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A photo illustration of Maya Risner, freshman at Ohio Univeristy studying while listening to music at Ohio University in Athens Ohio, Sept.17, 2023

Bobcats find motivation in music

Around Ohio University, it's easy to find a student walking with headphones in on their way to class. With how hectic college life can be, many of these students have started to rely on music to get them through their days, inspiring them to stay motivated.

With how accessible music is now, one has to wonder what music Bobcats are listening to, as well as how their passion for music stems from their personal lives.

Maya Del Valle, a junior studying sociology and criminology, said she loves jamming out to Hannah Montana songs daily because of their high energy.

"I play my throwback playlist," Del Valle said. "Whenever 'Rock Star' comes on by Hannah Montana I'm just going crazy. Like, nobody knows what I'm listening to and I'm just walking around. It's really funny to me."

With her noise-canceling headphones, Del Valle finds it relaxing to listen to her own music, especially before class or when doing her schoolwork. She also enjoys listening to rap music as well, and any other genre that is lively.

"I think by having your own type of music that you listen to, it's really nice to have because everyone is different," Del Valle said. "Music is really calming for me, for my anxiety. It helps a lot if you're stressed, but especially for me if I'm stressed I just resort back to putting in AirPods or blasting music because that's just how my brain is."

Meanwhile, students also see listening to music as a form of escapism, leading them to new destinations within their imagination. In particular, Ella Franks, a sophomore studying visual communications and music production and recording industry, said as soon as she puts her music on, she is able to romanticize her college life.

"It makes me feel more excited to go to a destination," Franks said. "I will listen to music even if I just am walking outside of my dorm five steps to take the trash out. It's corny to say, but it makes you feel like (you're) in this movie and it makes you romanticize your surroundings a lot."

Franks recently joined a student band known as Split, which is another way music has impacted her routine. Her band practices are one of the things she looks forward to the most during the week.

"As someone who's recently joined a band, that's been something to look forward to the practices for that," Franks said. "It's always a constant in my life because I'm a music major too, so that helps."

Like Del Valle, Franks also has particular artists she enjoys, including The Smashing Pumpkins, MGMT, Tame Impala, Nirvana and Alanis Morissette. Recently, Morisette has become an artist she listens to almost every day.

"Right now, it's been a lot of Alanis Morissette because I think she's really captured the angry girl of emotions," she said. "If I'm ever feeling frustrated with classwork, she is really good at capturing that emotion. It makes me really channel that through her music."

Adam Ward, a junior studying journalism, said that his favorite artists span from Drake to old-school hip-hop. He finds that listening to music helps pass the time, providing a calming background.

"I think I'm somebody who likes to play music in the background while I do stuff," Ward said. "Whether it's writing an article when I was at home, or if I have schoolwork and I'm trying to throw on some music depending on what type of vibe I want, I think it's just always a great background to put on and keep me focused."

Among all these students, music has become a staple in their lives in Athens, acting as a stimulant that results in less stress, more focus and a positive attitude.

"It's always going to be there at any time, like there's a song for everything," Franks said. "There's a song for every emotion, for every phase of life, and it's always going to be there to help you if you don't have anything else." 

Whether it's Hannah Montana, Alanis Morisette or Drake, students have found artists to connect with and an outlet to project their emotions onto, improving their overall college experience at OU.


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