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Mental Health

Four Songs That Nail What It’s Like Being a Student With a Disability

As a freshman, there are constantly new situations for me to adapt to. Being a freshman with a disability… Well, that just makes things a little bit more complicated. Imagine the stress of maneuvering all those new encounters—meeting new people, finding your way around campus, dorm life—and multiply that by a few hundred. Just kidding… a few thousand. Seriously though, being disabled or differently-abled on campus comes with its own set of challenges. My juvenile idiopathic arthritis and other hodge-podge of random disorders and symptoms have a way of popping up when I least expect them, which can make planning my college days pretty difficult. Personally, a good playlist can completely change the course of my day, which is why I thought it would be fitting to make one! So enjoy my picks for the best songs to feel understood as a student with a disability. 

Won’t Stop Running – A Great Big World

Most relatable line:

“This isn’t over

I am way too young and I won’t stop running”

I am telling you this up front: If you haven’t seen the music video, then go watch it right now! That is one of the most encouraging, heart-warming videos I have seen in a while. “Won’t Stop Running” is one of my favorite songs to give me hope when I am dealing with the effects of chronic illness on my life. It’s at that moment when I’m rushing between classes and a kid makes a comment like, “Pfft, you use the elevator?!” while running down the stairs that I have to stop and remind myself that no matter how challenging college life can be for some of us, it is still so worth it. We’re going to keep running (or walking, or wheeling) until we achieve our dreams.

A Little Bit Longer – Jonas Brothers

Most relatable line:

“Waiting on a cure

But none of them are sure

A little bit longer and I’ll be fine”

The melancholic tone of “A Little Bit Longer” always hits the feels for me. I think it encapsulates the feeling of limbo that I sometimes get—waiting for remission to come, or to have a better pain day, but not being quite there yet. Dealing with these highs and lows can be especially stressful in college, so it’s important to acknowledge that and reach out for support if you need it.

Liability – Lorde

Most relatable line:

“So they pull back, make other plans, I understand, I’m a liability”

The first time I heard “Liability,” it really struck a chord with me. I had just been told by my high school that I couldn’t come back to school without signing a waiver that they didn’t have to call an ambulance for me every time I was unwell because I was, quite literally, a liability. This song helped me come to terms with that feeling of being a burden (let me reassure you, you are not! You deserve to have your needs met!) and mitigate it a little. That feeling of being a liability can also show its face when you need to cancel plans often, or when friends just stop inviting you. I think this song captures that feeling perfectly. 

Thunder – Imagine Dragons

Most relatable line:

“I was dreaming of bigger things and

Wanna leave my own life behind”

I’m sure there are times when every person with a disability or chronic illness wishes they could just snap their fingers, and POOF! It’s gone. It’s not just me, right? But at the same time, those very things that we fear set us back can be the springboard for our growth and success. “Thunder” reminds me of the future that I want for myself and gives me the strength to push through despite the hardships. 

If you enjoyed these songs, you should definitely check out my full chronic illness playlist, and my mental health playlist too. Feel good, reach out for help if you need it, and know that I’m out there cheering you on. You can do this!

Fay K

Oswego '26

Fay (who identifies as a fun-loving bookworm) is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Communications and a Master's of Business Administration at SUNY Oswego. Her hometown is Brooklyn, NYC. She loves writing, especially slam poetry, and can most likely be found curled up somewhere with a cup of hot chocolate and a book. She is involved with Her Campus, WTOP, and Jewish Life Oswego, among other organizations. Fay loves cool weather, decorating her backpack with pins, and learning new things.
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