These are the songs that, for me, best describe this whole season of graduating, which is more appropriately a season of transition and change. I think when people warn you about how hard graduating is, they kind of just lead up to that fateful walk across the stage and forget that the hardest part is really the time after. The year leading into "real life" where you can live, work, and love anywhere.
As I opened up the draft to this post, I noticed that I had begun writing it a whole two months ago. This post has been in the back of my head for two months and I'm just now getting around to posting it a mere 19 days prior to graduation. My bad. So I guess there's no point in wasting any more time, is there?
For your listening convenience, this playlist is embedded below!
STOP THIS TRAIN" - JOHN MAYER
The original coming of age song. For me, anyways. Honestly I could hardly pick out any specific lyrics from this song since I think it describes transitions and fear in life perfectly. Which is why it's also the title of this beloved playlist.
"So scared of getting older / I'm only good at being young / So I play the numbers game to find a way to say that life has just begun / Had a talk with my old man / Said, 'Help me understand' / He said, 'Turn 68, you'll renegotiate / Don't stop this train / Don't for a minute change the place you're in / Don't think I couldn't ever understand / I tried my hand / John, honestly, we'll never stop this train'"
"HOLD ON" - SHAWN MENDES
Almost like a sequel to Stop This Train, this song almost like a conversation between Shawn Mendes and his dad, who like Mayer's father, tells him he's been there before.
"And my dad said "Shawn, stay with me / Everything will be alright / I know I haven't seen you lately / But you're always on my mind / I don't know what / You're going through / But there's so much life / Ahead of you / And it won't slow down / No matter what you do / So you just gotta hold on"
"WAITING FOR MY TIME TO COME" - COLONY HOUSE
This is one of the most accurate "graduating" songs yet. It's all about, well, waiting and not rushing into change. Which has got to be the best advice for graduating yet. Also it's just a really relaxing song. It should also be noted that I might as well quote all of the lyrics here since it was really hard to narrow down the best part.
"Oh, it seems so complicated / It feels like hope has faded / When I know It's just the way that we grow / I cannot control, no / I'll wait here when my light is low / I can give a little time for this dream to grow / So I'll wait here when my light is low"
"FOR THE TAKING" - ELENOWEN
Elenowen is one of those bands I always seem to forget about and then when I come back to them, I can't stop listening. I had "For The Taking" on repeat for about a week straight when I found it again and it's definitely one of my favorites on this playlist.
"When there are no words / And everything hurts / This moment's in the making / So keep walking that line / Another step and you'll find / This life is for the taking / So take it now"
"BREAKAWAY" - KELLY CLARKSON
Okay listen, you can't even talk about graduating college without getting nostalgic and Kelly Clarkson is a queen so get ready for a throwback, ya'll.
"I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly / Though it's not easy to tell you goodbye / I gotta take a risk / Take a chance / Make a change / And breakaway / Out of the darkness and into the sun / But I won't forget the place I come from / I gotta take a risk / Take a chance / Make a change / And breakaway"
"THE HOUSE THAT BUILT ME" - MIRANDA LAMBERT
Nostalgia part 2. I get to drive around my "hometown" maybe once a year and see the house I grew up in and I listen to this song every single time. But recently I listened to this song, thought about my time at Lee, and started bawling. Sometimes it feels like I've already left, that this place has begun to move on without me, but I wouldn't trade the past four years at this place for anything. Soon I'm sure I'll find myself driving up and down Ocoee and feeling that same way as I do when I drive past my old house.
"You leave home / You move on / And you do the best you can / I got lost in this old world / And forgot who I am / I thought if I could touch this place or feel it / This brokenness inside me might start healin' / Out here it's like I'm someone else / I thought that maybe I could find myself / If I could walk around I swear I'll leave / Won't take nothing but a memory / From the house that built me"
"UNCHARTED" - SARA BAREILLES
This. Song. If I could label this season of life with a single word, it would be "uncharted". There's no other experience and nothing anyone can say to truly prepare you for what graduating and moving on from school feels like.
"Each day I'm countin' up the minutes till I get alone 'cause I can't stay / In the middle of it all, it's nobody's fault, but I'm / So low, never knew how much I didn't know / Oh everything is uncharted / I know I'm getting nowhere when I only sit and stare like / I'm going down / Follow if you want I won't just hang around, / Like you'll show me where to go / I'm already out of foolproof ideas / So don't ask me how / To get started / It's all uncharted
"HOW FAR I'LL GO" - AULI'I CRAVALHO
Okay make fun of me if you want, but explain to me how this song doesn't fit.
"I can lead with pride / I can make us strong / I'll be satisfied if I play along / But the voice inside sings a different song / What is wrong with me? / See the light as it shines on the sea? / It's blinding / But no one knows how deep it goes / And it seems like it's calling out to me / So come find me / And let me know / What's beyond that line / Will I cross that line?"
"THIS BEAUTIFUL LIFE" - COLONY HOUSE
Anyone who knows me knows Colony House is my favorite band. Which is why they earned not one, but two songs on this playlist. And of course, this is another song that I want to quote all of the lyrics. See also: A lot of Christian themes in this song.
"Well maybe I'm a part of something that's bigger than me / Like I'm a page in a book in a library / And inside my heart there's a dying part that's always searching / Because I know that there's a place where I belong / All that I know / All that I see / All that I feel / Inside of me / All that I've done / All that I've tried / There must be more / To this wonderful, terrible, beautiful life"
"FEAR" - BEN RECTOR
Because you always wanna end of a happy note! And let me tell you, I will dance to this song any time, any place. This song feels like taking a deep breath every time. It's honest, it's fun, and it's a change in pace from the more slow songs on this playlist.
"I've been scared to death of failing / Scared that I'd look like a fool / And I'd rather quit than risk that I could lose / Now I'm not proud of that position / But it's the hand that I've been dealt / And as far as I'm concerned that hand can go to hell"