Draped in Introspection: To Get to This Moment


It has finally happened. We are back to in-person classes, and aside from vaccination status and masks, everything feels pretty normal. It’s strange to finally return to campus as a junior. Campus feels familiar, but in a I-remember-this-from-when-I-was-18-but-now-I’m-20 way. As I walk from class to class, I keep finding myself listening to the same songs I was obsessed with during my freshman year. Every verse is like a time capsule, the only difference is I am walking past two classes of students that I have never seen before. 

My freshman year was a time of discovery; new friends, interests, realizing some of the things I liked in high school I didn’t like anymore, and taking the time to develop my music taste. The first band I “discovered” during freshman fall was Beach Bunny. My friend Mallory introduced me to them, and their music became the soundtrack to our early-college forays. Still, even as I write this while listening to Beach Bunny, I can feel the crisp early fall air and smell the perfume I used at the time. Beach Bunny’s song “6 Weeks” is the best way to begin this playlist. The lyrics echo “can we go back // can we go back // can we go back”. I don’t want to go back in time to freshman year, but a part of me misses my 18-year-old blind optimism. I’m still optimistic but more cautiously so. 

The next song on the freshman-flashback playlist is from Kacey Musgraves. I listened to Kacey Musgraves’ phenomenal album Golden Hour so often freshman year that now whenever I hear the opening notes of “Oh What a World”, I feel the same energy of me learning to fall in love with adulthood and independence. In February, I get to see Kacey Musgraves perform live with one of my best friends, John. “Oh, what a world” is an accurate sentiment. 

After “Oh What a World,” I want to keep the optimistic vibes going with a song from another artist I’m going to see live with friends this fall, Dayglow. Dayglow’s “Can I Call You Tonight” echoes the same cautious optimism as Beach Bunny. The dream-pop style of Dayglow is comforting and reminds me of waking up for my 8 A.M. economics discussion and attempting to get my head out of the Thursday-night headspace. 

To conclude this playlist, I have Phoebe Bridgers’ “Graceland Too”. Phoebe Bridgers’ music has shaped my college experience and also matched words to my feelings. I was supposed to see her in D.C. with my group of friends, but the Delta variant interrupted Phoebe’s plans. Graceland Too is another one of my favorite songs, especially the line, “Said she knows she’ll live through it to get to this moment.” I waited so long to get to this point in my life. Now, as a junior looking back on my freshman self, I see that I lived through it all to get to the point in my life where I genuinely feel like I know myself. It is a good feeling.

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