Your week one mix tape

Holly Smith·23 September 2016·6 min read
Your week one mix tape

By Andrew Kendall

So, it’s that time of year again.

The saying goes that the only people who enjoy Freshers’ Week are freshers who’ve just come from sixth form. Some universities insist on a Welcome Week for new and returning postgrads, but by that stage students are so jaded by university it’s difficult not to feel stressed out by it all.

For postgraduates and returners, it’s that dreaded time when they must return from a peaceable summer to the drudgery of school again.

Since music is the answer to all our problems, I’ve put together a 10 song playlist with the help of some students to get you through Week 1 at university.

“Get Outta My Way” by Kylie Minogue

This is a self-explanatory choice and a microcosm of what your Week 1 playlist should like. You’ll be suffering no fools as you mentally prepare yourself for the autumn term.

Play It: When you’re walking behind any fresher student who is too awestruck by some on-campus artefact that you’ve passed by 100 times.

“U Don’t Know Me” by T.I.

What better way to set the tone than with T.I.’s second track of his 2004 Urban Legend album. Because, naturally, as the new student on the block your classmates probably don’t know you. There’s an existentialist English paper to be written on the unavoidable unknowability we all face when confronted with new classmates at a university level but beyond the head-spinning metaphors of the known and unknown the easy bravado of a song like this is something we should all be aspiring to come freshers’ week.

Play it: When you meet your new classmates for the first time (or former classmates again)

“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor

– suggested by Mary (MA in Social Policy)

It’s a classic for a reason and is the best thing to come out of Rocky III. No training montage is complete without this 1982 megahit (the most popular song of the year, naturally). And, what is a new year at school if not a giant obstacle course for your brain?

Play It: When you get your first assignment for the term

“Lose Yourself” by Eminem

– suggested by Junius (PhD in Economics)

It’s not hard to see why this Junius’ pick. Eminem’s Oscar winning song from 8-Mile (the first rap song to win the honour) is an ode to self-confidence and commitment with a great violin and guitar section for devout music lovers to appreciate.

Play It: When you have to play drinking games on the first night out. You can do it!

“Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd

– suggested by Joe (PhD in Physics)

Joe’s choice is so on the nose it’s perfect. What better than Pink Floyd’s protest song against rigid schooling to celebrate going back to university? We’ll single out part two, subtitled “Education” (of course) as the one to include on your playlist. That strong and aggressive bass-line is just the thing you need to boost your confidence.

Play It: When your supervisor tells you that you need more research done before your upgrade meeting.

“Two Fingers” by Magoo

– suggested by Gabi, English PhD

Gabi goes more indie for her choice as she picks Norfolk’s own Magoo for her song. The electric, synthesised instrumental is addictive and confident.

Play it: When you’re stepping off the bus and on to campus

“Fighter” by Christina Aguilera

It’s good to get some representation from the pop side of music and Christina Aguilera’s defiant pop anthem off her Stripped album is a good choice. It’s the middle ground between young and impressionable Christina, and older-wiser Christina with a hook that few can resist singing along to.

Play It: When you see that professor who gave you a low grade in undergrad, you still managed to make it on to your postgrad course!

“Gives You Hell” by All American Rejects

– suggested by Julia, MA in Human Rights

This one will take you back to 2008 when you had your very brief emo face and thought that Tyson Ritter was the coolest thing on the block. Sure, you may have outgrown that phase but there’s a part of you that still feels weirdly drawn to this song and the way it so easily makes you stand just a little taller.

Play It: When you see your third-year academic rival. As Katharine Hepburn says, “Enemies are so stimulating.” Use that rivalry to excel this term.

“Turn Down for What” by Dj Snake, Lil Jon

– suggested by Tom, MA in English

The title says it all. You’re a postgrad student and it doesn’t matter how crazy Freshers week gets, you can handle it. You’re a postgrad student after all. Right?

Play It: When your friends have to drag you home from the club after you promised to be a mature adult about partying during the first week.

“Survivor” by Destiny’s Child

Yes, Welcome Week is like an obstacle course and you’re not as young and resilient as eighteen year olds. Still, even as older students complain about the chaos and ostensible banality it’s because we know that soon we won’t be university students anymore and the real world is looming just within reach. But the good news is, if you can make it through Freshers’ Week unscathed, you can make it through anything this academic year.

Play It: When Welcome Week ends and you realise that this term has only just begun and you’ve a lot of work to do.