Before going into my sophomore year, I didn’t know what to expect. I was nervous about living in a new place, being apart from my college friends for so long and my incoming classes. During this time, I wish I would have had a few songs in particular to get me through this fresh wave of change, especially looking back at the beginning of the year.
Now almost a rising junior, here are a few songs I wish I would have known before entering my sophomore year of college:
There’s a lot of moments you have during your sophomore year where you just feel lost, especially transitioning from what you were used to your freshman year. With a new schedule, I felt like I didn’t have time to see my friends from the year before, nor hang out with new people, and “circle the drain” by Soccer Mommy was a song I found during this time that allowed me to feel seen in a way. It’s a song all about feeling stuck in your head, not knowing how to escape from your inner thoughts of loneliness and sadness. Yet, it embraces these feelings in the end, as they’re all ones you feel at certain turning points in your life, which is for sure sophomore year.
Even though “Glory” by Snail Mail is a breakup song, and luckily I did not experience a breakup before or during my sophomore year, it still is a great track to listen to when you are feeling angry. There were definitely moments of anger and frustration throughout my sophomore year, most likely because of my packed schedule and new adjustments. As Snail Mail says, “You want it all / Superstar,” that’s exactly the rabbit hole I fell down this year, wanting to be the best at everything I involved myself in. However, discovering this song earlier in my sophomore year helped me escape from a lot of that self-doubt, which is why I think anyone going into this year of college needs to listen to it.
“$20” by boygenius is just an incredible song on its own without tying in any personal connections to it, but it also has a very empowering and wistful tone. Reminiscing on the easier days of their adolescence, this trio unleashes their feelings of nostalgia, stress and eagerness for what’s next, which is why I’ve resonated with it a lot towards the end of my sophomore year. There’s always instances during this year in college when you’re unsure of your future, especially when everyone older than you is getting ready to take on major internships and jobs. It creates a sense of inferiority, which boygenius can easily cure as they scream “I know you have $20.”
While I had no clue who Lola Young was before my sophomore year, her vocals on “Don’t Hate Me” truly memorized me for their perfect encapsulation of regret and anger. Yes, it may sound like I had a lot of pent up anger from this school year, but it was not intentional. Going into your sophomore year, you expect a lot of things to stay the same, but they don’t, and that’s what made me so angry. I was angry that I couldn’t return to the same normal routine with my friends and significant other, and I think this song just understood me at this time. Although it’s a song about unrequited love, you can feel Young’s pain, which is what makes it so relatable for a 20-year-old college student.
“Big Man, Little Dignity” by Paramore dropped in early February, becoming one of my favorite songs to close out my sophomore year. This song details the frustration lead singer Hayley Williams has felt in her relationships with men, angered by their ignorance and lack of sensibility. There are always people you meet in college that enable this sense of anger, and I found myself internalizing a lot of what others thought of me a good portion of this year. Yet, without knowing this song, I believe there wouldn’t have been any sense of closure for me, and Paramore’s lyricism and instrumentation truly stuck with me, helping me feel like I wasn’t alone in these feelings.