They’re here and there’s no escaping them: finals. I’ve had my fair share of finals in my time and I’ve noticed that I go through the same eight stages before, during and after them: realization, panic, acceptance, more realization, focus, overconfidence, relief and then more panic. One could describe finals as a rollercoaster of emotions. Maybe even mental, emotional torture. The only thing that can get me through this torturous roller coaster is music. It’s the best study buddy you can ask for. Music can comfort you and empathize. It supports you through the good and bad times. Most importantly, it stays up with you all night studying and overcoming the eight stages. In fact, I’d say my music actually helps me move from stage to stage and not feel so alone, whether it’s indie, pop, oldies, Disney, rap or current. Without music, I’d be a failure -- stupid and unmotivated -- and no one wants that, so here are 24 songs that help me get through the eight stages of finals.

Stage 1:

You realize it’s the week of the final and think everything will turn out fine because you have plenty of time. You're usually blissful and ignorant in this phase, so I listen to relaxing and happy music.

"Coasts" by Oceans

"Electric Love" by BØRNS (any song by them is heavenly)

"Just Tell Me" By Nico Yaryan


Stage 2:

You panic because you don’t recognize any of the information in your notes the night before the test. Usually feeling angry at myself, I listen to rock or any song with drums or guitars.

"Satisfaction (I Can’t Get No)" by The Rolling Stones

"That’s Where You’re Wrong" By Arctic Monkeys


Stage 3:

You accept that you might fail which could lead to a total reevaluation and reflection on your life. Usually I feel emotional so I listen to some sad music.

"Foreigner’s God" by Hozier

"Chasing Pavements" by ADELE


Stage 4:

You realize that it’s only a test and not the end of the world so just try to do your best. Usually I feel optimistic and hopeful so I listen to motivational music.

"Ain’t Got Far To Go" by Jess Glynne

"Dancing on Glass" by St. Lucia


Stage 5:

You become extremely focused and hard working, suddenly learning and understanding the material. Usually I'm not feeling anything, just strictly thinking, so I listen to piano or guitar music without lyrics.

Spanish Guitar

"Song for Sienna" by Brian Crain


Stage 6:

You gain too much confidence from focusing and learning so quickly, so you start to think the information is easy and you’re smart and that you can go to bed without finishing all of the notes. (This may have happened a couple of times to me.) I usually listen to any type of music that I can sing along and dance to. By this phase, I'm usually delirious and brain dead from cramming.

"Monster" by Kanye West

"The Real Slim Shady" by Eminem

"Research" by Big Sean

"Flawless" by Beyoncé

Also: any Disney song from "Mulan," "Tangled" or "Frozen."


Stage 7:

You wake up and walk to class, still feeling confident, and you sit down at the desk feeling relieved that you’re finally getting it over with. I usually am feeling content and a little confident so I listen to any new music I have downloaded.

"Hold Up" by Beyoncé (Tidal or iTunes)

"Dangerous Woman" by Ariana Grande

"Needed Me" by Rihanna


Stage 8:

You fall into a frantic panic because you don’t know all the information or how to answer the trick questions on the test. This panic typically lasts until the final grade is posted. Usually mixed in with panic, there is nostalgia and wishing for simpler times -- sometimes even angst as students think "screw it" and threaten to drop out because of the corrupt education system. Songs from the '90s and early Millennial century work best in this phase.

"Slide" by the Goo Goo Dolls

"Lucky" by Britney Spears

"Just The Girl" by The Click Five

"Perfect" by Simple Plan

"Genie in a Bottle" by Christina Aguilera


Some people may never experience these stages because they have their lives together. (Congrats to you.) But be honest, if you don’t go through these phases are you really doing college right? Whatever kind of student you are, and whichever phase you are in right now, good luck with finals and enjoy the music.