Tufts University, a former clown college that rose through the ranks to become one of America's most prestigious safety schools, likes to have fun on its applications. For years, it's been asking prospective students to submit quirky YouTube videos demonstrating how their quirky YouTube videos are better than other applicants' quirky YouTube videos. In 2010, it invited applicants to "create something" out of a sheet of paper. It's fun in the way your old job made you wear a sombrero on your birthday "because we like to have fun here!" It's just really, really fun.

This year, Tufts stopped having fun, and started getting serious....ABOUT HAVING FUN. As one of six optional essay prompts on the school's mandatory writing supplement, Tufts asked students to pen a short essay on the topic: "What does #YOLO mean to you?"

The ancient Romans started it when they coined the phrase "Carpe diem." Jonathan Larson proclaimed "No day but today!" and most recently, Drake explained You Only Live Once (YOLO). Have you ever seized the day? Lived like there was no tomorrow? Or perhaps you plan to shout YOLO while jumping into something in the future. What does #YOLO mean to you?

While it's not clear from the phrasing whether the admissions officers anticipate that the students will be jumping into something metaphorically (like an #EPIC teen marriage) or literally (like a ball pit!), it is evident that they expect today's young people to pursue BIO 0075 (Comparative Vertebrate Physiology) to its chillest, swaggest extent.

The mind reels (You're drunk, mind!) to imagine what the students will say about the significance of #YOLO to their lives in 250 words or less.

To me, #YOLO means You Only Live Once, which is why I want to spend four years of that life in suburban Boston.

To me, #YOLO means You Only Live Once, which is why I want to spend the rest of that life telling people I went to "Tufts...it's near Boston...it's a really good school."

To me, #YOLO is a trending topic on the online social networking and microblogging website, Twitter (as indicated by the "#" symbol), the sudden popularity of which has left it virtually devoid of all meaning. To me, #YOLO represents the plummeting weight of words in modern discourse. To me, #YOLO is a self-serving incantation invoked to justify destructive behavior. #YOLO is a vacuum of reason, intelligent debate, and consequences. #YOLO is a bad tattoo reading "#YOLO" that you justify getting because #YOLO. #YOLO is blackness. #YOLO is the nothing that became everything.

What does #YOLO mean to you? Please share your responses in the comments.

[h/t @cbattan // Image via AP]