This column is dedicated to my “writing playlist.” The compilation of approximately 30 songs that has played in the background while I’ve written nearly every essay or story throughout my South career.
The playlist originated when I was stuck with my first Oracle story deadline and had only two sentences written on my Google Doc. It seemed like a fitting time to add some tunes to the queue, press “play,” and start working. Now, nearly four years later, I still turn to the same songs.
The playlist starts off with “Beige” by Yoke Lore and continues on to be a good mix of various folk and Indie bands, including fun., and Mumford and Sons.
These songs inspired a lot of my columns. I would take lyrics such as “May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground, carry on,” and write an entire story about my resonation with that specific line.
But the playlist served a more important purpose than a source of story ideas. It became my “constant.”
I’ve never been one to shy away from change. In fact, I am eager to begin a new chapter in my life at college. But what stands behind this enthusiasm is a comfort knowing that there are elements of my life which will always be there, one of those being my “writing playlist.”
So many versions of Emily have opened the playlist and pressed “play.” These songs got a timid freshman through her journalism class; an overwhelmed junior through her Common App essay; and a reflective senior through her final Oracle column. No matter how I felt, where I was, or what had changed in my life, I could always listen to these songs.
Now, another version of Emily will emerge: the curious freshman beginning her journey at UW-Madison. The most significant life shift I will have yet to endure.
As daunting as this may sound, I can’t help but find comfort in the upcoming experience. Because I’ve accepted that change will never take away from who I am.
If I fail an exam, I am still Emily. If I don’t meet my best friends in the first weeks of school, I am still Emily. If I take new risks, I am still Emily. No matter how my college experience unfolds, I will always be Emily.
I credit my “writing playlist” for this outlook. Every version of myself, no matter the change that had occurred, could always turn to this ”constant” as a reminder of who I am.
As I begin the greatest change of my life, I move forward with little fear.
Because no matter what happens, no matter what changes, and no matter what version of Emily emerges, I will always be able to press “play.”