De-stress during your studies with the ultimate finals playlist

USF media studies major John Shepard listens to the USF Collaborative Study Playlist on Spotify. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY CALLIE FAUSEY.

With finals week just around the corner, many students can be seen around campus prepping for their upcoming exams. Some students have a set of headphones in their ears, which begs the question: what is on USF students’ study playlists? 

For AJ Langone, a freshman biology major, the answer is folk music from artists such as Caamp, KALEO, and Bon Iver. “I feel like it has a calming aspect to it that helps me focus better,” Langone said. 

While some may find the background noise to be an unwelcome distraction, many students, such as Langone, find that listening to music can help them focus. 

Morgan Brum, a junior media studies major and KUSF DJ, says she prefers listening to classical music and gentle jazz when studying. “I usually curate these playlists by listening through Spotify playlists or greatest hits albums and selecting my favorites,” said Brum. “If I need to be in the zone but want something different, I’ll listen to lullaby versions of my favorite songs because they won’t distract me like the original tracks might.” Artists like Twinkle Twinkle Little Rockstar and Sweet Little Band create soft, instrumental renditions of popular songs with production reminiscent of classic lullabies, which Brum says provides a relaxing form of background music as she studies. 

Freshman psychology major Nika Bresker finds classical music to be a soothing, less distracting alternative to the pop and rap music she usually listens to. “The lack of lyrics in classical music stops my mind from wandering when I need to concentrate,” Bresker said. 

In contrast, senior pre-med student Jorie Gabrysiak finds it easier to concentrate when listening to music that is familiar to her, rather than lending an ear to an entirely different genre. “I tend to gravitate towards rap and R&B when I study because I listen to it all the time and it’s just whatever is on my playlist,” Gabrysiak said.

Freshman performing arts and social justice major Cecily Felice says that her genre of choice is lo-fi, which refers to a style of music with an emphasis on possessing a ‘home-made’ quality that produces subtly predictable, soft sounds. The genre includes elements of easy-listening, jazz, hip-hop samples, and more. “Lo-fi is very easy to listen to because it doesn’t have any abrupt or loud noises,” Felice said. “I know exactly what I’m getting when I listen to it.” 

Each student interviewed for this article was asked to suggest a few songs to help curate the ultimate study playlist. Here is what what was created:

“All the Pretty Girls,” KALEO 

“Strawberries,” Caamp 

“Bloodbank,” Bon Iver 

“White Winter Hymnal,” Fleet Foxes 

“i’m closing my eyes,” Potsu 

“this girl,” Elijah Who 

“I’m on Fire,” Soccer Mommy 

“Normal Girl,” SZA

“Can’t take my eyes off of you,” Lauryn Hill 

“Claire de Lune,” Claude Debussy 

“Moon River,” Emile Pandolfi 

“I fall in love too easily,” Chet Baker 

“Linger,” Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star 

“Dear Lord,” John Coltrane

“Un Sospiro,” Van Cliburn 

“Plastic Love,” Friday Night Plans

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