers you will probably only ever see again at a distance. You stop caring about fitting into the expectations society has laid out for college students and just want to do whatever makes you happy.

All I have to say is SWUG over swag, y’all. Embrace your inner SWUGiness, no matter your year or gender. Have fun the way you want to have fun.

Sky Sprayberry is a Confusion Corner columnist who’s enjoying senior year SWUGdom and can’t wait for the future.


  1. Dear Girl, let me reassure you that what you are experiencing is the first of many life changes, and it doesn’t signify being “washed up” at all……it’s called MATURITY, and it looks like it’s setting in, readying you for the next stage of your young life. We seniors go through a similar phase for different reasons but similar in effect…We do only what we feel like doing, and avoid doing what we don’t want to do! There are many times in between when we must do difficult, uncomfortable but necessary things, but when we know we have done them cheerfully and lovingly, with our best effort, we earn the right to a kind of “second childhood”, and it can be enjoyed with gusto!
    Blessings and Best of Luck to you,
    Mary Curro, ’57


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