We were talking recently about the party scene at Bowdoin, and as we reflected on our first year here, we soon realized that neither of us had actually been to a party here for quite a while. For a month and a half to be exact. When this dawned on us, we were a little surprised. We were amazed that Friday night after Friday night of opting to either watch "Stranger Things" in our cozy, warm beds or to catch up on homework at Supers had added up to 42 party-free days. But to be frank, we weren’t too beat up about it.

So, are we SWUGs? Is this what it feels like? When we swapped stories about our most recent Friday night adventures, we began to think so. Hayley, after a few glasses of wine and dancing to one too many Ke$ha songs with a friend, crashed duty night in a first-year brick and promptly fell asleep on their common room couch. Emma, after returning from a delicious dinner in Portland, watched half an episode of "Mr. Robot" before she decided she was too tired to continue and curled up for a nice 10 hours of sleep.

SWUG stands for "Senior Washed-Up Girl," but what exactly does that mean? Urban Dictionary has an example of a day in the SWUG life: "I texted two sophomore guys and got rejected by both, but I don’t even care because I have a bottle of wine and my $150 vibrator." Although aspects of this definition resonated with us, we didn’t feel like it captured the whole SWUG phenomenon. We had a lot of questions: Why are SWUGs typically seen as jaded, callous women who can’t find men? Does this term imply that boys could never be washed-up, or that they always have been? Is being a SWUG bad, or is it a feminist reclamation of a formerly sexist insult? What does it imply about us as First Year Non-Washed-Up Girls? We pondered over these questions as we sat eating pumpkin pancakes and drinking tea in Thorne, dressed in our favorite sweatpants and Birkenstocks. We found ourselves constantly returning to what being a SWUG meant to us. Since our first year at Bowdoin, we have both changed tremendously.

Hayley began her first year drinking most weekends and hopping between College House parties, trying to live the "Bowdoin experience." She often felt stressed during the week and didn’t feel totally passionate about her classes or the clubs she joined. Now, she doesn’t drink as much—not because she doesn’t like her Montepulciano wine, don’t get her wrong—but because she’s dedicated herself to being more health-conscious. She’s learned to spend time on the things that make her happy, like exploring the Maine outdoors and throwing clay pots at the Craft Center. She’s come to embrace different aspects of her identity: her Jewish faith, her blackness and her womanhood. She sees herself as a SWUG because she has started to care less about what others think of her. It’s taken her a long time to get to this point, but she feels comfortable. And guess what? She absolutely loves it.

Emma came to Bowdoin determined to force an outgoing, extroverted personality against almost all her natural impulses. She didn’t like College House parties, but went to them anyway, loved her classes, but complained about them anyway, seeking some vague concept of "cool." Now, Emma has come to realize that embracing the introverted, awkward, school-loving person that she actually is not only makes her cool, but more importantly, happy. Emma feels like a SWUG when she spends time with people she really likes instead of feeling uncomfortable at a loud party or when she goes out to dinner by herself because she wants some alone time and good food. She still doubts herself sometimes and worries too much about what others think, but generally, she feels confident in who she is.

For us, being SWUGs means being comfortable in our own skin. It means speaking our minds, even if we might be called "nasty women." It means acknowledging and accepting that we will sometimes feel lonely or scared or disempowered, and that that’s okay. As seniors, we finally feel at ease on campus. But we’re about to embark on a new and unknown phase of our lives that will have its own set of new and unknown challenges. This is terrifying. Yet we feel more equipped to handle whatever comes next—a feeling that we didn’t necessarily have four years ago. So for all the SWUGs out there, whether being a SWUG means partying with your friends or appreciating your religion, going to counseling or ditching your bra, or a host of other things, we hope you’ve come to know yourself a little better. We certainly have.