Jasper Jams: You’re On Your Own, Kid (Grad Edition)

By Megan LaCreta, Senior Writer

At some point, we stopped counting the time until graduation in years and semesters, and it turned into days. Graduating college is something that I can’t fully comprehend, and might not until I walk across the stage in Draddy on May 19th. When faced with such overwhelming and complex emotions, sometimes the only thing you can do is turn to music to help metabolize it all. For my last Jasper Jams, I’m going to share some of the songs that have described this whole experience for me. It’s been an honor to be able to share what I’ve been listening to with you all for the past few years! I hope you enjoy my final edition.

Bitter Sweet Symphony — The Verve

This is the kind of song that plays when the credits roll, and ours are rolling at MC. There are so many emotions that come with the end of college because it’s also the start of so many other things. Sadness, relief, fear, excitement — a true symphony of feelings, and this song touches all of them.

Long Live — Taylor Swift

Who would I be writing a Jasper Jams without including a Taylor Swift song? “Long Live” is a celebration of the end — and we should be celebrating! The last four years have been a remarkable experience. Whether we struggled personally, academically or just from the state of the world, we all had to overcome significant roadblocks to reach our destination. And through all of it, we found people who made it fun. As Taylor (we’re on a first-name basis) said, “I had the time of my life-fighting dragons with you.”

Vienna — Billy Joel

“Slow down, you’re doing fine.” Those are the words a lot of us need to hear. Leaving college, it can feel like everyone has plans but you, or if you have plans, that you need to dive in immediately. But that’s not true! You deserve to take a moment and breathe. Things will work out, because you will put in the effort to make it happen, and taking a step back and appreciating the hard work you’ve already put in won’t set you back.

Rivers and Roads — The Head and the Heart

I remember the feeling back in high school, experiencing my friends who graduated ahead of me moving away to college for the first time. “Rivers and Roads” seemed to encapsulate everything I felt in that moment, but part of me knew it would hit so much harder once I was the one leaving. And I was right — I sobbed to it in my friends’ driveways as we left home one by one the summer after senior year. This time around, the feelings are all the same and so much worse, and “if you don’t know what to make of this, then we cannot relate.”

Different Kind of World — Maggie Rogers

I had the privilege of seeing Maggie Rogers herself perform this live, and I did indeed leave that show a different kind of girl. Our graduating class went through a lot together. I know we’ve heard countless times about the impact COVID had on people our age, but it can’t be understated that the world we are graduating in is completely different from the one that existed when we first got here. We’ve all changed with it, in our own unique ways. “Different Kind of World” makes me appreciate how glad I am to have had people by my side that made all of those changes easier.

The Climb — Miley Cyrus

“The Climb” has been my song since “Hannah Montana: The Movie,” but it has become increasingly poignant as graduation creeps closer. I was singing it with my roommates recently, and we were joking that, wow, there really is always another mountain, and you really are always gonna want to make it move. It’s silly, it’s cliche, but it’s true — it really is all about the climb.

I Miss Those Days — Bleachers

I think that maybe because of the pandemic, I’ve spent a lot of my time in college thinking about how much I should appreciate college — like I should feel happy to be here, but “x” class is kicking my ass or I feel left out of “y” or I wish I did “z.” “I Miss Those Days” is about looking back on a time in your life, years down the road, and appreciating it for all it was. I don’t know if I’m far enough removed yet to feel that way, but I hope someday I will be.

You’re On Your Own Kid — Taylor Swift

You know, this is my last Jasper Jams ever, so I will put two Taylor Swift songs. I have not listened to this song once without crying my eyes out. It captures everything I’ve felt in my time here at Manhattan — trying to escape the mundanity of my hometown, trying to find my place in the new world I landed in, and wondering what I’ll do, where I’ll be and who I am when all of it is over. In spite of it all, Taylor reminds her listeners that we’ve “got no reason to be afraid.” I like to think that she’s right.