My Grad School Playlist
by Emily Howe
With the end of term looming around the corner, I thought I’d give everyone some insight into my favourite songs to listen to in order to combat every different mood that grad school has presented me with. I hope that everyone can use at least one of these in order to keep afloat during the rough part of the semester. So here we go:
- Backseat Freestyle – Kendrick Lamar: This one is my top choice and my go to when Impostor Syndrome has me down. Martin had a dream, Kendrick has a dream, and I too have a dream: to make it through this year with as few meltdowns as possible. This song will boost your mood no matter what, Taylor Swift swears by it, need i say more? (Just kidding, I do not endorse any advice given by Taylor Swift for obvious reasons).
- (Sittin On) The Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding: I find there’s nothing more cathartic than listening to Otis sing about wasting time in Frisco when you are putting off writing the many pages you need to complete before you can enjoy Christmas break.
- Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen: This song accomplishes two things: it encourages me to keep working away when I really just want to have a nap and pretend responsibilities do not exist, and it also reminds me how much fun my life will be when I am actually finished my assignments for the term. While I may not be able to comfortably say that I’m “having a good time” while I’m writing, I can still take pleasure in Mr. Mercury’s dulcet tones while I work.
- ***Flawless (Ft. Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche) – Beyoncé: For when you inevitably hit the wall in the middle of the night, you think that you’ll never complete the paper, you should probably just give up, and call it a day. BUT NO! Beyoncé is here to remind you that you are a fierce diva and you should follow your ambitions and passions. She is also there to remind you that even though you will not have slept tomorrow, you will walk into school looking ***flawless.
- Weight of Living, Pt. II – Bastille: This song comes on at the moment when you are deeply questioning the choices that have led you into academia. Not only does is soothe your fears by reminding you that you are going to make it through, but it’s also just a lovely serenade from a British man, and let’s be real that’s never a bad thing.
- Sweatpants – Childish Gambino: This one is for when you feel like you are actually slaying at this whole grad school thing. You aced your seminar, wrote the single best thesis of your whole academic career, or just succeeded by waking up in time for your 8:30 class. It’s the ultimate self-confidence boosting song and as Childish reminds you, “don’t be mad ’cause I’m doing me better than you doing you.”
- The Diamond Church Street Choir – The Gaslight Anthem: Aside from being one of my favourite feel good songs, this song takes a minute to remind you that you took chances by going into grad school but you are trying your hardest out here, and that is an accomplishment in itself.
- Dirty Paws – Of Monsters and Men: Whenever I start feeling lonely from within my fortress of books, I play this song because it reminds me of my best friend. Also it’s some weird metaphor about animals coming together to take down an evil queen. I’m not sure what that has to do with anything, but I like to think that my cohort and I have bonded over our #gradschoolproblems and so that’s the evil queen we’re defeating, or whatever.
- Bulls In Brooklyn – The Academy Is…: This one is for when I need to block out the haters. It’s a really good reminder that we’re all here for a reason and we need to get through this as a cohort or we might not make it out with our sanity.
- I Am A God – Kanye West: This last choice might be a bit controversial, but I promise I have good reasons for including Yeezus on my playlist. First and foremost because I think we should all aspire to one day be “chillin, tryna stack these millions” (a girl can dream right?). Most importantly though, at this time of year, when it’s easy to get down on ourselves, I think it’s extremely important to remember to love ourselves as much as Kanye loves Kanye.