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How ‘Eternal Sunshine’ Comes Full Circle for a College Girl

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at App State chapter.

Whether she knew it or not, Ariana Grande kicked off my spring break about two weeks ago with her new album Eternal Sunshine. This came out during my senior year in college, where her last album Positions came when I was a freshman in college. Having that realization, it felt like a full circle moment. 

When I came in as a freshman, it was in 2020 during the height of covid. I was already nervous as I imagine others were going into college. I made fast friends who later dumped me after two weeks, and I didn’t have opportunities to make other friends after. So, it was an isolating and lonely first semester of college. The highlight of that semester was Ariana announcing and releasing her Positions album which came out the night before I was going to leave to go back home. I stayed up to listen to it, and yes, I cried. 

Initially, going back home was only supposed to be for Thanksgiving break, but I ended up staying home for the second semester. Since then, I will admit that I have not had the best of luck in finding friendships – at least ones that last. In a way, it seems that I have found myself in a similar situation in my senior year that I was facing in my freshman year. Though freshman year was definitely more grewling, the fact is that during this time in my life, the end of my college career, Ariana Grande released an album just in time.  

Being a long time fan of Ariana’s, I have essentially grown up with her. From Nickelodeon to her first album in 2013, she’s been through my formative years. 

At the time in my life that Positions came out, I was insecure, depressed, and growing to accept the situation I was in. In a dramatic sense, I was coming to terms that maybe I was meant to be alone – friendship wise and relationship wise. Hearing Positions brought me a happiness, a calm, and hope that I hadn’t felt for most of my first semester. Specifically, ‘shut up’, ‘off the table’, and ‘pov’ were my comfort songs.

‘shut up’ is the opening to the album and resonated with me because it’s about staying true to yourself and what you like, disregarding what other people are saying, especially when it isn’t true. ‘Off the table’ is a melancholy track about wondering if someone is able to move on from a great love. Did I have that at the time? No. But, the idea of being loved and feeling loved by someone whom you love just the same right back is something of yearning. I absolutely sobbed at ‘pov’. Like I said, I was insecure and lonely during freshman year so of course I was going to cry to a song about wanting to love yourself and see yourself the way that others do. It didn’t help that there were parallels to her previous songs.

Eternal Sunshine comes at a time where I am close to closing the current chapter of my life (bittersweet). Since freshman year there were a lot of icky things that I went through that caused me to mature more than I already had before then. I’m talking lots of heartbreak and doubts, in every type of relationship. Things didn’t exactly turn out the way I thought within certain relationships in and out of college, which has been varying in the degrees of easy, medium, and hard. Growing pains are real! Growing up is hard, and I constantly wonder how anyone has done it. At this stage in my life, ‘intro (end of the world)’, ‘don’t wanna break up again’, ‘saturn returns interlude’, are the ones that struck me.

‘intro (end of the world)’ is a dreamy opening about knowing if you’re in the right relationship or not. I think it can be applied to more than that. I think it can tie into who will be by your side in general. Who will be supporting you, who makes you feel safe, who you want to share moments with and if you’re where you’re meant to be in life. ‘don’t wanna break up again’ is about the difficulty of letting go, which is something I struggle with quite a bit. I’m going to be real right now: I have anxious attachment. So letting go of things, especially relationships, is difficult for me. I am proud to report that it has gotten better, but no matter how big or small, it’ll still hurt in some way. But oh how great it is when it’s not as impactful as I thought it would be. That’s on growth. ‘Saturn Returns Interlude’ is special because I’ve always liked having parts where someone is speaking because it ties into a bigger picture. It’s a good reminder to wake up and get on your path and what you want; what’s good for you.

Don’t get me wrong, there are other songs in both albums on the more fun and romantic side that I thoroughly enjoy. However, the ones chosen are the ones that related to me and made me feel something in regards to what I’m going through. I am so glad I had these songs to meet me at different times in life where I have grown and learned new things. The music makes my full circle moment all that much sweeter.

Sophia Alayna

App State '24

Sophia is a Senior at Appalachian State University. She is pursuing a degree in English Creative Writing and Gender, Women's, & Sexualities studies! Sophia enjoys writing, getting in her feels, and creating/maintaining connections with loved ones.