Graduation comes with so many emotions – the excitement of embarking on a bright new future, sadness over the memories that will be left behind and the pride of knowing you accomplished such an amazing feat just to name a few.
Many 2022 graduates experienced the trials of online learning and social distancing, which in several cases kept them from celebrating milestones such as homecomings. But now as all of that comes to an end, it is time to focus on what lies ahead. So as you prepare for that big day, planning out the details of your graduation party and informing family and friends of your ideal graduation gift (we have ideas for both college and high school graduates), why not check out a playlist of songs to help you sort through all the feels?
1. The Climb by Miley Cyrus
The Climb acknowledges that the challenges aren’t over as graduates enter the next stage of their lives (just listen to the lyrics: Ain’t about how fast I get there/ Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side/ It’s the climb). This is a song to remind you of your strengths just as you enter the unknown.
2. See You Again by Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth
A Fast and the Furious soundtrack single dedicated to Paul Walker, See You Again serves as a moving farewell to good friends. Of course, you’ll see those school friends again, but it’s still sad to think you won’t see them as often as you’ve become used to.
3. Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield
If you want a little more pep after tearing up from See You Again, Natasha Bedingfield will set you right with Unwritten. This song is inspiring for anyone leaving college (or high school) with little idea of what’s ahead. The future is open to you. Go get it!
4. “God’s Plan” by Drake
If you didn’t make it to graduation on your own, Drake’s “God’s Plan” is the perfect song to give thanks to those who supported you along the way.
5. Sing by My Chemical Romance
The biggest hit from My Chemical Romance’s final album, Sing is for graduates ready to put school or university behind them and get on with the next stage in their lives. Celebrating ‘what tomorrow brings’, Sing is less about nostalgia, but it makes a great anthem nonetheless.
6. “It’s A New Day” by will.i.am
If will.i.am’s song has any significance in your life as a graduate this year, you will be fanning yourself to keep the tears from flowing. Just tell your guests, “I’m not crying, you’re crying!”
7. “The Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga’s piece will bring you to tears as it features beloved saxophonist Clarence Clemons. Gaga’s lyrics move you as you consider the many possibilities that the future holds for a new graduate.
8. Graduation (Friends Forever) by Vitamin C
And we talked all night about the rest of our lives/ Where we’re gonna be when we turn 25. No one could argue about this song’s meaning. Colleen Ann Fitzpatrick produced this sweet melody as a testament to the memorable times you share with your fellow graduates – and the time to say goodbye. Although it’s almost 20 years old, this sad graduation song will still have you tearing up. A sample of Pachabel’s Canon in D is a beautiful addition.
9. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Green Day
The song marks both the end of one chapter (I hope you had the time of your life) as well as the start of something new (Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road/ Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go) – both sentiments bound to resonate with graduates.
10. We Are Young by fun. and Janelle Monae
When you receive that diploma, you’re going to feel on top of the world. And when you do, this is the anthem you’ll want to sing. These lyrics are empowering: Tonight we are young/ So I set the world on fire/ We can burn brighter/ Than the sun.
11. 100 Years by Five for Fighting
One minute, you’re fifteen and the next, you’re graduating from university and about to enter the professional world. 100 Years serves as a fantastic opportunity for you to stop and appreciate how far you’ve come. It also reflects on how quickly life passes by and encourages you to make the most of every moment – a great reminder when graduates start worrying about what’s to come.
12. How Far We’ve Come by Matchbox 20
Another song that encourages you to reflect on your past and celebrate your progress. Released 20 years ago, How Far We’ve Come is so nostalgic that the New York Mets used it in a video commemorating their final season at Shea Stadium.
13. Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson
I’ll spread my wings and I’ll learn how to fly/ I’ll do what it takes till I touch the sky./ And I’ll make a wish/ Take a chance/ Make a change/ And break away – a fitting message for those anticipating their next steps.
14. Roar by Katy Perry
No song gets people to their feet faster than this Katy Perry ballad. Doesn’t get more feel good than this.
15. Firework by Katy Perry
Cap off the night on with an upbeat graduation song that will arm you with the confidence you need to start the next phase in your life. Katy Perry’s number one hit is an inspirational anthem that will end your celebrations on a high note. After all, Baby, you’re a firework/ Come on, show ‘em what you’re worth.
16. “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen
Layered with the group’s trademark harmonies and a steady percussive beat, it’s a track that’ll surely make you “wanna have a good time,” too.
17. “Good Old Days” by Macklemore feat. Kesha
Graduation is definitely one of life’s biggest events — and Macklemore and Kesha reflect on life’s most precious moments in their mellow yet inspiring pop song.
18., “Congratulations” by Post Malone feat. Quavo
Manifesting success is the theme of Post Malone and Quavo’s celebratory track. Which exactly the energy all new grads deserve.
19. My Future by Billie Eilish
Graduation is always about moving on to the next step in your life and being the best version of yourself as you embark on your next journey into the big wide world. This song serves as a great reminder that you are indeed the future.
20. “Feeling Good” by John Legend
As part of the Class of 2022, you have a lot to feel good about given that you are graduating during a pandemic. Shed a tear to John Legend’s rendition of the Nina Simone classic, and consider how bright the future is as you take a final look at the past!