A musical journey through your UC Berkeley years

Willow Yang/File

Every new school year brings a new mood to your life. We decided to capture the excitement of freshman year, the slump of sophomore year, the restlessness of junior year and the totally-ready-to-leave mood of senior year in music. No one song can capture an entire school, much less an entire class, so we decided to make a playlist for each of the four years you’ll experience here at UC Berkeley.

Freshman year

“Start of Something New” by the High School Musical Cast

Need we say more? Just as the High School Musical saga was kicked off with this song, your college experience is totally the start of something new. We can’t guarantee that you’ll meet the love of your life at karaoke, but like the song says, you should take some chances and believe in yourself — there are so many opportunities you can’t pass up!

“Let’s Get It Started” by The Black Eyed Peas

Another “start” song! Why not kick off your first year with some positivity? It’s a whole new world out there, so go into it dancing!

“Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson

Freshmen have an abnormal amount of energy. Like, it really tires the rest of us out. We can’t remember the last time we weren’t jaded. Freshman year is all about staying up late at parties or socializing in the lounge, signing up for club info sessions you won’t end up applying for and trying to make friends. Our advice to you all: keep the energy up! You won’t have it forever, so don’t stop!

“Closer” by The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey

Was it really freshman year if you didn’t hear this song constantly? Shoutout to all the freshmen who spend their weekends at the frats — if you haven’t gotten over the allure of sticky floors and music like this, don’t worry, because you will soon.

“Berkeley’s On Fire” by SWMRS

The reality of going to UC Berkeley hits us all at some point during freshman year, whether it be at a protest, struggling with finding a place to live the next year or just simply living in the political hotbed we call home. The burning Campanile on the cover of this single says it all — the next three years of your life are going to be rough, and you might be turned into more of a revolutionary than you anticipated in the process. The Berkeley stereotype isn’t there for nothing!   

Sophomore year

“Sophomore Slump Or Comeback Of The Year” by Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy says it best. Sophomore year is hard, and it totally sneaks up on you. You’re stuck in limbo. You aren’t a freshman anymore, but you’re not very old either. You’re figuring out classes, majors and where you belong here. Since you aren’t a freshman anymore, you feel like you should have it together, but you don’t, which frustrates you!

“Television/So Far So Good” by Rex Orange County

Many sophomores have no clue what they’re doing. It’s a year of figuring out relationships and figuring out yourself. It’s easy to relate to ROC’s changing tones and beats in this song, because honestly, that’s exactly what your second year is. Everything is changing, and nothing makes sense, but you just hope that you’ll be all right in the end.

“Campus” by Bastille

The phrase “help me” is repeated in this song, which is also often repeated during a second year’s struggle through upper division classes and getting their life together. It’s easy to feel like just another brain on the campus and having all of the creative and intellectual juice being drained out of it. You may feel like everything’s falling apart, but we promise, you’ll be all right.  

“Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots

Once again, the title says it all. You miss the carefree days of the first week of freshman year, and you really wish you weren’t so stressed! Being stressed out isn’t just a sophomore thing, but you have a long way to go still, so we’ll give it to you.

“Can You Hear Me?” by Amber Mark

It’s easy to feel like no one understands your struggle. And it’s easy to feel unheard, whether it’s in your personal life or even in class. Throughout your sophomore slump, it’s easy to get stuck in your head.

Junior year

“Get on Your Feet” by Gloria Estefan

Sophomore year was a bit of a drag, so listen to this upbeat song and get excited for a new year! You’re an upperclassman now, so it’s time to start making real things happen for yourself! Internships, leadership positions, solidifying your major and all that jazz are coming up, so take action and make this year the best one yet!

“no tears left to cry” by Ariana Grande

This is the year of picking yourself back up from the mess that was freshman and sophomore year. You’ve cried enough, and it’s time to wipe those tears and get back to work.

“The Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars

Making things happen can be hard, so obviously, you’ll feel like you need a break every once and awhile. Or all the time. You don’t need to be looking for jobs just yet, right? It’s been a long three years, so we like to tell ourselves that our napping is totally justified.

“The Irony of Choking on a Lifesaver” by All Time Low

Like every other year at this school, junior year isn’t easy. Your emotions will be messed with; you might be tired of the people you see every day, and you might just get totally fed up with the entire system. Angst is a totally common feeling, so let it out with this pop-punk classic.

“Love in the Time of Socialism” by Yellow House

Junior year is a popular year for studying abroad and starting to feel ready to leave and get out of the Berkeley bubble. There’s so many possibilities out there, and it’s easy to have an existential crisis. You’ve been stuck in school for so long, and you just want to travel or simply go become a new person.

Senior year

“The Final Countdown” by Europe

You did it! It’s your final year at UC Berkeley! Get out your calendars and start counting down the days, because you’re almost out! The real world isn’t quite ready for you yet, so push through these last semesters!

“I’m Like A Bird” by Nelly Furtado

If you felt a bad sense of wanderlust junior year, it’s only worse senior year. It’s time to fly away from this place, whether it be to a new job, a new city or even a new country. The world is huge, and you’re ready to see it.

“Flat Champagne – Acoustic” by Dan Caplen ft. RAY BLK

For some, senior year is a time to take easier classes and enjoy your time with friends before you join the real, adult world. It’s a time to be young, drink cheap champagne, cherish all past memories and make new ones.

“Under Pressure” by David Bowie, Queen

All right, you can’t totally slack off. Getting a job is stressful, and you’re probably under a lot of pressure from your family and yourself to figure it all out.

“Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” by Green Day

It’s only fitting to end this playlist (and your time at UC Berkeley) with this song. It’s a new turning point in your life, and there’s no telling where you’re going to go next. UC Berkeley had its ups and downs, but we seriously hope you had the time of your life here. You’re never going to have another experience like it, so never forget the memories you made here.

Contact Sunny Sichi at [email protected].