As a new year and semester begin, some students will find themselves embarking on the title all college students are striving for – second-semester senior. This title means going out on any random weeknight because “I’m a senior dude” and only writing four pages for your five-page research report because “it’s our last semester, what are they going to do, fail me?” (The answer to that one is yes; they really can fail you).
While it may seem like all fun and games at the beginning of January, take it from someone who has been there, it’s a rollercoaster of a few months. Looking back on my experience, there is a lot I wish I had known about how it would all play out, so here is what I learned, but set to music.
Coming Back to Campus After Winter Break: Good As Hell – Lizzo
It’s 2020. I couldn’t resist putting a Lizzo song on this list. But truly the feeling when you return from winter break is the best. You’re reunited with your friends, you’ve left the rules of being back at your parents’ house behind and you’re a senior, the top of the college food chain.
It’s time to make a bucket list, plan a few parties and once in a while, do that thing called “going to class.” Hopefully, your workload is light and at this point, capstone is still the last thing on your mind. With an upbeat tempo and lyrics, you can scream if you’re at a welcome back party, driving back to campus or reuniting with your friends. Lizzo captures your exact feelings.
Waking Up for the First Day of Class: Up All Night – Khalid
This song applies to the dreaded day back in many ways: 1. You’ve probably been up all night every day since you arrived back on campus, including the night before classes. 2. You’re looking at the amount of work on your capstone syllabus and thinking about the number of all-nighters’ you will end up pulling.
This R&B style jam has enough energy to get you moving to class in the morning, without damaging the fragile state you are in when you wake up for that 8 a.m.
That First Friday Night After Classes Start: I Love College – Asher Roth
If you’re talking about a playlist relating to college, this song has to make an appearance. It’s the first Friday everyone is back on campus, parties are to be thrown and syllabuses tossed to the side for the next week (after completing all of your introduction discussions that is). You’re feeling on top of the world, surrounded by friends with responsibilities still low.
With a beat, you can nod your head to and lyrics nearly every college senior knows, this is the perfect song to celebrate these beginning of the semester moments of complete freedom.
When the First Deadline Arrives: Stressed Out – Rex Orange County
Whether it’s for a paper, project or exam, the first deadline is never a good feeling. This song explores what it’s like to feel that others are taking advantage of your time, talents and opportunities, much like how you may feel your assignments are taking over your life.
Remember to take a deep breath, listen to some calm music, break work into manageable sessions and prioritize your time. Your professors really aren’t just trying to “kill your vibe,” they’re preparing you for the future of your career, which isn’t as far away as you think.
When You Hop off the Plane at Your Spring Break Destination: Don’t Stop Me Now - Queen
This week is pretty self-explanatory but make the most of it. The rest of the semester is going to look like job applications and nights of capstone research. This week you will feel alive, have so much fun and never want it to end. Soak it in.
When People Start Asking About Post-Undergrad Plans: I’m Just a Kid – Simple Plan
You’ve endured the holiday season, sitting around tables with your distant relatives who keep asking if you have a job yet. However, the questioning isn’t over just because you’re back at school. Professors, friends, distant relatives on Facebook and more will start asking as graduation day draws nearer.
At first immediate dread might set in, I mean you’re only 21/22 how are you supposed to know what to do next? Don’t worry; you’ll get there. In the meantime, turn on this throwback jam you probably used to scream in middle school when your mom sent you to your room.
The Moment You Apply to Graduate: thank u, next – Ariana Grande
It’s the moment every senior will post on their Snapchat Story (alright... I did it too), clicking “submit” on their graduation application. It’s a really weird feeling of moving on, but it also makes you feel powerful thinking you’re on to bigger and better… even if you don’t know what “bigger and better” is yet.
While Ariana may be talking about an ex-lover, this song is really about moving on and being thankful for what past experiences have taught us. In the moment of clicking “submit,” take a second to reflect on how your undergraduate experience has prepared you for the great unknown that is the rest of your life.
Applying to Your First Job:
Take A Chance On Me - Abba
Submitting your resume and filling out countless forms may seem like a daunting experience, but it’ll be worth it once you land your dream job or the job that is a step toward your dream job. It can be stressful doing interview after interview, but eventually, you will convince someone to “take a chance” on you and your skills. You’re a college graduate, almost, you know what to do! Talk about your experiences, your course and your qualifications will shine through.
Three Days Before Your Capstone is Due: I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes) – The 1975
Capstone is HARD, and it’s meant to be that way for a good reason. Capstone is quite literally the summary of everything you have learned in the last four years. These nights will be long, maybe never-ending, and might still not feel like enough time to finish your work. If it’s a group project, this is about the time where someone flakes out on something really important, the sky feels like its falling and all you want to do is sleep.
TAKE A BREATH. You can do this! You’ve been preparing for this for four years; you know exactly what you’re doing. Throw on some jams, take a drive and scream to your favorite songs and don’t forget to sleep for a few hours a day.
The Moment You Turn Your Capstone In: It’s Funny Not To Care – Lake Street Dive
At some point, you have to turn in your capstone project no matter how you feel about it. It’s simultaneously the most stressful and most relieving moment of your senior year. You might be worried as you hit send, drop off the final project or make your presentation, but once it’s over, you’ll be so relieved.
This song is a mellow jam about how calming the sensation of letting go of things is. Let true relaxation take over once you’ve completed your final project. Take a day to practice self-care and reflect on all you’ve just accomplished.
Securing Your First Job/Graduate School Admission: Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours) – Stevie Wonder
Once that offer hits your voicemail or email inbox, the overwhelming fear of the “great unknown” of life after college is calmed. You’ve found something to belong to, sign and seal that offer and here’s to the next phase of your life!
Graduation Day: (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes
It’s the big day. You have your nicest outfit on, cap and gown in place and your whole family has flooded into your college town to watch you walk across the stage. Take in these last few moments surrounded by all of your “college friends.” Some of you may move to new places together, some may stay put for graduate school, others may move far away, but all of you will have the memories of these past four years to share.
Congratulations, you’re a college graduate! Here’s to the “Rest of the Best” of
Rest Of The Best – Micky James & DREAMERS
Emily Zekonis ( @EmilyZekonis) is a first-year graduate student studying Integrated Marketing Communications with an Area of Emphasis in Management. She is from the Philadelphia area of Pennsylvania and holds a B.S.J. in Strategic Communications with an area of emphasis in Public Relations from West Virginia University. Follow along with her graduate adventures on the Marketing Communications Today Blog.Subscribe to Marketing Communications Today