Hitting Rock Bottom and Five Songs to Get You There!
Congratulations Class of 2020! You’ve weathered Wildcat Welcome, conquered the first weeks of class, and now you’re riding high, texting your parents about how great things are here in “Heavenston.”
In fact, you’ve found you can hardly stop texting them about it–though not because you like, miss them, and definitely not because your education costs an arm and a leg and you don’t want to seem ungrateful. But forget that, because you should be focusing on the 6 auditions you’ve got lined up! And 4 mixers. And the tailgates and the…not crying… in front of your new roommate.
Actually, let me start this over.
Your life probably blows right now Class of 2020! Your new “friends” were assigned to you by a computer, you’re already behind in all of your classes, and now you’re teetering over a pit of despair, confronting the possibility a complete breakdown hundreds of miles from home.
Well never fear first years, Uncle Wrinklebaum’s been there. In my tenure at N.U. I’ve learned all about self-care, and how it’s more than bathbombs, box wine, and binge-watching “Narcos.” In fact, sometimes self-care means giving up–just sinking straight down to rock bottom, rubbing your face in it, and maybe getting some of whatever’s down there your mouth.
Now for me, the fastest route to feeling like a failure is music; I’ve got a self-pity soundtrack that I put on whenever I want to mope about with no intention of solving my problems. Below I’ve provided you some highlights and even added scenarios to help you get into the corresponding headspace, so just pop in some earbuds, isolate yourself from your peers, and crank up these tunes!
#1: Hometown Heartbreak
Scenario: Having gone off to different colleges, you and your high school sweetheart were giving long-distance a shot–at least until they took a few shots, and went home with the senior lacrosse captain they met in their yoga class. Don’t worry, it was consensual, and they don’t regret it.
Suggestion: “Two Beers In” by Free Throw
Inadequacy is the name of the game here, and Nashville’s own Free Throw brings it in spades. Verses simmer with a resigned hopelessness, and vocalists Cory Castro and Jake Hughes thoughtfully deliver a chorus that perfectly captures the subtleties of betrayal and loss.
#2: Perfectionist Panic
Scenario: You were a straight-A student and you worked your butt off to get into Northwestern, but now your best isn’t good enough. You’re firmly middle of the pack, so I hope you’re prepared to B humble, C others succeed where you failed, and D-cide if higher education is really right for you.
Suggestion: “Nothing” by Eskimeaux
The plucky acoustic guitar of Eskimeaux’s “Nothing” wanders lost through feelings of doubt and uncertainty. The lyrics allude to an ex or otherwise estranged lover, but melancholy purposelessness should be familiar to any former honor student. I mean, what’s a big fish in a big pond anyway?
#3: Dork at the Dance
Scenario: The first formals are right around the corner! Maybe that special someone who lives down the hall will finally take the hint and invite you to–oh, who are you kidding. They don’t see you like that. All you do is stay in and study, and you’ve even stopped going to the dining halls because it’s too embarrassing to eat alone. Twice a day. Everyday.
Suggestion: “Marvins Room” by Drake
Just because you’re not going out doesn’t mean you can’t listen to Drake! Sometimes Aubrey gets emotional too, and drunk on Rosé #relatable.
#4: Sundown Silliness
Scenario: This one is autobiographical! One fun fact about Northwestern’s quarter system is that fall exams take place during the two weeks each year when the sun sets in Chicago before 4:30 p.m.. Another fun fact is that I didn’t learn I have Seasonal Affective Disorder until was 18 years old!
Suggestion: “Suffer in Peace” by Tyler Farr
Now I bet a lot of you have written off country music as a whole, but consider this woe-is-me, working class jeremiad. Tyler Farr could be on this list 10 times over (A Guy Walks Into a Bar anyone?), but he's got a real ear for the sound of self-imposed isolation.
Case #5: Absolute Unfettered Despondency
Suggestion: “Hurt” as performed by Johnny Cash