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Hit The Books

An accurate represenation of how it feels to be in the middle of Midterms week.

If you’re anything like me, you haven’t really looked at your class syllabi since they were handed to you. You’re taking everything in stride, enjoying the semester for what it is, and then…BAM. Out of nowhere, Midterms Week comes flying in and hit you like a ten-ton truck, and not in the fun way either. You’re covered in half-written essays, textbooks are crushing your chest and you have a billion inexplicable paper cuts.

You don’t deserve this! You’re a good f*cking person! GRADES ARE ARBITRARY.

So, this week, you’ll be finding yourself trapped in the library, hands trembling due to the constant flow of coffee to your mouth. The lights are dimming and there seems to be no hope; the janitors have come out to play, making sure their vacuums are as loud as possible. You’re about to pull your hair out, the bags underneath your eyes are bigger than the Moon, which is particularly bright at this lovely three a.m. tryst you’re in with Chaucer.

But look! Drag your eyes away from coffee-stained pages of Middle English! Here I come riding down the stairs on a white stallion, here to rescue your bleeding, vacuum-barraged ears with music! (How I got a horse into O’Malley is an entirely different story, you’re tired, roll with it.)

A playlist that accurately describes the moods and sensations of Midterms Week. Could you ask for anything more?


“Bad Mood” by The Vaccines, off of their record, Come of Age.

Nothing describes unfathomable anger than a good punk rock song. The Vaccines, once again, lead off a new playlist because they’re that good. Don’t even try to convince me that studying puts you in a good mood. There is nothing good about studying. Turn this song up, loud, and get back to the grind. You’ll be bashing your head against the desk to the powerful guitar runs.

Or you might get up and start air guitaring on the desks. Studying does weird stuff to people.

“Regret” by New Order, off of their record, Republic.

Okay, let’s chill out by listening to some cool New Order. You can’t be in a bad mood forever while studying for math, or whatever (I’m an English major, I don’t do math). So, you have a paper or a test tomorrow that suddenly just appeared and you had no idea. There might be some sort of regret that you’re feeling in your chest, but ease into it. Admit your mistakes and get back to the books. There is no time for self-pity during Midterms.

“I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish” by The Smiths, off of their album, Strangeways, Here We Come.

Were you feeling ambitious when you were signing up for classes? Took a leap of faith with a tough professor, a difficult class, an eight a.m.? Well, looking at what is going to be on the midterm might have you feeling some sort of way; something along the lines of “I started something I couldn’t finish.”

While you’re fighting the tears pricking your eyes as you go over your notes, I leave you with what my advisor told me after I spent five minutes ranting to her about how much I hated Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf: “It builds character.”


“One Week Of Danger” by The Virgins, off of their eponymous debut.

“Just give me one week of danger at a time / Lovin’ isn’t easy / But it sure is fun”. Your week of danger? Midterms week. And you’re going to slay it. Midterms are going to regret ever being handed to you because you’re going to tear them apart (in the academic sense, not the “rip paper up and storm out of the classroom” sense.)

The Virgins have created a song that is equal parts groovy and sassy. Get up and move around the library, get your blood flowing. The drums and bass will have you tapping your pen on the desk with the beat, angering everyone in the library simultaneously.

 “You Never Go Out Anymore” by Franz Ferdinand, a B-side off of their single “Ulysses”.

Look, the only reason why you’re leaving your room is to walk straight to the library, or if you’re in-tune with your body’s needs, you’re eating a sub-par meal at Locke’s. You don’t have the kind of time to drink yourself into a stupor and wake up late the next day. Those are precious studying hours!

I mean, you probably want to at this point. I don’t blame you. It upsets me that this song never made it to an album. It’s an energetic song that gets your heart-racing, and perhaps turning the pages a little faster?

No time for the gym, either. Page-turning is the only cardio you’re getting this week.


“Dying Is Fine” by Ra Ra Riot, off of their debut album, The Rhumb Line.

You don’t really get bands that have a cello and violin in their ranks, nor bands writing songs based off of an E.E. Cummings poem. Wes Miles has such a melodic voice that makes even the most treacherous of courses seem like a walk in the park. Let him serenade you into a daze – an academic daze, mind you.

Yeah, he’s singing that “dying is fine” and that might be how you’re feeling, but you’re almost through your studies. You’ll be able to sleep for a gracious thirty minutes before you’re running off to your next exam in Leo (Jesus Christ, can’t you catch a break?)

“What” by BRONCHO, off of their record, Just Enough Hip To Be Woman.

Let’s slow things down a little bit. This song screams warm weather and vacation, which lay ahead in literally a week. You’re staring at your papers, I know, and singing “wha-ah-ah-at, wha-ah-ah-at”, but you’re doing so while dancing in your chair. In short, this song is fun and carefree. You’re locked in O’Malley, I know, but that doesn’t mean you can’t latch onto this catchy hook and pretend you’re in BRONCHO for a couple of moments.

Worse things are happening, like war and world hunger, one bad grade won’t be the end of the world, right?


“Under The Gun” by The Killers, off of their album, Sawdust.

You’re under a lot of pressure, understandable. Midterms still got you feeling some sort of way. Even more understandable. You can’t see straight because you’ve had your face an inch from your work for seventeen thousand hours. I get it. The only thing that’s running through your head is the chorus:

“Kill me now / Kill me now / Kill me now / Kill me now.”

“Power of Not Knowing” by Kings of Convenience, off of their record, Declaration of Dependence.

This song is quiet and will get you back to doing your studies instead of bashing your head against the wall, or if you’re like me, throwing your books across your room, cursing like a sailor. Kings of Convenience are a band who write songs that create the perfect ambience for working. Slip into their acoustic wonderland and let yourself escape for a while. Pretend you don’t know anything; the point is, you have a plethora of knowledge in that brain of yours. You’re choosing to be ignorant for .3 seconds before you have to get back to work.

 “Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying” by Belle & Sebastian, off of their record, If You’re Feeling Sinister.

“You could either be successful / Or be us!” Stuart Murdoch sings. So your options are: you become super rich and successful, or you join a super cool indie band that tours the world regularly. You can’t lose. The library is your prison, but only for this week. You need to get away from this institution, or, as the title suggests, you will die.

You’re being overdramatic, knock it off. Hit those books, get those As. College is a cakewalk. 


I am currently a senior at Manhattan College double majoring in English and Communication with a concentration in advertising. When I'm not writing about music, I'm usually eating soup dumplings or petting dogs - ideally at the same time. I'm proudly American with a half-Chinese and half-Italian heritage. You can follow me on Twitter at @ChuChuTrain. I'm funny sometimes.
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