*Play while reading blog post for maximum emotion.*
It’s that time of year — when “Class of 20–” is written sloppily in marker on car windows and your family and friends are taking bets on whether or not the girl with her graduation cap on inside Olive Garden is graduating from college or high school.
This year, I graduated college (granted, 1 year early, but still). On May 14th, I graduated from the School of Communication & Information, but I technically didn’t officially graduate from Rutgers University until Sunday, May 17th, which was University commencement (see: sweaty legs, hat hair, and Bill Nye). As you can only imagine, this is a huge transition in my life — I leave the friends I began this epic journey with, I don’t get to see my best friends every day (and, well, pretty much every second), and I have to live back home again (love ya, mom and dad!). Every other day and sometimes spontaneously, a close friend will get extremely sentimental or will even start to cry. But me? I haven’t had the luxury of being able to express my emotions through a good ol’ cry sesh (have I ever?).
Music is extremely nostalgic to me. Like most people, listening to a song can bring me back to a specific time, place, memory, feeling. I can listen to Blink-182 or Yellowcard and be transported immediately back to my Laguna Beach-loving days. I can listen to The Lumineers or Taylor Swift’s Red album and be sitting in my freshman year dorm again. In other words, music makes me sensey (see: soft, emotional, vulnerable).
Every graduating class has songs tied to its era. My brother’s generation way back when was all about “Graduation (Friends Forever)” by Vitamin C, and, honestly, that song still manages to choke me up – and THAT is really saying something. Around the 2000s/my sister’s era of graduating from high school and then college shortly after was a mix of some of the best nostalgic songs: Michelle Branch’s “Goodbye to You” (SO good), Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance” (daaww), Eve6’s “Here’s to the Night” (tears everywhere), and Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” (okay, maybe not this one).
My official 8th grade graduation song was “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts (cheesy, but it did the job and made me cry). Our unofficial grammar school song was Boys Like Girls’ “The Great Escape” because I’m sure at the time we felt like rebellious, independent tweens ready to take on new hallways aka high school. For high school, we never had an official graduation song, but Fun.’s “We Are Young” pretty much summed up my high school years. The song is fun (lol) and carefree, but not quite as reckless as it could be (ahem, college) — much like how high school was.
This year, though, I noticed there’s not one or two specific songs that sum up my college career. Instead, I find myself thinking of different songs that are associated with memories — DJ Snake’s “Turn Down for What” (and, really, anything DJ Snake) will always remind me of how he came to Rutgers for our Spring 2014 concert, Vampire Weekend’s “Step” makes me remember studying for finals with my very first best friends at Rutgers, Ke$ha’s “Die Young” reminds me of getting ready for football games and parties with my fellow Thot Cave members (also known as apartment mates), Oliver Heldens’ “Gecko (Overdrive)” brings me back to going to Miami/Ultra this year with good friends, Alesso’s “Heroes” makes me tear up a little because it makes me think of standing on my feet for a straight 30 hours with my best friends to support children with cancer through Dance Marathon, and St. Lucia’s “Elevate” transports me back to sunny Coachella with my sister. There’s no song that represents my college experience, but rather a cluster. I’ve had so many unique memories and experiences that no one song does my time “on the banks” justice. And now I’m getting flustered because I’m starting to get emotional, but it’s true- my days at Rutgers deserve more than just a sappy generational song or two; they deserve an entire freakin’ series of songs — Vol. 1, Vol. 2, AND Vol. 3 — to capture all the hilarious, stressful, turntiest (see: drunk, tipsy, wasted) adventures I’ve had in college.
But, I mean, if you really want a generational graduation song, how about Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s “See You Again” (bawling only because of Paul Walker)?