The first round of midterms has come and gone, and in its place, a whole new realm of stress and assignments has emerged. Now is the time to find yourself living in Lau, surrounded by mountains of books, losing count of how many coffees you’ve purchased from Midnight MUG. When your eyelids begin to droop and you begin to reconsider your full schedule, never fear: this playlist offers the keys to staying wide awake until the final page of your textbook, even without the (extra) caffeine.
- “Ode to Sleep” — twentyonepilots
The title of this song might sound a bit ironic, but the lyrics of the song itself provide a deeper meaning to sleep deprivation (“I stay awake / because the dark’s not taking prisoners tonight”). The song alternates between fast, high-energy rap and a more soothing refrain, a balance that will keep you awake while lowering your stress.
- “Crazy=Genius” — Panic! At the Disco
You’re bound to feel at least a little bit crazy at some point during your late-night study sesh — either as a rational consideration of how you should be trying to sleep, or outright delirium from too many all-nighters in a row. Either way, this song will remind you that crazy isn’t a bad thing: it might actually be a form of genius greater than the calculus you’re struggling with.
- “All Star” — Smash Mouth
“All Star” is one of the most famous and quintessential motivational songs, and this list would be incomplete without it. Steve Harwell sings with a positive, personable, and casual tone, and the simplicity contributes to the song’s timelessness. This song is the next best thing to having your best friend sit beside you and remind you of how awesome you are.
- “Hash Pipe” — Weezer
The song opens with a powerful, fast-paced guitar rhythm, elevating your heart rate with distortion that is impossible to sleep through. Once you’re in the zone, you can overcome any challenge: no sleep, no problems. Over time, you’ll develop the confidence expressed in this song: “come on and kick me.”
- “Float On” — Modest Mouse
Sometimes, you just need to take a deep breath and reassure yourself. “Float On” layers a calm, predictable melody over a steady, percussive beat, forming a reliable continuum that mirrors the song’s message: “we’ll float on, good news is on the way.”
- “Ways to Go” — Grouplove
The quick beats and major tones of this song are guaranteed to boost your mood. The lyrics describe excitement despite a present struggle, transitioning from “Been working like a dog” to “Don’t want to sleep tonight / You’ve got me feeling right.” Even if you have a ways to go before your work is done, you can enjoy the present moment as you listen to Grouplove.
- “Welcome to the Black Parade” — My Chemical Romance
This song is the ultimate anthem of perseverance, beginning with calm, minor tones that give way to a loud and determined battle cry: “Though you try, you’ll never break me.” The steady transition is the perfect bridge to transition your mood from exhausted to enthusiastic, with the bonus of My Chemical Romance’s signature rebellious undertone.
- “Hard Day’s Night” — The Beatles
The work may seem endless, but you will get through it eventually: think about how great it will be to relax once you’ve made it. The Beatles provide an excellent reminder of the light at the end of the tunnel.
- “Victorious” — Panic! At the Disco
Alternating a higher-pitched celebratory chorus with a melodic, dignified bridge and verse, this is the ultimate song for finding a reason to celebrate after a struggle. Never forget to treasure that moment when you finally finish that huge project, read the last page in your textbook, or just survive a full day of classes at the end of the week. As overwhelming as your workload may seem, taking time to celebrate your small victories will remind you of just how much you’re capable of — and will help you work past your failures, too.