Opinion | Recollect your college years through music

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Faith Losbanes

By Tommy Block, Senior Columnist

Socrates once said, “an unexamined life is not worth living.” Obviously, the guy never had to endure piano lessons or middle school dances, since that quote would otherwise sound more like, “Step on the gas, and don’t look back.”

Oh, but how emphatically do we heed his advice! We practically consume nostalgia right out of the jar! I am just as guilty as any one of you, dear reader. Upon being informed that my senior year — along with thousands of others — had come to an abrupt close, I took a long pause, contemplating how to conclude my college career like the charming ’80s movie it was always meant to invoke.

On a whim, I put on the Stereolab album I had so religiously listened to during my first days in Snyder Hall. The colorless walls and rusty odor came back to me so vividly that it was … magical, I suppose?

If you are a senior in similar emotional disarray and have found yourself scrambling to unearth some memories for a quick and easy poetic ending, I’d recommend turning to the music in your life. Make a playlist that starts from your freshman orientation and runs right up to the moment when you walk across the sta — I mean, when you get your diploma in the mail.

If anything else, popular music does a really good job of capturing the zeitgeist of its time of release. Remember when the video for Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” dominated online discourse for the better part of a month? Or when “A Star Is Born” scored a hit single off its soundtrack? Or when Kanye managed to cram the phrase “scoop-diddy-whoop” into one of his songs?

Of course, the beauty of your college playlist is that it can be tailored to your experiences. Who would ever have guessed that “The Promise” by When in Rome would remind me so intensely of Sunday brunches at the Ike? Good novelists know that the more the characters change over the course of the story, the more entertaining it is. Fittingly, I am tickled pink when I hear that song and recall how I can no longer sustainably subject my body to hash browns, though I’m sure your past fours years will contain more meaningful developments.

Above all, this playlist is meant for reminiscence. Though it seems like ages ago, there was a time when GEO strikes, cold days and bigoted bus companies were the stuff of groundbreaking news. In between, there were normal days. Don’t let current circumstances keep you from being proud of what you’ve accomplished, glad for who you’ve met and thankful for some good tunes.

Tommy is a junior in Engineering.

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