Trust Me, I Got This: Playlists for every stage of graduation dread

"Trust Me, I Got This" is a weekly column by staff writer and senior Christopher McDermott on surviving senior year, guided solely by this unconventional advice.

Bob Dylan is right; I do feel like a complete unknown rolling stone on my own except that really if I had to, I could go back to my parents’ comfortable house in suburban Connecticut. And when I’m there, I could eat Pop Tarts and play video games for probably like a week and a half or so before they tell me I need to go out and get a job.

But I still feel like a rolling stone, and that’s the magic of music. The single project in my senior year I’m best prepared for is curating a cross-genre playlist of wistful songs, about growing up and how you can’t always get what you want.

The Study Playlist

The science is in, and the best music for studying will be mid-tempo instrumentals. And if you want to step it up, reach for video game soundtracks; music specifically designed for focus. The London Philharmonic has a top-quality “Legend of Zelda” Suite. It’s enough to make your Excel spreadsheets feel legendary.

The Manic Anxious Uppers

Just fast music; the music equivalent of espresso; energizing exfoliating music for those times of the day when it feels really therapeutic to have someone yelling in your ear. Sometimes I just play Minor Threat’s discography on repeat for a couple hours.

The “Better Luck Next Time, Universe” Playlist

Some days are good days, some days are bad days and some days you’ve got to tell yourself all of existence is in conspiracy against you, so that it’s really truly a heroic feat just to be getting your paperwork in on time for that day. A lot of those days are Career Fair days. I’m partial to “You Should Have Killed Me When You Had the Chance” by A Day to Remember, but Bruce Springsteen gives off a similar dire-motivational feel in “Badlands.”

The “Woe is Me” Playlist

The most powerful human emotion is probably tied between passion or fear, but self-pity is a close third. Now, it might be hard sometimes to cry over your personal woes considering the immense triviality of your life in this massive universe, but some of the world’s most talented self-pitiers have been musicians. Whatever you’ve felt, Johnny Cash (in his later years) has probably felt worse. 

If you want to really capture the wistfulness, include some sad songs from the year you were born. It’s all a cycle.

The “Just William Shatner Songs” Playlist

Did you know William Shatner had a musical career? More importantly, did you know it kicks ass? Captain Kirk lays his melodic, trained-for-Shakespeare voice over classics and forgotten pop hits. It’s more like theatrical monologue than singing, which gives it a flowing theatrical feel.

Shatner’s rendition of “Common People” (by Pulp) is a dynamic celebration of the working life which can get blood running in even the white collarest-corporate schill. He also did a cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Shatner’s moan at around 1:30 and his pronunciation of “Beelzebub” will ring through the ages.

His album “Seeking Major Tom” is exclusively songs about space: Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.” These recordings exist, people. Go listen to William Shatner’s music. Right now. What better way to ignore the stresses of impending responsibility? Trust me, I got this.

Chris McDermott is the news editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at