Entering & Exiting College Playlists 

Written by on August 22, 2023

In the Fall of 2019, I entered the University of Houston a fresh-faced new student, palms sweaty and eyes wide with anticipation. As the college journey ends, I open up my music apps to see what kind of music has soundtracked my life. These vastly different eras bring out distinct listening patterns, which each deserve their own playlists.


When beginning university, most do it alone. Some move thousands of miles, others just don’t know anyone on campus. The self-consciousness about who you’ll be for these next years can creep in. These thoughts are combined with the excitement of new possibilities afforded to you by a new environment. These are songs that embody some aspects of the transition to college. 

Photo courtesy of Spotify.com

Monkey In The Middle” by The Merrymakers 

This track represents the melancholy angst you might feel if you are first coming to campus. The lyrics play discuss insecurities and worries about others accepting you, a common worry at this stage of life. The classic garage band setup and drawn-out vocals establish the catharsis of the song, allowing you to wail the lyrics back and feel comfort in that way.

Photo courtesy of Spotify.com

“Get it Out of Your Head” by The Vinyls

The anti-self-centered song you need to remind yourself to get out of your head (in an admittedly fun yet blunt way)! Let the charm of British indie rock seep into your veins and let go of your self-consciousness. 

Photo courtesy of Spotify.com

“I Can’t Handle Change” by ROAR

Similar to the first song in this playlist, this track is really meant to wallow to. Hearing this melody while walking around campus, and feeling validated by the message is a healing experience. For those gloomy days in the Fall semester when you feel resistant to the passage of time.

Photo courtesy of Spotify.com

“Ordinary Pleasure” by Toro y Moi

The college experience is usually characterized by over-indulging in those first few months. Whether it be takeout every night, staying out late, partying, or other activities – this song will encourage that behavior! Why think about the consequences, when you can focus on the pleasure?


When you’re graduating, there’s this knowledge that you have metamorphosized in your time at university. Simultaneously rougher and cleaner around the edges. You’ve got more wisdom and knowledge to your name, but the time to step out and use it is approaching. Below are five songs for saying goodbye to UH. 

Photo courtesy of Spotify.com

“Stormy Weather” by Greo

The confidence of knowing you are a more skilled and more grown person is one of the better feelings when you’re on your way out. The lyrics will motivate you to grow out of those insecurities and step into your power. Also, it’s an incredibly groovy and well-performed track.

Photo courtesy of Spotify.com

“Changes” by David Bowie

This classic will help you be ready to embrace all the impending changes! No worrying, just facing the next step of life head on to a funky beat and catchy chorus. (I actually prefer this version from Shrek 2 for its 2000s charm & duet vocals but either works!) 

Photo courtesy of Spotify.com

“Electric Relaxation” by A Tribe Called Quest

There is a cool effortlessness to this track that I hope you get inspired by. Follow the lead of the lyrics and “Relax yourself – Please settle down.”

Photo courtesy of Spotify.com

“Tomorrow” by Kali Uchis

Openness to the future is the defining feature of both this song and graduation time. Kali Uchis’s lyrics have an undeniable link to her personal story, but if you focus on the theme of moving forward you are sure to find your own meaning in it. Rather than the upbeat tracks in this playlist, this song has a more laid-back and synth-heavy take on these emotions. 

All students will go through these stages. The turbulent but enticing beginning, and the matured more confident exit. At these times, the music you listen to can be what understands you. To all incoming and graduating students – I hope you enjoy your time at UH and fill your life with good tunes.

  • Viviana Zermeño

    Viviana Zermeño is writer for the Coog Radio web team. She is a Senior Media Production student here at the University of Houston. Through her articles she wishes to show her appreciation for music, media, and the people who make it.

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