A playlist for seniors, by seniors

How and why I compiled the class of 2023’s favorite motivational songs into one big playlist


Anna Grace Riegle, Editor in Chief

I make playlists for everything. I have made 107 playlists just in my senior year alone, documenting memories, feelings, or just serving a general purpose for an event or activity. I felt that it made sense to have my passion project be related to playlists. 

In late April, I sent out a Google form asking seniors to submit songs that motivated them. I compiled these songs into one big playlist to serve as motivation beyond high school. Listening to each song, I could feel all the personalities shine through, which was motivating in itself. My hope is that you feel the same. 

Emulating my vision behind the project, I contributed three songs to the playlist that each serve a different purpose in motivating me. 

“Fragments of Time” by Daft Punk is a retrospective jam. It feels like a conversation with a close friend, looking back on all your adventures and looking forward to making more “random memories”. 

“Fighting” by BSS is the most literal of motivating songs. The lyrics are packed with cliches of “never giving up”, but it somehow never gets old because it’s just so much fun.

“Fashion of his love” by Lady Gaga is everything I love about pop music. It’s sparkly, catchy, and sounds like a song you’ve known forever. It makes me want to sing, dance, and romanticize everything. 

In addition to submitting a song, I left an option in my Google Form to explain the reasoning behind the song choice.


I asked why did you choose this song? Here are a few responses:

“It is real, and I relate to it. It makes me want to push through my difficulties in a positive way but also acknowledge the difficulties I’m going through,” said Madison Palok on “Sophia’s Song” by Neffex.

“It’s my favorite/comfort song. My brother-in-law introduced me to this song and the genre of math rock and this song has just the right energy for the perfect five minute drive to school. I even downloaded it to my downloads playlist,” said Ezra Decastro on “Story” by Chon.

“This song motivates me to finish my senior year out strong, no matter how bad my case of senioritis may be. It also makes me think of the success that is to come in my later life,” said Jalen Whitmore on “How Does It Feel” by Pharrell Williams.

This song is from one of the first albums I had on my iPod as a kid, so it is nostalgic for me. I find it comforting because it is soft and optimistic,” said Rhiana Quinn on “Red Rubber Boots” by Peter Himmelman.

I believe that for every moment and every feeling, there’s a song to match. Music has the power to change our perception of people, places, and activities. It can reduce anxiety, help us channel our emotions, give us a boost of energy, and even foster creativity. Seeking to hear the specific roles music plays in my peers’ lives, I asked an additional question in my Google form.


How do you use music to keep you going in your daily life? Here are a few responses:

“I use music as an outlet of how I feel. Usually, I play songs that match my current mood and I use the lyrics as a way of self-expression. I also like to have good music playing in the background. If I could have background music for every occurrence in my life, I would,” said senior Jalen Whitmore.

“I use it to help motivate me. If I’m not feeling my best, I’ll put on music to sing to in order to help me feel better. Sometimes it’ll be an upbeat song to get me out of my funk or a sad song to help me feel all the feels. It really just serves as a source of comfort for me,” said senior Lily Denney.

“I honestly use music to fill the blank silence in my life honestly. It helps to take my mind off things and it really lifts me up. I could be listening to pop, trap, K-pop, hip-hop, or country, it all helps me live a happier life,” said senior Aliyah Brown.

“I listen to music almost every minute of every day. I definitely think music helps me stay focused on schoolwork and it also keeps me entertained while doing things around the house,” said senior Marissa Desimas.

Music is a common ground that we all know in some way or another. A ‘motivating’ song can mean something so different to one person than the next, and that makes this playlist so interesting to listen to. I’ve saved a good few of these songs and I hope when others hear this playlist, they can find new favorite songs too.