Music to get you through the week

I have a pretty eclectic music collection on my iPod and I am not ashamed to admit I’m quite proud of it. Music is an amazingly powerful thing in my opinion, and in the day-to-day drudgery that students can find themselves in by midterm, it can do wonders to pick up your mood, ease deadline stress or even, wonders of wonders, stoke some motivation.

Monday

9am morning lecture: ‘Highway to Hell’ by AC/DC

Unusual choice you might think, but with an opening instrumental like this you can’t help but a) be very, very awake and b) feel pretty badass; the only way to start the week. Also, the lyrics are pretty accurate, especially for those poor souls who face the long slog up Cardiac.

Tuesday

Post 6pm lecture: ‘Shake it Off’ by Taylor Swift

Tuesday is a long day. A gruelling timetable of lectures and seminars, combined with the fact that I’m already exhausted from Monday and the weekend is still in the depressingly distant future. Tuning my radio to Capital and it’s shameless top 40 replays is my usual mood booster; Taylor hatin’ right back at the haters is pretty catchy and the lyrics again are very on point too:  ‘I stay up too late/Sick of deadlines al-read-ay/Feel I need a break mmm-mmm’ etc.

Wednesday

Hard-core slog at the library: ‘I Giorni’ by Ludovico Einaudi and ‘Gymnopédie No. 1’ by Erik Satie

Wednesday is my supposed ‘day off’, but tragically thus far it has ended up being the ‘let’s-catch-up-on-all-the-work-you-left-till-your-free-day’ day. So it’s up to the library by 9am, rucksack packed with all the necessary supplies for a day-long stint: packed lunch, purse for Market Place additions to said-packed lunch, several KitKat chunkies, a loo roll for the eternal Freshers’ Flu sniffles and of course, the vital laptop charger.

Classical music might sound a tad pretentious, but I’m a big fan of modern piano, and it’s the only sort of background noise I can have when trying to churn out essays. I read somewhere once that listening to music with words used up to 37% of your brainpower that could be utilised on studying, whereas lyric-less classic music was considerable less. (I would source this but for the life of me I can’t remember where I read it #humanitiesstudentprobs)

Thursday

Evening cooking in: ‘Little Bitty Pretty One’ by Thurston Harris

It’s nearly the weekend, so things are looking up. I’m also usually running low on supplies leftover from the weekend shop though, so it’s time to get creative and do some actual cooking. The soundtrack from the famous Matilda pancake scene is the only music to mess around in the kitchen to; ‘Little Bitty Pretty One’ is one of those songs that everyone knows the tune to and can hum and dance along, but no-one ever remembers the title or artist. So, now you know. You’re welcome.

Friday

Flat party playlist: ‘Prayer in C (Robin Schulz remix)’ by Lilly Wood & The Prick

Don’t fancy a night out? Re-create the club scene but without the smelly strangers and trek through the freezing November rain in your own kitchen with some decent speakers and a playlist of the latest club tracks. I am a huge fan of these and spend far too much on iTunes keeping my collection up-to-date; this is my latest favourite but there are so many others that are perfect for that Friday night feeling.

Saturday

Morning run: ‘Not Giving In’ by Rudimental

A decent running playlist is the only thing I look forward to in my weekly flirtation with actual exercise. Rudimental have some great tracks, but this is one of the best in my opinion. Hugely motivational and a great way to start a productive weekend in which there is absolutely no last-minute cramming on Sunday night. At all. Ever.

Sunday

Evening room tidy: ‘9 to 5’ by Sheena Easton

My room has usually reached apocalyptic levels of untidiness by Sunday night, and so I usually try and do something about it before the new week. Tidying is a pretty dull and solitary activity though, so Sheena Easton 9 to 5 of the internet sensation ‘dancing roommate’ makes it a lot more entertaining. Cheesy, feel good sing-a-long songs help to ease those depressing Sunday evening blues too.

Clubbing: What if it’s just not for you?

Until arriving at university, I wouldn’t really have defined myself as an introvert. Sure, I hadn’t been much of a party-er in secondary school, but social situations didn’t unnerve me, public speaking was just a fact of life, and the idea of introductions to gazillions of new people in Freshers’ was something I had actually looked forward to.

That being said, by the 4th time out on the town in Exeter when I had yet again found myself hovering awkwardly on the edge of the dance-floor, empty glass (ice and lemon eaten) in one hand, my phone (open on Jelly Splash level 37) in the other, I realised that I might be onto something of a trend. Whenever I went out the night always started off well, with too many pre-drinks and lots of laughs; but once we actually got to the club, despite my best efforts at enthusiasm, sociable-ness and dancing, I was always more than ready to leave after only an hour or so.

Surveying the packed crowd of students, all seemingly having an infinitely better time than I was, a horrible sense of dread descended upon me. Was I really not going to enjoy this key part of student life? This defining feature of the university experience?

It was a depressing thought, and a pretty lonely one too. The fear of missing out on the gossip and memorable nights out has been part of what’s kept motivating me to keep going out in the first place. That and the awful idea of glumly warning whoever I’m with that I’m thinking of heading back, only to be met with a heavy sigh, a somewhat pitying, confused look and the immortal words: “Already? But we’ve only just got here.”

Fear of that precise reaction has resulted in more than a few ill-advised walks back through Exeter to accommodation on my own. These solitary treks up Pennsylvania Road, feeling unpleasantly chilly, a tad sorry for myself, and very, very sober, always put a damper on the night, no matter how well it began. I even ended up calling the student helpline, the VOICE, one night, and though my mood was definitely lifted to have someone cheery on the end of the line to chat to, it didn’t resolve my pretty pathetic situation.

So. What to do about it? My previous attitude of ‘just keep trying – you’ll get over it’ had been thus far unsuccessful, so a new plan of action is required. I talked to some flatmates and friends from home, and have decided to face up to the facts. I’ve given it a go, but clubbing just isn’t really for me (bar an occasional trip to Cheesy Tuesday’s but then they do play Robbie Williams).

And that’s okay. I can still enjoy flat parties and pre-drinks and maybe the occasional trip out to be back by midnight, and I don’t think I’ll feel all that left out when friends go on without me. There’s a difference between giving something a try and forcing yourself to keep doing something you don’t enjoy, so I feel a lot happier in knowing that I’ve reached that compromise with myself.

So feel free to party on my friends, have an awesome night and tell me all about it in the morning. Don’t worry about my evening- I’ll be enjoying Firehouse pizza, cheating at card games and an early night ☺