Soundtracks for your major

Still deciding on your major? The Peak’s got you covered with major-specific playlists

Illustration courtesy of Michelle Chiang.

By: Kelly Chia, Nicole Magas, Lubaba Mahmud, Marco Ovies, Andrea Renney, and Winona Young

There are several factors that can contribute to a student’s choice in major: eventual career prospects, passion for a subject, or pressure from family. Sometimes we’re happy with our decision, sometimes we regret it, sometimes we change our mind and pick a new major. And sometimes, we turn to music for guidance, inspiration, comfort, and validation when we’re making our academic choices.

The Peak staff come from a variety of academic backgrounds, and we’ve curated playlists specific to our chosen majors to give you an idea of our feelings towards them. These feelings span the spectrum from adoration to exhaustion to dread. Happy listening!

Andrea Renney, Arts Editor

Fourth year computing science major

I chose to major in computing science because it seemed like the “easiest” way to land a job in California post-grad. Turns out, the courses required for the degree are hard and all anyone wants to discuss is coding. Who knew? My playlist reflects my current, jaded feelings towards my academic pursuits.

Playlist:

“I’m Writing a Novel” – Father John Misty:

What I wish my major was actually like.

“You Are Going To Hate This” – The Frights:

What I wish someone had told me before I decided to devote four years of my life to writing code.

“It’s Gonna Go Away” – Shannon and the Clams:

A comment on my motivation to go to class after the first week.

“Leave Me Alone” – FIDLAR:

My message to all of the guys who slide into my DMs when they finally see a girl in our class’s Discord channel.

“No Way Out” – Twin Peaks:

When you’re three years in and switching majors would cost a lot of time and money.

Marco Ovies, Staff Writer

Fourth year English major

I went into the English program thinking that it would be super easy and that I’d love every reading. I soon figured out that having to read a new book every week sucks and I’m drowning in essays. Please, someone, help me. 

Playlist:

“Mr. Know-It-All” – Young the Giant:

This one goes out to all of the guys who use big words in class to sound smarter — you know who you are.

“Mistake” – Middle Kids:

What my papers are full of when I hand them in.

“Coffee” – Sylvan Esso:

The real reason why I’m late to lecture everyday.

“Who Knows Who Cares” – Local Natives:

How I feel about literally any assignment ever.

“Oxford Comma” – Vampire Weekend:

I mean, the first line in the song says it all: “Who gives a fuck ?” 

Lubaba Mahmud, Staff Writer

Second year economics and international studies major

I’m planning on taking a double major — because I hate myself — in economics and international studies. I liked studying economics in high school, but surprise surprise! Turns out it involves a ton of math in university. Luckily, I also took IS 101 as an elective to try something new and it quickly piqued my interest in the IS major. This playlist describes my love-hate relationship with my majors.

Playlist:

I Can’t Find You” – SolarSolar:

Where art thou, oh my perfect source for that IS essay that’s worth 60% of my grade? I’m on page six of Google and desperation isn’t a good look.

Poison” – Cavetown:

Calculus. ‘Nuff said.

Unbelievers” – Vampire Weekend:

Can I do this double major or am I kidding myself?

Am I Doing It Right?” – Alex Lahey:

My thought process while studying, summed up in one phrase.

Global Citizens” – The Cardboard Crowns:

On a more positive note, studying IS is so interesting to me because I believe it truly makes me a global citizen. 

Kelly Chia, Staff Writer

Third year English major with a minor in publishing

I came to SFU intending to major in criminology because I wanted to ensure a stable career post-grad. During my first year, I had an epiphany that the freshmen around me weren’t necessarily studying criminology because they were passionate about the field. And so, I bit the bullet and chased what I adored. I consider myself lucky for making this decision early, as I love what I study — most of the time. Literature has always been my way of connecting to the world around me.

Playlist:

“What Do You Do With a BA In English?” – Avenue Q:

This is definitely how I felt before declaring my major.

“A Thousand Years” – Christina Perri:

And, after taking on a minor, this is how long I felt it would take to finish my undergrad studies.

“Right Words Wrong Time” – Carly Rae Jepsen:

When I have a good idea for a thesis in the shower or on the bus, but conveniently forget it when I’m in front of my computer.

“Sleep” – Joseph & Maia:

As an undergrad student, it goes without saying that I adore sleep. I also live for this comforting song playing in the background as I stare at a formidable pile of work.

“Ophelia” – Roo Panes:

One of the papers I’ve written that impacts me to this day was on Hamlet’s Ophelia, imagining what it was like for her to navigate the patriarchal society of Elsinore and failing miserably. I’ve always been interested in writing about women in literature, and, to this day, Ophelia is the character that fascinates me the most.

Winona Young, Features Editor

Fourth year (aspiring) joint major in communication and English

I can guarantee that if you’re an English major, you will identify with at least one (1) of these songs. If anything, they definitely help with the inferiority complex you harbour towards your peers while you relate every one of these songs to Shakespeare. 

Playlist:

“Mrs. Darcy – From the ‘Pride and Prejudice’ Soundtrack” – English Chamber Orchestra:

Ideal study music, and for when we pretend to be a Jane Austen protagonist as we stroll through campus.

“Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” – The Smiths:

Because we’re constantly forced to identify with sad, straight, cis white men. We will most likely read only their literature for the majority of our academic career. Splendid!

“My Shot” – Hamilton soundtrack:
All English majors are definitely, or were previously associated with, a former Theatre Kid™. 

“Act Up” – City Girls:

Rap is poetry, period. My friend brought this to their contemporary literary analysis lab. Get on their level. 

“Up the Wolves” – The Mountain Goats:

This is for when life is getting hard, but you also want to analyze the hell out of some text.

Nicole Magas, Opinions Editor

Fourth year honours sociology major

I got into sociology out of my desire to be a fiction writer. I thought that if I studied how people and societies work, I might be able to write more believable people and societies. What I didn’t know was just how much of a mess real people and real societies are. There are so many problems in the world that are much stranger than fiction that I don’t think I actually could write a believable novel based off of anything that I’ve learned.  

Playlist:

Mad World” – Gary Jules and Michael Andrews:

In general, this is an ode to being a fourth year, but there are weeks when I leave a sociology class completely bummed out by everything.

Kabul Shit” – Lily Allen:

This major really shows you just how many of our problems are caused by human constructs, and sometimes it feels impossible to enact meaningful change.

Crazy” – Gnarls Barkley:

Trying to explain these things to people outside of my major makes me feel like I’m the one who’s gone crazy.

Paint It, Black” – The Rolling Stones:

At times I just want other people to be as frustrated and angry at the world as sociology makes me feel.

The Last Saskatchewan Pirate” – The Arrogant Worms:

And if I don’t find some way to turn this frustration into meaningful employment soon, “pirate” is at the top of my career list.