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Songs That Got Me Through My First Year of College

With the sun out, the year is almost over, and I can’t help but reflect on the first year of college and all its peaks and valleys. Before beginning college, all I had heard from friends and family was how amazing it would be. You get to live on your own away from your parents! No more high school. You’ll have freedom! All of that sounds great, doesn’t it? So you can see how I’d put college on a pedestal and counted down the days until it was my time to experience it. However, the reality was a lot more difficult than the illusion I had come to believe. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made some wonderful friends and had many memorable experiences. Yet, I can’t help but feel that the vast majority feel pressure to portray a facade of happiness to the world. College hasn’t been terrible by any means, but it hasn’t been all rainbows and sunshine either.  Therefore, I thought I’d share some of the more difficult things no one tells you about college through the thing that helped me through those times: music.

1. 'Living on my Own" by Freddie Mercury

One of my favorites, “Living on my Own” is a hidden gem of Freddie Mercury’s, frontman of Queen. This song perfectly encaptures the transition from living at home to, well, living on your own. You meet so many people at the beginning of college, and it’s a lot of fun. However, there were still many times I felt terribly alone. Although I did feel like I had friends who I felt cared about me and connected to, there would be stretches of days where I didn’t really see or talk to anyone. People get busy and disappear for awhile, and I had to be okay with being alone after having been surrounded by people for so long. It was hard, and I felt really lonely. When I felt that way, I’d blast this song and dance to its upbeat melody while also relating to its lyrics. 


Image Source: Pexels

2. "Apocalypse" by Cigarettes After Sex, "Fade into You" by Mazzy Star, "2:45 AM" by Elliott Smith

There’s a lot of pressure to do well in college. You’re constantly surrounded by really intelligent people, and that can lead to feelings of inadequacy and stress when you get a grade you’re not happy with or don’t fully understand a concept. That’s where these songs helped me. Their dreamy voices and ambient melodies will take your mind out of the stresses of college and life itself. I always listened to these songs when I felt like escaping and melting all my worries away, and I especially loved to listen to them while napping in the grass in front of the Memorial Union on campus.    


Image Source: Pixabay

3. "Someday" by The Strokes, "8TEEN" by Khalid, "Scarface" by Red Hot Chili Peppers  

I grouped these songs together as I listened to them in the same situations. Most of the songs so far have been sort of gloomy, which is not 100% reflective of my college experience. I’ve had great times listening to these songs while biking downtown with friends as the sun sets or getting dressed up to go out with friends. I feel like “Someday” and “8TEEN” especially capture the youth and the experiences during this stage of life. 


4. "This Is the Day" by The The, "Common People" by Pulp, "Hello" by J. Cole 

At times, the work can really pile up. Time management is key, but no one’s perfect, and there will be times where you’re behind and feel like you’re drowning in all the things you have to do. During these periods, it’s really easy to lose motivation. There were definitely times when I was on the brink of just giving up. However, these songs helped me through that loss of motivation. Every time they came on, their upbeat tunes would just get me back in the mindset of knocking everything off my to-do list.

Honorable Mentions:

"Drew Barrymore" by SZA: Another good one for when you’re feeling lonely. 

"Only in the West" by Yeek: A perfect rainy day song.

"Don’t Worry Baby" by The Beach Boys: A song essential for finals week!