After a long vacation at home, many of us were eager to get back to the roller coaster that is our college life. However, that was not the case for all of us. In my case, my house is very far away, like on the other side of the world. This makes returning home eminently difficult, as well as rather rare. When it came time to pack my bags two weeks ago, I felt both excited and awful. Most people say that the end of the semester is when you’re most homesick, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. If you’re like me and live very far away—or even if you’re very close to your family—back to school can be tough. Here’s a playlist to listen to when you’re in those thrills and want to be reminded of everything you love about yourself.
“Sugar Mountain” by Neil Young
In this song, Young reflects on the childhood memories he created in a place called Sugar Mountain. After leaving home and returning to Sugar Mountain years later, he is disappointed that he hasn’t been able to relive those memories the same way he once did. He captures that sentiment in the chorus, where he sings, “You can’t be 20 on Sugar Mountain.” College is also about growing up and leaving behind the carefree nature of childhood.
Edward Sharpe’s “Home” and the Magnetic Zeros
Loaded with lyrics – as well as plenty of hiss – the singers of this song spark a conversation about what home means to them. Although the house in this song refers to somewhere in Alabama – which is quite different from my house in the Middle East – the message carries the same weight: the house is about the people, not the place.
Bon Iver’s “Holocene”
I love Bon Iver, and this song always seems to remind me of my home. Now, that may have something to do with me spending hours and hours in my room listening to this song. Oddly enough, though, I don’t think that’s the only reason I miss home. The song evokes feelings of longing and loss, but it’s also extremely calming and somehow manages to transport you to a place where you feel happy.
“No Cars Go” by Arcade Fire
“No Cars Go” tells the story of children trying to find a place where no one will ever find them, a place where no car goes. It reminds me of my brother and I and the adventures we had on family vacations. We were trying to discover secret hiding places where no one would find us. Unfortunately, there isn’t so much imagination and adventure that comes with busy college life.
“Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman
I miss having a car and the freedom that comes with it. Here in Berkeley, I usually stick to my day-to-day one-mile radius so I don’t have to worry about finding transportation. Back home, I took for granted the privilege of being able to do what I wanted, when I wanted and without having to find the right bus number or the next available BART.
Me and my dog by boygenius
I’m sure many of you can relate to this one, but I miss my dog at home. When I was in high school, I knew my dog would be eagerly waiting for me as soon as I walked through the door. Even though this song is supposed to be about heartbreak and not really dog-related in any way, Phoebe Bridgers sings the line “Just me and my dog and an impossible view” in the chorus.
“Little Brother” from The Tallest Man in the World
Being away from home can be especially difficult if you’re the older brother like me. This song is about guiding a little brother, which is precisely the type of relationship I would like to think of having with my younger brother. Although he is only three years younger than me, I really appreciate being able to give him advice on school or daily events. Once in college, however, it’s harder to keep in touch, whether because of time zones or because it’s the worst for answering texts and calls.
“I Spent the Day in Bed” by Morrissey
The bed in my dorm is nowhere near as comfortable as my bed at home. I mean, the memory foam mattress topper makes it a little better, but it still doesn’t compare to the comfort and warmth I feel when I collapse on my own bed in my own room. I guess Morrissey likes his bed a lot too, because he sings “I’m not the type, but I like my bed.”
It’s completely normal to feel homesick, but it’s important not to let them devour you. Remember why you are here and make the most of the opportunities presented to you here. Once you’re done reminiscing about your home with this playlist, it’s time to turn up the party music!
Contact Salma Sarkis at [email protected].