My Semester in Songs

Well, everyone, my first semester of college is complete.

It was a lot of work (I actually did schoolwork every single day starting with the first day of the semester), but I think it truly helped me grow as a person. Accordingly, my taste in music developed throughout the semester, especially due to my love of the wonderful podcast entitled All Songs Considered.

As I listen to music a lot throughout every day, in my mind, many songs have become associated with my college experience thus far. Therefore, I think it would be great to reflect on this semester through creating a list of songs that may forever remind me of this time in my life. I hope you all enjoy these songs!

“Pedestrian at Best” by Courtney Barnett

Here it is: the song that started my semester. As a very neurotic person, I was quite nervous on my first day of college. I listened to this song throughout the entire morning, and internally “rocking out” to it truly helped me calm my nerves and walk into class without fear in my eyes…at least from my perspective.

“Hello Today” by Black Honey

I found myself listening to this song a multitude of times while making my way to my morning classes, as it makes me feel as though I am ready to take on the day ahead of me. Thus, listening to this song distinctly reminds me of going to my humanities class, which was my first of the day for most of the week.

“Home of the Strange” by Young the Giant

I downloaded this song right around the beginning of the semester, and I specifically remember listening to it after my last class of the first week of the semester, which was my English course. I also am fairly certain that I thought to myself at the time, “This song is probably now going to remind me of college, and I am not going to want to listen to it later on as a result.” This assumption came to fruition, as I somewhat avoided the song for quite a while, for it reminded me of my anxiousness towards the start of my college adventures. Now that the semester has been winding down, though, I can listen to this wonderful song sans pain.

Stay On My Shore” by Joan Shelley 

Joan Shelley’s music has, quite simply, kept me sane throughout this semester. For example, I listened to this song before one of my first college math tests, and I found that it put me in an incredibly calm and focused mindset. Subsequently, I tried to recreate my serenity before almost every math test and nerve-racking day of class. The fact that I still treasure this song, even though it evokes memories of nervousness, shows how amazing this song is.

“Coming Home” by Leon Bridges

If I had a dollar for every time I listened to Leon Bridges while at school this semester, I would have a rather large amount of money. There is something about this song that is so comforting to me, and as a result, I played this song many times in-between classes in the morning. ‘Twas a great way to start my day!

“Doctor” by The Bird and the Bee

This song brings me back to an October Friday afternoon. I had just gone through two classes (that I had felt unsure about) successfully, and was sitting in the library while working on a project. It was one of those rare moments of contentment, in which I actually felt in control of everything. I kept working on the project for about an hour, and listened to the wonderful duo entitled The Bird and The Bee while doing so. The result was one of my favorite writing projects that I posted a couple weeks later, “Rhetoric in Recreation.”

“Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down) by the Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton

It was only a matter of time until I mentioned this ubiquitous musical, especially since I spent many of my days of the semester entering the Chicago production’s ticket lottery (I am still trying to win; wish me luck). This song specifically reminds me of my psychology class. The exams for the course kind of terrified me, and to build up my confidence, I would listen to songs such as this one from the soundtrack beforehand; they truly did help me.

“Coffee” by Sylvan Esso

It is somewhat insane how much this song transports me back to one of my first days of my hospitality class. I had just downloaded this song the night before what I believe to be my second day of the class, and just listening to it the next morning permanently associated it with the course as a whole. It has genuinely become a hospitality staple for me.

“Boy Problems” by Carly Rae Jepsen

I would say that one of the defining moments of the semester for me music-wise was when I finally decided to listen to Carly Rae Jepsen’s discography. I had initially dismissed her music, but after seeing so many positive comments regarding her recent albums, I dove right into her music while studying one night. I am so thankful that I did so. I could not stop listening to her music, and this song especially. I ended up playing this song before many important events during the semester, such as when I interviewed a member of the industry I am interested in for a report, and volunteered for one of my favorite organizations for the first time. It really is a perfect pop song.

“On Hold” by The xx

I will admit that I only started listening to The xx after their performance on Saturday Night Live (I know…I am such a poser), and also that this song does not necessarily remind me of being at college. It does, though, bring back memories of Thanksgiving break and how I spent much of it worrying about the amount of psychology readings I still had to do during the holiday week. Regardless, I still enjoy this song to a great degree.

“Magenta” by Deqn Sue

I could not stop listening to this song for a solid week, which was the week that my end-of-semester assignments held much of my attention. The color magenta, as described in the song, certainly described my mood at the time; I did some gratifying work (especially the last of my volunteer hours) at the time, but I also felt quite overwhelmed and exhausted.

“My Shot (feat. Busta Rhymes, Joell Ortiz & Nate Ruess) [Rise Up Remix]” by The Roots

Of course, I had to end this list with another Hamilton-related song, this one being from the recently-released mixtape. As my final exams began, this song became a staple for me, as I ended up listening to it every day during my last week of the semester. I often enjoy listening to motivating songs before exams in order to boost my self-efficacy, and this one fit the bill perfectly.

————

These are just some of the songs that define my experiences throughout my first semester of college. Although I may seem a bit negative throughout this post, I really did enjoy all of my classes, and the challenges I was able to face and overcome have made me feel hopeful for my development as a student and person in general. Here’s to an enlightening and successful future!

Also, if you would like more music recommendations, feel free to read my post entitled “My Love of Tiny Desk Concerts.”

Happy Holidays!

-Stephanie

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