A K-pop playlist for your trip back to Berkeley

photo of the Campanile on campus
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As August approaches, you may be getting ready to start returning to UC Berkeley for in-person fall 2021 instruction. Whether you’re flying from halfway across the globe or driving through the Bay, some music can always accompany the various emotions we share and motivate us to endure on. Here is a playlist of K-pop, K-indie and K-ballad songs to play as you get ready to leave home and return to UC Berkeley’s campus!

Stage 1: Reminiscing on hometown memories: “As If It’s Your Last” by Blackpink

Look how far we’ve come since March 2020 when the pandemic hit us. Maybe you’ve never left your hometown since high school, or maybe your college life at Berkeley was interrupted by a sudden move back home. Either way, we have all adjusted to the new normal, a new environment and a new routine. Like how the lyrics in Blackpink’s hit song speak, “Love as if it’s your last/ As if there’s no tomorrow,” cherish the memories you made during the pandemic year as if it’s your last before you leave for a new school year.

Stage 2: Packing: “Comes and Goes” by Hyukoh

The step that many of us hold off until the last minute: packing. As you decide what to bring to college and try to minimize your load as much as possible, items may “come and go” to and from your luggage. In this Korean indie rock, Hyukoh sings about the fear of growing up and leaving, looking back at a simpler, worry-free childhood. As you pack and go through your things deciding whether or not an item of clothing, a room decoration or a childhood toy is necessary for college, you may experience a similar nostalgia.

Stage 3: Saying goodbye: “So Long” by Paul Kim

It’s finally time to say goodbye — whether that’s goodbye to your family, pet, hometown friends, your room or a lifestyle you’ve adjusted to. This classic Korean ballad is a theme song from the K-drama “Hotel del Luna” that describes saying goodbye to a loved one. After spending a long year in quarantine, it may be hard to say goodbye, but we will hold onto the memories that brought us closer and made us stronger.

Stage 4: Traveling: “Adios” by Hoody

This song is all about getting ready for a new adventure, leaving to a far place and finding freedom. While leaving can be hard, it also means you’re embarking on an exciting journey to discover new opportunities in a new environment. As you drive or fly, get excited for the new challenges you’ll face, unforgettable memories you’ll form and the invaluable traits you’ll discover about yourself at UC Berkeley.

Stage 5: Arriving at Berkeley: “Start Over” by Gaho

The intro beat of this song perfectly encapsulates the feeling of a fresh start. As an official soundtrack of the K-drama “Itaewon Class,” this song talks about taking a courageous fresh start and making a promise to yourself that you will achieve your dream whatever it takes. As you step out of the car or the plane, this song will accompany the motivation you feel to begin your journey at UC Berkeley and remind you why you are here.

Stage 6: Getting settled in: “Permission to Dance” by BTS

Congrats — you’ve arrived in Berkeley, all ready to settle in for a new school year. Whether it’s your first time at Berkeley or you’re familiar with the campus and its surroundings, you will move in and explore what post- (or mid-) pandemic Berkeley has to offer. Acknowledge yourself for making it here and get pumped for the new semester; you don’t need permission to dance! If you’re feeling nervous, just remember what BTS reminds us in its newest song — “when we fall, we know how to land.” You got this!

We hope that these songs will resonate with you for each step of your move back to Berkeley. Although you may be feeling sad, nervous, bittersweet and/or excited, remember that you are not alone; we are all in this together!


Contact Eunkyo Jo at [email protected].