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Step: Runway-worthy Songs for Your Walk to Class, by Megan Harrison

Walking to class becomes 10 times harder in the colder months.

The clocks change, the sun sets at 5 p.m., and the mornings bring freezing temperatures and a seeming impossibility to get out of bed. It’s hard to walk everywhere when the weather is basically telling us not to.

I’ve become increasingly familiar with this phenomenon over the years and quickly discovered that the music I play while I walk has an effect on how I feel. So I’ve curated a playlist of songs that not only motivate me but also match my steps with their BPM and tempo. They greatly range in genres (as my music taste often does) and come from many avenues, but all carry a beat that makes me feel like I can conquer the world.

If a long walk from end to end of campus awaits you in the future, I hope these recommendations will help you enjoy the steps you take, no matter the weather.

Poker Face - Lady Gaga (2008)

This song, like many others in Gaga’s discography, makes me feel like I’m in a movie. Yes, it’s in large part because of its spectacular inclusion in the Lotus Casino scene in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010), but nothing makes me feel more ready to take on the day than this song. I always love how the intro effortlessly fades into the distinct beat. “Poker Face” is also a great choice because it’s a classic: Knowing the words while you walk to the beat can be a great motivator.

This next choice is an ode to Stranger Things season four’s release this past summer. I’ve always been a fan of the show and its soundtrack, but this most recent season made me see the show in an entirely different light. Max Mayfield, played by Sadie Sink, is my favorite character, meaning that the use of this song as her anthem changed my life. The song itself is a perfect example of how music can change your mood in seconds. The opening arrangement and vocal layering combine to create a steady pace. Whether you are legitimately walking up a hill (or not), this song offers a calm voice that reassures listeners that we can accomplish any feat we are looking to overpower.

Nate Growing Up - Labrinth (2019)

Euphoria took HBO by storm in 2019, and the first season’s soundtrack is undeniably the best. I hadn’t followed Labrinth’s music much before the show’s release, but I immediately became a fan once I heard this song for the first time. Not only does it match the pace of a brisk walk, but it allows you to close your eyes and picture yourself as a character walking through a movie set. The echoing vocals in a quiet interlude transition to a musical sequence that gives me chills each time I listen to it. This song packs the most punch from the soundtrack and makes me feel like the toughest and strongest version of myself.

The Way I Are - Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson, D.O.E (2007)

A large amount of my favorite music falls in the 2000s hip-hop and R&B genre, and this song highlights it perfectly. Growing up on Timbaland and Justin Timberlake makes me a little biased, but this song is my favorite addition to any “hot girl walk” playlist. The intro’s isolated remix is an incredible segue into a beat that flows through your entire body, producing even more force in every step you take. Whether I’m on the treadmill or walking to Upham for an early morning class, this song makes me feel like I’m on the dance floor. Having a song to groove to while you walk is crucial for a mood boost.

The weather and the lack of sunlight easily contribute to my motivation’s fluctuation, but this collection of songs helps me walk my way out of a rut and enjoy these walks on campus once again. I hope that it can do the same for you.

You can listen to a playlist with these songs here!

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