Playlist: Motivation for Midterms

by Lydia Felty ’17

Let’s face it: most of us are beat. The past week has illuminated just how incredibly little we’ve read this semester, we’re digging through backpacks and drawers in an earnest attempt to find the crumpled up notes that have to be somewhere, and anything is so much more interesting than the studying we’re supposed to be doing. I, for one, have taken to finding excuses to use Photoshop and am usually blaring music in an attempt to work up the courage to study. Because I’m such a nice person (and not at all because I’m trying to procrastinate), I have attempted to compile the perfect motivational playlist for you kind folks. In order to compose the the most inclusive list (and find an excuse to socialize), I asked friends what they listen to for inspiration before adding in my own picks. Whether the music will be a pre-study motivator or the background to a battle against coursework, I hope this playlist will provide a spark of inspiration to help get you through the last days until break.


  1. “The Medallion Calls” — Hans Zimmer and Klaus Badelt
    “The Medallion” here is a euphemism for homework. It calls. Go do it. This song will help.
  2. “The Battle” — Harry Gregson-Williams
    This song will help too, as it reminds each student of the greater cause: Narnia . . . and Aslan.
  3. “Tubthumping” — Chumbawamba
    In the words of Chumbawamba, “I get knocked down, but I get up again.” Come at me, midterms.
  4. “Problem” — Ariana Grande (feat. Iggy Azalea)
    As midterms do indeed come at me, I like to focus on the future, remembering that every page written is just one step closer to spring break. Who cares that the song isn’t about homework? I’ll take it there anyway.
  5. “All of the Lights” — Kanye West (feat. Rihanna)
    Although this song is also (debatably) not about homework, it’s still useful for studying. In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that I’ve written several papers to nothing but this on repeat. If I play it loud enough, it’s easy to block out the words and just write to the beat of the music until the wee hours of the morning.
  6. “Blank Space” — Taylor Swift
    Will the sleep-deprived high be worth the pain? It remains unclear. All I know is that I’ve got a long list of dumb papers that might make me insane.
  7. “Girl on Fire” — Alicia Keys
    Sometimes to push through the insanity, you just need to be told you’re on fire as a reminder that you can do anything.
  8. “Lip Gloss” — Lil Mama
    And sometimes you just need to know that your lip gloss is poppin’. If you’ve got that down, maybe you don’t even need school.
  9. “All Star” — Smash Mouth
    No, strike that. You’re an all star. In this case, “go play” is obviously just a sly way of saying “go work,” but in a fun way. Like when my mom tries to make setting the table sound like the most exciting thing ever.
  10. “Space Jam Theme Song” — Quad City DJ’s
    No matter what you have to do, playing the “Space Jam Theme Song” will make it at least 20 times better, guaranteed.
  11. Bonus Track: 9BeetStretch
    My personal study favorite is 9BeetStretch, a radio station that plays nothing but Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony stretched to the length of 24 hours on repeat. The white noise feel keeps the sound constant enough that I stay focused, but interesting enough that I don’t get distracted by outside noise. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I swear it works.