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A Music Enthusiast’s Playlist for Pushing Through the Chaos, by Heather Rolfert

The last few weeks of the semester are finally in your reach. However exciting that may be for you, it can also be a time when the stress piles up, wobbling back and forth over you as if you’re placing the last piece in Jenga. Final exams, creative projects, and presentations keep you up all night. The ideas stored in your mind quickly morph into fears for what’s to come.


Don’t give up. Not now. Not when the end is near.


But how can you keep pushing through? The answer is simple: music.


Whether you need inspiration or just a push in the right direction, this playlist covers all of those requirements. The beginning playlist for earlier in the semester included a lot of heartfelt songs, but this final playlist is different.


Heartfelt is the past. Dauntless is the future.


Songs for Creative Inspiration


Glass Animals’ I Don’t Wanna Talk (I Just Wanna Dance)

Do you find yourself staring at the keyboard unsure of what to type? Do you even know where to begin with your final essay or creative project? Then this get-up-and-dance Glass Animals song is the perfect cure for that irritating writer’s block. You may be sitting in a place where dancing is not an option, but you might still find your fingers flying across the keyboard to the beat of this song. Don’t let yourself think about what’s happening. It’s best to let the music wash over you. When the song finishes, what you see may surprise you. You might find out that you now have the entire beginning of your essay, the first few lines of your story, or even an outline for your final presentation. It’s clear now that “I Don’t Wanna Talk (I Just Wanna Dance)” can be the key to opening up your mind from the chaos of everything else.


Melanie Martinez’s Mad Hatter

Are you worrying that your final project ideas are way too out there to be turned into something presentable? Are you afraid that the final draft of your essay might just not resonate with everyone else who reads it? Then Melanie Martinez’s twisted song based on Alice in Wonderland may happen to be the song that lets your mind know that crazy can actually be good. This song echoes Lewis Caroll’s words by saying, “So what if I'm crazy? The best people are. All the best people are crazy.” So, embrace your most outlandish ideas while listening to this song. Don’t immediately reject the idea of a vampire using a samurai sword if the odds and ends don’t add up. Work with that idea, but never let yourself forget that the idea is completely absurd. It’s those thoughts that will allow your idea to end up being the best thing you have ever written.


Panic! At The Disco’s Victorious

Are you in need of the reassurance that you're turning in an essay or project that best represents your skills? Do you need someone to tell you that “You’ve got this. I’ve got faith in you.”? You might just want to listen to Panic! At the Disco’s “Victorious” as you’re getting ready to hit the submit button, turning in that final project that has had you on edge for weeks. It’s great knowing that you’re almost done with a project, but it’s scary knowing that you’re about to hand over your work to be judged. Sometimes you just need to hear someone cheering you on. You need to hear the valuable words: “Tonight we are victorious. Champagne pouring over us. All my friends we're glorious. Tonight we are victorious.” It may seem insignificant, but the small amounts of encouragement add up. Sometimes it’s enough to guide your trembling hand to click that submit button without fear.


Songs for the Final Exam


Set It Off’s Partners in Crime

Do you find yourself staring at the notes in front of you wishing that you could just be done with the exam? Do you need help with that last obstacle? Set It Off’s “Partners in Crime” is the song you didn’t know was necessary until now for pushing you in the right direction. Take a break from studying. Go find your friend, your roommate, or even a classmate and beg them to help you study. Tell them that you two can make flashcards while they quiz you on them, play the study games that the wonderful world of the internet offers, or have them just resort to asking you questions about the content you need to know. Let yourself enjoy this new type of studying while also being conscious of how much time you have left to study before you're sitting in the classroom with the exam staring at you from your computer.


No Doubt’s Just a Girl

Are you feeling like you aren’t going to do well on the final exam? Are you worrying that your studying will be for nothing? Then you might want to look into this sarcastic, take-no-more-nonsense song by No Doubt. If anything could push you through the weariness of having to study when summer is beckoning you from outside, it’s this song. With a beat that makes you tap your feet, you might begin to see that you have let studying triumph over you. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and let the words wash over you: “Oh, I've had it up to here. Oh, am I making myself clear?” It’s time that you look at your notes, and tell them to take a message back for you to the final exam. It’s time that you let the final exam know how things are going to work: “Listen here, exam. I’m not going to let my fear of you determine how well I do. I’ve had it with you being in control of me.”

The Black Keys’ Wild Child

Do you find yourself sitting in silence with no idea of how to go about studying? Are you becoming so frustrated that you just want to give up on the exam looming in front of you? Then you’re in luck. The Black Keys' catchy song, “Wild Child,” is the perfect match for you. As soon as you hear this song for the first time, you’ll never be able to get it out of your head. You’ll catch yourself singing the chorus even when you aren’t consciously thinking about the song. Let the catchiness of the song surround you. Let the beat swallow you whole for a few minutes. Don’t keep yourself from listening to this song as many times as you need to until you have a plan for your upcoming study session. It may seem “wild,” but this song might just be the key you needed all along for effective final exam studying.


Songs for the Final Push


Muse’s Won’t Stand Down


Are you just completely burnt out? Do you have no amount of energy left to make it through the last few weeks? Then it sounds like you should probably listen to a song that will boost your inner fighting spirit. Try Muse’s “Won’t Stand Down.” You won’t regret it when all of the weariness in your bones rushes out to escape the fire hurtling into you. This song slams into you. This song forces you to keep going. This song makes you want to listen to it on repeat. There are no soft nudges in the right direction when you make this song a constant on your playlist. Be prepared for a wild listening experience each time that leaves you with no choice but to look ahead and keep running forward. Pretty soon you’ll realize that these forceful words have become a part of you. You'll understand that you “won't stand down” because you’re “growing stronger” and triumphing over whatever source took all your energy away.


Paramore’s Ignorance

Do you still need a final push to make it through the last day of finals? Are you hoping that your wish comes in the form of this last song on the playlist? Then you’ll be happy to know that Paramore’s “Ignorance” is the right song for that. This fast-beat and anger-filled song is enough to slap you awake. It’s enough to push you through the last few exhausting weeks of the semester. It’s enough to keep you from wanting to let the semester win. Don’t fight against the pressure of this song. Let the anthem of moving on keep pushing you forward, day after day, until you reach the end. Before you know it, you’ll be looking back at the semester and telling it, “Well, it's nice to meet you, sir. I guess I'll go. I'd best be on my way out.” Who knew you’d be the one winning against the semester?


Hopefully this spunky playlist keeps you company for the remainder of the semester. Just remember that these songs only offer you a small taste of the many energetic and forceful songs that you can find. If one song on this playlist appeals to you, make sure you open up your mind to the recommended songs that may pop up on your YouTube or Spotify. You never know what you may find. You might just happen to discover a song that becomes your chaos buddy for the rest of the semester.

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