Playlist: Everything’s Changing and You’re Excited but Also Terrified

I’m graduating from college in a month, and I have never had more sporadic emotions about an impending life transition, ever. In the course of a week I swing from lying awake anxious in my bed at 4 AM, to feeling like I will explode with excitement about moving to a still yet-to-be-determined city and building a new phase of life for myself. My general feelings about graduation — and, more generically, moving away from a place I’ve lived a solid life for four years — changes approximately once every 45 seconds.

Here’s a playlist for being excited and scared and also sort of calm about whatever is going to come next, while simultaneously having a lot of feelings about something really wonderful coming to an end. Won’t you join me in clinging to the past while yearning for the future?

Can't you feel her thrilled trepidation to be riding off into the sunset with those balloons? That is how I feel about most things these days. via Shutterstock

Can’t you feel her thrilled trepidation to be riding off into the sunset with those balloons? That is how I feel about most things these days. via Shutterstock

Everything’s Changing and You’re Excited but Also Terrified


If I Ever Leave This World Alive – Flogging Molly
Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Goodbye, Goodbye – Tegan and Sara
Love on Top – Beyoncé
Don’t Wait – Mapei
We Will All Be Changed – Seryn
Dissolve Me – Alt-J
Breatherz (Young as Clouds) – Rubblebucket
Sentimental X’s – Broken Social Scene
Silver Lining – Rilo Kiley
Time To Run – Lord Huron
Blue Skies – Noah and the Whale
That’s the Way – Led Zeppelin
Travel So Far – Joan Armatrading
Crueler Kind – San Fermin
Rivers and Roads – The Head and the Heart
Genius of Love – Tom Tom Club

Want to suggest a playlist theme? Hit Stef up and someone on the team might make it for you.

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Autostraddle staff writer. Copy editor. Fledgling English muffin maker. Temporary turtle parent. Zine creator. Swings enthusiast. Political human who cares a lot about healthcare and queer anti-carceral feminisms. I asked my friend to help me write this bio and they said, "Good-natured. Friend. Earth tones." Another friend said, "Flannel babe. Vacuum lover. Kind." So. Find me on Twitter or my website.

Maddie has written 100 articles for us.


  1. once again autostraddle reads my mind. I wasn’t ready to leave this beautiful city after graduation so I stayed another year. Now I’m still not ready but its time to move on and I have so many feelings I can’t even feel them. How do you say goodbye to your life of 5 years and the family you’ve made to go back to the family you come from and a place that doesn’t feel like home anymore?

    • I too went back to the place that doesn’t feel like home anymore, and it was hard. You’ve just got to hang on to that family that you’ve made (technology is awesome for that!) and remember that your life doesn’t have to be shaped the same way it was before you left.

  2. Rivers and Roads is so perfect for this situation!!

    And then, if later you feel like you made a wrong turn, “Down in the Valley” by THATH.

  3. This is so relevant to my life right now. I’ve been doing that whole starting over thing a lot the past few years (college, study abroad, back to college, then graduation…) and now I’m getting ready to move to Ireland! Thanks for sharing those excited/freaked out/but still happy/just not sure how things are going to go feelings. :)

  4. Can we make an Autostraddle support group for jobless no-longer-students – I really don’t want to move back home to a small town and would like some income $$ for Camp and booze food.

  5. That Flogging Molly song always gives me all the feels. Good list, A+, would listen again!

  6. This is exactly my life situation and exactly the playlist I needed to get me through it. I listened to this in the shower this morning to motivate me for the day, and it turned out to be a wonderful day! I think that’s a sign.

    I’m going to college in a new city next year and this is very relevant to my life

  8. Well done, Maddie! This is excellent, and also relevant to my life at the moment.

    Enjoy the end of senior year and Good Luck!


  9. I’d add Apocalypse Dreams by Tame Impala and Alanis Morrissette’s Hand in my Pocket. You know, to balance each other out.

  10. Thank you! What a great list. Also, this is so applicable to my life right now. I just got a summer internship in a different city in a completely different field than the one I’m in right now so I have three weeks to completely uproot my life. Exciting but I’m also terrified.

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