Congratulations! You did it! You’re graduating (or at least dreaming about it!). What an exciting and momentous time! This calls for a celebration (playlist)! We’ve curated a few songs that will help set the mood for that big beautiful day. Give it a listen while you’re donning your cap and gown.

Enjoy this day, smile, and take lots of pictures! You’ve earned this!

*Note* The author desperately wanted to include Modern Baseball’s “Your Graduation” and Kanye West’s entire “Graduation” album in this countdown, but had to refrain to keep this playlist family-friendly. She strongly recommends listening to those particular tracks at your discretion to add to the celebratory feel of this playlist, but maybe not in front of your parents.

1. “Smile Upon Me”- Passion Pit

“You’re the best d*mn friend that I’ve ever had/ You’ll always smile upon me when the season’s bad/ You’ll always make me feel best even when I’m blue/ You’ll always smile upon me and I’ll smile upon me too.” You’ve met some pretty incredible people during your time at Gannon University. This song captures those sentiments of friendship and gratitude for those people that got your through the ups and downs of college life. Play this one when you and your squad are doing one last Presque Isle drive before you all go your separate ways.

2. “Gracie”- Ben Folds

This tune offers a bit of a different perspective: the perspective of a parent watching their child grow up and enter adulthood. Personally, this song gets me a little misty-eyed, especially at the climax of the song when Ben Folds croons, “Someday you’re gonna want to go/ I hope we taught you everything you need to know.” For me, college is when I fully understood the sacrifices my parents made for me throughout my whole life. I’ve discussed this idea before, but college is the time when you start seeing your parents beyond just “your parent.” It’s a time when you’re less dependent on them for that caregiver role and transition into appreciating them as actual people. I’d imagine this transition is similar for parents. As their child grows up into an adult with their own thoughts, feelings, careers, they have to relinquish that coddling caregiver role. It’s something that I believe this song offers a great insight into; I recommend listening to it with your mom.

3. “I’ll Be There For You”- The Remembrandts

Otherwise known as “The FRIENDS theme song.” Of course you all know the words!  Sure it might be a little cheesy, but this song actually makes a few good points. In your adult life, things won’t go right. Life might suck for a while.  However, you’ve met people at college who will “be there when the rain starts to fall.” These friendships offer support at your darkest hours. This is a song celebrating these friendships.

4. “Celebration!”- Kool & the Gang

Celebrate good times COME ON! While this song is considered to be a wedding reception staple, I think it’s also applicable to a graduation ceremony. Graduation is a special occasion…so celebrate!

5. Ribs- Lorde

To me, this song is all about that uncertainty of growing up. In my favorite track off of Lorde’s 2013 album Pure Heroine, she sings about that sudden realization of “Oh, whoa I’m an adult.” She sings, “This dream isn’t feeling sweet/ We’re reeling through the midnight streets/ And I’ve never felt more alone/ It feels so scary, getting old.” While this idea might seem foreign and scary, Lorde also sings about making the most of the situation (“We can talk it so good/ We can make it so divine”).

6. Maps- The Front Bottoms

Another song about hope! At the start of this song, Brian Sella sings, “There is a map in my room/ On the walls of my room/ And I’ve got big, big plans.” This song captures that hopeful optimism that all recent graduates have for their the start of their lives.

7. Yes I’m Changing- Tame Impala

This is the quintessential college graduate song. It’s all about how much you’ve grown as a person throughout your years at college. This song is filled with lyrics that capture the metamorphisis from freshmen year of college to senior year. Lyrics such as, “Yes, I’m changing, yes I’m gone/ Yes I’m older, yes I’m moving on/ And if you don’t think it’s a crime you can come along with me.” Absolute perfection.

8. Beautiful Boy- John Lennon

This is one of my mom’s favorite songs, so of course I must include it on my last playlist for Edge. Ignoring Lennon’s controversies with his personal life, this song is simply, well, beautiful. It contains the lyrics, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” This lyric serves as a reminder that sometimes things don’t go your way, and that’s okay. A lovely reminder for the recent graduate.