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“You Did It, You Graduated”: A Grad Playlist for Sentimental Seniors

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pace chapter.

  It’s finally here. I’m not ready; no other senior is ready, and the underclassmen are sad. I graduated high school in 2020, so I sadly didn’t have an actual graduation. We drove around our town, all 900 seniors, waved at the people who came to support us, and got our diplomas passed to us like a cheeseburger from the drive-thru. It was completely unfulfilling if I’m being honest. But now, I have the chance to do it all again, and this time it’s being done right. I’ve always been a sappy person; I love living inside my memories and reminiscing. So I decided, why not make a playlist with all the songs that’ll make me think of the time I spent in the big city, with my friends, and most of all, in college? I’ve compiled a playlist stacked with songs (too many, probably) that range from gut-wrenchingly heartbreaking and mournful to exuberant and elating. This playlist in its entirety is way too long for an article, so I’ll give you just a taste and maybe some inspiration. Without further rambling, here it is, folks. In the words of Ms. Darbus: “You did it, you graduated!”

A Smiley Face Incarnate.

All of these songs make me so excited for the next steps in my life. I’m ready to grow, and I’ll be doing that to these songs.

“Back on 74” – Jungle

“Our Song” – Taylor Swift

“Take On the World” – Theme Song From Girl Meets World – Rowan Blanchard, Sabrina Carpenter

“You Are the Music in Me” – Troy, Gabriella, Disney (The fact that these are the character names is hilarious, but where is the Kelsey credit?)

“I’m Still Standing” – Elton John

“Time to Pretend” – MGMT

“Tongue Tied” – GROUPLOVE“One Last Time” – Christopher Jackson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton (This is so unserious. I’m so sorry.)

Songs That Encapsulate my Experiences (and Just Absolute Bangers).

This section is the amalgamation of the songs you’d be remiss to forget and that are so relatable, you just can’t ignore them.

“Seventeen” – Peach Pit

“Summer of ’69” – Bryan Adams

“Chiquitita” – ABBA

“Here Comes The Sun” – The Beatles

“Hall of Fame” (feat. will.i.am) – The Script, will.i.am

“Good Life” – OneRepublic

“I’ll Be There for You” (Theme from Friends) – The Rembrandts

“See You Again” (feat. Kali Uchis) – Tyler, The Creator, Kali Uchis

“Die Young” – Kesha

“Best Day Of My Life” – American Authors

“Don’t You (Forget About Me)” – Simple Minds

“Best Friends” – 5 Seconds of Summer

“The Spins” – Mac Miller, Empire of the Sun

“Don’t Stop Believin’” (Glee Cast Version – Cover of Journey) – Glee Cast

“Yes I’m Changing” – Tame Impala

“I Love You So” – The Walters

“Old Me” – 5 Seconds of Summer

“I Lived” – OneRepublic

“I Wanna Get Better” – Bleachers

“History” – One Direction

“Infinity” – One Direction

“On My Way” – From Brother Bear – Phil Collins

I’m Going to Rip My Hair Out

Finally, we’ve reached the heavy hitters. Some of these will make me sob uncontrollably when I think of their context in my life. Some will make me smile as my eyes well with tears. Some of these are just downright painful. This section is for those moments of contemplation of the future and wistful memories of the years that have passed.

“We’re Going to Be Friends” – The White Stripes

“Best Years” – 5 Seconds of Summer

“We’re All In This Together” (Graduation Mix) – High School Musical Cast, Disney

“Upside Down” – Jack Johnson (This one belongs here because Julia, the love of my life, has literally watched me cry to this music video, and it makes me think of her)

“Slipping Through My Fingers” – From Mamma Mia! Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried (The Mamma Mia! movies are so integral to my friendships with my roommates; this hurts so bad)

“Vienna” – Billy Joel

“Wherever You Are” – 5 Seconds of Summer

“That Funny Feeling” – Phoebe Bridgers (Bo Burnham cover)

“You’re On Your Own, Kid” – Taylor Swift

“Sign of the Times” – Harry Styles

“Outer Space / Carry On” – 5 Seconds of Summer

“I Wonder (Departure)” – ABBA

“Roots Before Branches” (Glee Cast Version) – Glee Cast (This one is a shoutout to Nat, who has watched me sob to this scene and cried with me)

“Long Live” – Taylor Swift

“Wherever I Go” – Hannah Montana 

“Never Grow Up” – Taylor Swift (I am in a puddle of tears on the floor right now)

“Night Changes” – One Direction

“Where’d All the Time Go?” – Dr. Dog

“Yesterday” – The Beatles

“The Climb” – Miley Cyrus (Yep, she’s here. Did you take me for a fool?)

This playlist was a true passion project for me. I tried to include a little bit of everything and reference some of the most pivotal moments of my college career through music. I make playlists for so many different things, but this is one of my favorites. If you like what you see here, feel free to listen (or copy; I won’t blame you) on Spotify!

Graduation is daunting; it’s when a lot of worry surfaces, and future plans float in unwillingly. It’s easy to say that it’ll all be okay in the end (because it will), but sometimes you have to be able to wallow in that feeling to take the steps toward the future. My senior year high school government teacher used to sign us off the same way every day at the end of class, and I love to live by his simple statement: “Go forth and conquer!”

Christina Guy is Co-Campus Correspondent for Her Campus at Pace! She oversees the running of the chapter, all of its inner workings, hosts meetings, and more. She also consistently writes articles for Her Campus at Pace and has for 3 years now. Outside of Her Campus, Christina works in childcare as a summer camp counselor and a seasonal lead teacher. She is a History major and has a minor in Sociology/Anthropology. She is a First Year Experience peer leader and an education TA. Christina has submitted personal pieces to several small literary magazines since high school and continues to do so. Christina hopes to become a museum curator one day or work within museum education. On her own, Christina loves to write fiction, listen to music, and read. She is also a huge Star Wars fan and often writes articles pertaining to the subject. Christina is also a co-host of her own on-campus radio show called Sunday Scaries. Christina is also an expert in all things history and 5 Seconds of Summer. Two very different subject areas, but she is proficient in each nonetheless! She is also very passionate about 70s aesthetic and fashion and hopes to be able to completely embody the full 70s look one day.