Week 1: “California” by Phantom Planet
“We’ve been on the run/Driving in the sun/Looking out for number one/California here we come/Right back where we started from”
On a literal level, Week 1 is about coming back, or homecoming (for the more sentimental among us), to “where we started from.” The song is evocative of The CW’s “The OC,” a show that delivered strains of crazy drama over 92 episodes–friendship, romance, triumph, class struggle and kidnappings– and the upcoming quarter promises to offer the same. Phantom Planet’s bittersweet ballad rings with the brightness and uncertainty of a fresh quarter.
Week 2: “Youth” by Glass Animals
“I want you to be happy/ Free to run, get dizzy on caffeine/ Funny friends that make you laugh/ And maybe you’re just a little bit dappy”
Week 2 is about getting settled. Lingering homesickness, or at least desire to be back on holiday, has begun to fade. This indie-pop hit rings with the wholesome romanticism of being back in the bubble. We’re getting into the swing of things with classes, perhaps already “dizzy on caffeine” but not quite drowning in work. We’re so glad to be back around “funny friends that make you laugh.”
Week 3: “We R Who We R” by Ke$ha
“Tonight we’re going har har-har ha-ha-hard/ Just like the world is our our-our our-our-ours/ We’re tearin’ it apart part-part pa-pa-part/ You know we’re superstars, we are who we are”
It’s the last week, for the most part, before things begin to pick up. It’s time to live it up before friends cancel plans or get the flu.
Week 4: “Take On Me” by a-ha
“Today’s another day to find you/ Shying away/ I’ll be coming for your love, okay?/ Take on me, (take on me)/Take me on, (take on me)”
Week 4 sees things intensifying; we buckle down with our schedules. Midterms are within sight, on the horizon, but there is nothing to suggest we can’t handle them. With non-academic commitments also intensifying, a general air of busyness emerges: we encourage this busyness to “take me on,” perhaps naively.
Week 5: “Super Trouper” by ABBA
“Tonight the/ Super Trouper lights are gonna find me/Shining like the sun/(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)/Smiling, having fun/(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)/Feeling like a number one”
Week 5 is midterms week, more or less. We sleep less and go out less, or at least go out thinking of the more serious tasks we could be fulfilling weighing us down. This is only round one of exams, though, so we can envision the light at the end of the tunnel.
Week 6: “The Scientist” by Coldplay
“Nobody said it was easy/ No one ever said it would be this hard”
Not to be gloomy and doomy, but Week 6 is when we most acutely feel our mortality. Midterms have come and gone, leaving in their wake bad and maybe good. Now is when it seems everyone is getting deeper into their own world of pursuits and commitments and deadlines. Cancelled plans abound. We could learn a thing or two from Coldplay, though, and, by turning heartbreak into harmony, rise from the ashes to worldly fame.
Week 7: “Tonight, Tonight” by Hot Chelle Rae
“I don’t know if I’ll make it but watch how good I’ll fake it/It’s all right, all right, tonight, tonight”
Week 7 is a great week, a notoriously underrated in-between. This lull in work is when we can let go in all sorts of cliché ways, much like Hot Chelle Rae’s 2011 pop anthem declares. The quarter might be getting to you at this point, but with the finish line vaguely in sight, maybe it’s best to “fake it” till you “make it.” Live your life: indulge in college’s illusion of invincibility.
Week 8: “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve
“And I’m a million different people from one day to the next/I can’t change my mold, no, no, no, no, no, no, no/Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony this life/Trying to make ends meet, trying to find some money then you die”
Week 8 sees us getting existential and asking the hard questions about who we are and who we’re becoming in the formative whirlwind of higher education. How far have we come in the last two months? Where are we going? How are my WAYS of thinking and doing affecting my ways of existing? The Verve’s throwback asks these questions–and answers them rather deterministically.
Week 9: “Airplanes” by B.o.B (ft. Hayley Williams of Paramore)
“Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shootin’ stars/I could really use a wish right now, wish right now, wish right now”
Week 9 might see you turning to the supernatural/astronomical to get you through hard times. During a study session on Wilbur Field, we keep our eyes out for “shootin’ stars” from SFO to get us perform feats like catching up on eight weeks of reading or writing four winning fellowship applications a day before the deadline.
Week 10: “Under Pressure” by Queen, David Bowie
“Pressure pushing down on me/Pressing down on you no man ask for”
It’s Dead Week and “pressure pushing down on me” is rather self-explanatory. However, when we’ve spent one hour too many in the depths of Green Library, or feel bouts of angst at the finite time we have to cover infinite content and have infinite college experiences, maybe we can remember the following line:
“Can’t we give ourselves one more chance/Why can’t we give love that one more chance”
N/B: Finals week is silent, save the dropping of tears onto a page.
Contact Megha Parwani at mparwani ‘at’ stanford.edu.