screw it up

NewAmerica

Senior Member
Mandarin
Well, the phrase screw up typically refers to make a big mistake or blunder. But here, "Why screw it up" appears to mean "why do you think it is an embarrassing thing to do (in comparison to the big job of being president of a university)." Simply a wild guess.

On second thought, "Why screw it up?" may refer to "Why don't you do the job seriously?" Also a guess.

****************
GAZETTE: I wonder how being a professor has helped inform leadership for each of you?

BACOW: I loved the life of a faculty member. Why screw it up? It was a wonderful life.<................>


-By Colleen Walsh Harvard Staff Writer

Source
 
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    You've "cherry-picked" an odd line from earlier in the source which doesn't relate directly to what she's saying.
    BACOW: I avoided academic administration for 21 of my 24 years as a faculty member.

    FAUST: You know both of us did that. We are both really late starters.

    BACOW: I loved the life of a faculty member. Why screw it up?
    He means: Why would he want to ruin the job he loves doing by going into administration?
     
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