Three Songs to Get You Through Grad School (or anything that you often want to quit)

The soundtrack to my life is widely varied, encompassing everything from 80s favorites to Broadway hits to Common and Old Crow Medicine Show.  Different music obviously fits different settings, but the most common type of songs I’ve needed to listen to in grad school (when I’m frustrated to tears, feeling like I should have left with the Master’s degree about three and a half years ago) are equal parts inspirational and good to cry along with.  Here are three of my grad school survival favorites (the links will take you to youtube versions):

1. Timshel, Mumford & Sons:  sweet acoustic guitar/banjo and perfect harmonies make this one at once validating and encouraging.  Many a time, this song has come on in the car and I find myself crying and then taking a deep calming breath, convinced that I am “not alone in this.”  When Hubs and I saw Mumford & Sons at the Ryman this spring, they stood at the front of the stage in a semi circle and sang this (almost) a cappella.  Incredible.

2. Be Here Now, Ray LaMontagne:  ethereal strings and quiet guitar make this one a perfect cry along song.  I woke up to this song the entire first semester of grad school and all the stuff that was hard about that makes Be Here Now very cathartic for me.  I listened to it a whole bunch before I really heard the lyrics, but since then the song isn’t solely cathartic, it’s also a reminder that “inside you there’s a strength that lies.”

3. Go the Distance, sung by Roger Bart from Disney’s Hercules (not the Michael Bolton version):  combine the soaring French horn (gosh, I love heroic French horn music) with the lyrics and you really can’t go wrong with Go the Distance.  Cry along with Hercules at the beginning when he “has often dreamed” and then feel convinced that “every mile will be worth [your] while” in the end.  I recently had a period of three weeks where I put only this song on my iPod Shuffle, so I could listen to it over and over.

What songs get you through?

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