A playlist to listen to when you’re missing home — no matter where home is

Illustration of person studying and listening to music
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After a long holiday at home, many of us were eager to get back to the rollercoaster that is our life at college. However, this wasn’t the case for all of us. In my case, my home is very far away — as in, on the other side of the world. This makes going home eminently difficult, as well as pretty rare. When the time came to pack my bags two weeks ago, I felt both excited and dreadful. Most people say that you get the most homesick towards the end of the semester, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. If you’re anything like me and you live very far away — or even if you’re very close to your family — the start of the semester can be difficult. Here’s a playlist to listen to when you’re in those feels, and you want to be reminded of everything you love about home.

“Sugar Mountain” by Neil Young 

In this song, Young reflects on the childhood memories he made in a place called Sugar Mountain. After leaving home and returning to Sugar Mountain years later, he’s disappointed by the fact that he couldn’t relive those memories in the same way that he once did. He captures this feeling in the chorus, where he sings, “You can’t be 20 on Sugar Mountain.” College is also about growing up and leaving behind the carefree nature of childhood.

“Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Loaded with spoken word — as well as a great deal of whistling — the singers in this song spark up a conversation about just what home means to them. Although the home in this song refers to somewhere in Alabama — which is pretty different from my home back in the Middle East — the message carries the same weight: Home is about the people, not the place.

“Holocene” by Bon Iver

I absolutely love Bon Iver, and this song always seems to remind me of my home. Now, this may have something to do with the fact that I used to spend hours upon hours in my bedroom listening to this song. Funnily enough, though, I don’t think that’s the only reason why it makes me miss home. The song evokes feelings of nostalgia and loss, but it’s also extremely calming and somehow manages to transport you to a place where you feel happy.

“No Cars Go” by Arcade Fire 

“No Cars Go” narrates a story about children trying to find a place where nobody will ever find them, a place where no cars go. It reminds me of me and my brother and the adventures we’d have during family vacations. We would try to discover secret hiding spots where no one would find us. Sadly, there’s not so much imagination and adventure that comes with busy college life.

“Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman

I miss having a car and the freedom that came with it. Here at Berkeley, I usually stick to my one-mile radius from day to day so that I don’t need to go through the hassle of finding transportation. Back home, I took for granted the privilege of being able to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and without having to figure out the right bus number or next available BART.

“Me & My Dog” by boygenius

I’m sure many of you can relate to this one, but I miss my dog back home. When I was in high school, I knew that my dog would be eagerly waiting to greet me as soon as I walked through the door. Even though this song is supposedly about heartbreak and not really related to a dog in any way whatsoever, Phoebe Bridgers does sing the line, “Just me and my dog and an impossible view” in the chorus.

“Little Brother” by The Tallest Man on Earth 

Being away from home can be especially tough if you’re the oldest sibling like me. This song is about guiding a little brother, which is precisely the type of relationship I’d like to think I have with my younger brother. Although he’s only three years younger than me, I really value being able to give him advice on school or daily happenings. Once I’m at college, though, it’s harder to stay in touch, whether that be because of time zones or because he’s the absolute worst at responding to texts and calls.

“Spent the day in bed” by Morrissey 

The bed in my dorm is nowhere near as comfortable as my bed at home. I mean, the memory foam topper makes it a little better, but it still doesn’t even compare to the comfort and warmth I feel when collapsing on my own bed in my own room. I guess Morrissey likes his bed quite a bit too, as he sings, “I’m not the type, but I love my bed.”

It’s completely normal to feel homesick, but it’s important not to let them consume you. Remember why you’re here, and make the most of the opportunities that are presented to you here. Once you’re done reminiscing about home with this playlist, it’s time to turn up the party music!

Contact Salma Sarkis at [email protected].