Up Your Valentine’s Day Game: The Best Music to "Study" to

By Keanu Ross-Cabrera

Like that research paper last week, Valentine’s Day kind of snuck up on me this year (pro-tip: always read your syllabus). 

Now, Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples. It’s a day of love, and there’s no love more tender than self-love, so all you single folks need not RSVP to the big pity party (EC 1220) because today is a day for you too! Unfortunately, whether you're in a relationship or or not, you still go to Columbia University and as it so happens, that most amorous of holidays (right behind Hanukkah) occurs on a Sunday.

Maybe you’re a mature, responsible adult. Maybe you’ve done all your homework and will actually be able to enjoy that Sunday. But chances are you’re like the rest of us and procrastinated by rewatching Parks & Rec for the third time (it’s important to de-stress, ok!?).

So Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday. You don’t need to cast aside your romantic aspirations (that tub of raspberry sorbet isn’t going to eat itself after all), but you’re going to have to keep in mind that, at some point or another on Valentine’s Day, you’re going to have do your work.

But just because you’re going to be doing work on this special, Hallmark-sponsored holiday, doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun, right? Because you can always take a break from that work for some studying.

You can study by yourself! You can study with your significant other! You can even study with a stranger or (if you’re adventurous) in a group!

Pro-tip: Study Groups, while great in theory, can be logistically challenging to organize and participate in, as well as often times awkward and inefficient.

Studying is a perfectly healthy, natural part of the college experience. Some study multiple times a day (such stamina!), some not at all (and that’s ok! It’s your choice), some even cram it in right before class. So this Valentine’s Day make sure you include it in your busy schedule.

Whether alone or with a partner, in your room or in Butler Stacks (you animal!), there are many strategies which can enhance the study experience. Now, while you can try finding different positions or new and exiting locations, why not consider and often overlooked element of the study experience? That’s right, I’m talking about the music.

Music can provide the atmosphere, set the mood, and even cover the awkward sounds of human interaction, but it’s important you have the right music to study to, especially on Valentine’s Day. Sure, you might already have a playlist you like, or a Pandora station, or awkward silence (which is fine, you do you), but why not jazz it up? Shake it (your study playlist) off? Try something fun and new?

But, of course, you don’t want to have a song that will kill the mood. Sure you can find study-appropriate songs through trial and error, but that sounds time consuming (though potentially fun), and why do that when you can simply learn take our advice? After years of thorough research, I’ve compiled the top three songs to study to. Take a listen below.

And, as always, when with a study-buddy, check-in with them to make sure music’s something they want too. Consent is important and some people don’t like studying to music.

Survivor - “Eye of the Tiger” (1982)

Studying can be really, really fun. But sometimes, especially when you’re studying late at night, you need a little something to help you power through the fatigue so you can finish what you’re working on. That’s when “Eye of the Tiger” comes in. Put this towards the end of your mix, when, to quote renowned wordsmith Marshall Mathers, your “arms are heavy, knees weak, palms are sweaty,” just when you’re thinking of quitting or slowing down, bam! You’re Rocky, back in the ring, ready to give it one more round.

Warning: May cause feelings of intense patriotism.

John Williams - “Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme)" (1980)

Maybe you haven’t done cardio in a while. Maybe a few minutes into your study-sesh you’re breathing a little heavier than you should be. Maybe you’re starting to question your life choices (like daily Kornet’s). Not to worry, Johnny W.’s got your back with a stirring track that not only provides a steady, driving beat, but will subconsciously associate your lack of cardiovascular endurance with someone who’s powerful and awe-inspiring. Instead of seeming weak and flabby you’ll be tall, dark, and handsome. If you’re worried about your early-game staying power, then this song is a must have.

Bonus: If/When your partner says, “Wow, I didn’t think you’d be so good at that” (or something to that effect), you have a perfect opportunity to whip out, “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” Let’s face it, you’ve really been saving that one. Win-Win.

Klaus Badelt - “He’s a Pirate" (2006)

If your studying’s gotten stale and repetitive, inject a little swashbuckling adventure into your half-hearted page-turning. Badelt’s sweeping score is epic in nature and inspiring. Get out of your comfort zone a little and try something new, but do be careful of carrying on too long. Being “the fastest ship in the Caribbean” is not necessarily a good thing, unless you can get where you need to go, and there’s something to be said about carrying on too long, when the weirdness just sort of becomes old. That being said, this track is definitely a must-have. Add it to the study-mix, wait for it to come on, and get read to board that vessel and pilot home into a safe port.