The Soundtrack to my Freshman Year of College

Note: this was written in July 2017. I never finished it and decided to leave it that way – thus, some of the albums have descriptions, some do not.

I finished my first year of college! To be honest, it was one of the hardest years of my life. I struggled a lot, though I also made some of the greatest friends and had some of the most exciting experiences. It all makes for a very interesting year, and today I want to share the music that got me through it all. I’m not sure I would have survived this year without some of these tunes.

Strangely enough, I barely listened to anything besides showtunes and cast albums this year. I’ll run through the albums/phases I went through this school year and the musicals I saw. At the end of this post I have a specially curated playlist of songs. Enjoy!

I generally listened to these albums in this order because the way I listen to music is strange (I listen to albums I like until I “wear them out” by knowing them too well, then I move on to another album).

  1. Anything Goes. Sutton Foster and Patti LuPone are both fabulous and I want to be them. I remember unpacking to this album. I was such a frightened child then. (What has changed, really?)
  2. Sunset Boulevard. I was super into the music last fall. I watched the movie this spring and I am no longer super into the musical. I still love the music for Patti LuPone though.
  3. In the Heights. Wepa! It’s such a mood booster, I swear the sheer energy of it got me through so many tough days. Lyrical genius + superhuman energy + warm Latino culture = perfect recipe for a pick-me-up. Also, lots of ear-bugs.
  4. Rent. I guess it has to be said. The most influential songs for me were Rent, One Song Glory, Today 4 U, Out Tonight, Another Day, Santa Fe, La Vie Boheme.
  5. Thoroughly Modern Millie. The musical is racist af, but hey, I liked some of the songs. They were also mood boosters (Not for the Life of Me, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Speed Test, Forget About the Boy). Love the lyrics. Barney Schreiber CPA forever.
  6. Waitress. Such a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful album. I remember listening to this while coding and having to stop working because I was so emotional. I also fell in love with Jessie Mueller. Love this show.
  7. Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. No words can describe it. I used to listen to the first act on repeat all day long. ‘Twas a perfect companion for coding and it’s honestly such a gem of an album. I wish I could say more about it but there’s nothing I could say that could measure up to what this album/show is. Please, just go listen to it.
  8. Cinderella. I don’t know how but when you listen to this album, the magic becomes real before your ears. It made me believe in love and magic (lol). Also, Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana.
  9. A Chorus Line. Not much to say, it’s a classic and deserves to be so. It touches on some really relatable motifs for me as well.
  10. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Jessie Mueller! Also, I love old 60s/70s music. It just has so much heart.
  11. Moana OST. I’m not embarrassed to admit that this was a very formative album (and movie) for me. I love this movie and I think its message is so important!
  12. Ghost Quartet. Like the Great Comet, Ghost Quartet transcends any description I could give it. Listening to this is truly an experience and I love this album and everything it explores about life so much. I love Dave Malloy.
  13. La La Land OST.
  14. The Wild Party (Lippa).
  15. Assassins. My favorite song is definitely How I Saved Roosevelt. I remember listening to this while walking from engineering to dance. (Pro tip: do NOT play Ballad of Booth in public, lest you forget to mute it before the n-slur!!! Actually, maybe just don’t play any of this in public.)
  16. Avenue Q. I listened to Avenue Q a lot walking around to classes. I love how catchy it is. Also, Trekkie Monster’s character arc gives me faith in humanity. And he isn’t even human.
  17. The Music Man.
  18. Little Shop of Horrors.
  19. Company.
  20. Sweeney Todd.
  21. Book of Mormon.
  22. Into the Woods.
  23. Sunday in the Park with George.



  1. Waitress
  2. Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812
  3. Ghost Quartet
  4. La La Land OST
  5. The Wild Party
  6. The Music Man
  7. Little Shop of Horrors
  8. Company
  9. Sweeney Todd
  10. Sunday in the Park with George


Thanks for reading! If you’d like to stay updated on the music I listen to, check out my music Instagram: @whatshanalisteningtorightnow