in an article about songs that can help you stay motivated, a photo of the band American Authors

11 Songs To Keep You Motivated After Midterms

When ambition starts to wane as the middle of the semester approaches, these tracks can spark inspiration once more.
March 8, 2022
9 mins read

In the middle of winter and the middle of the semester, enthusiasm and self-discipline start to wane, but songs such as “On Top of the World” by The Score can bring back your drive. The songs below feature a variety of moods, tempos, perspectives and time periods, but will all get you motivated.

1. “You’re the Best Around” by Joe Esposito

Popular for its use in the climax of “Karate Kid,” “You’re the Best Around” possesses a nostalgic beat to get you motivated. All you need to do is “try and you’ll succeed” — the song features many lines that share that sentiment. Even after a wave strikes you, “nothing’s gonna ever keep you down.” You need to fight with all of your strength, because your life will be determined by your resilience. “You’re the Best Around” is one more song that will encourage you to reach for your dreams.

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2. “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World

An early 2000s jam, “The Middle” is a head-bopping tune about doing your best and not worrying what others think of you. What you do does not have to be good enough for anyone but yourself. Instead of living for others, strive to make yourself happy and be yourself along the way. Even though times may be tough, “Don’t write yourself off yet … Just try your best. Try everything you can.” College students are “in the middle of the ride,” but “everything will be all right.”

3. “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles

The groovy, relaxing tunes of the Beatles never fail. The cheerful, optimistic melody makes you smile and makes it feel like all your worries will simply melt away. In the song, “it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter,” but the sun is coming. “I feel that ice is slowly melting,” much like the weather that will soon be at our doorstep. Days are getting longer and the sun is shining brighter. The song encourages you to look at the bright side: The semester is half over and summer is only a few months away.

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4. “It’s a Beautiful Day” by Michael Buble

If you are looking for a softer, encouraging song, “It’s a Beautiful Day” by Michael Buble hits the perfect note. The feel-good melody is a cheerful breakup song, where the singer is actually relieved that the relationship is over. They are overjoyed and can’t stop smiling. Now they’re free from the person that was holding them back. “It’s a beautiful day” and the sun is up, but even if it wasn’t, the speaker wouldn’t complain. The song is a fresh take on breakups and an uplifting tune.

5. “Pocket Full of Gold” by American Authors

While American Authors offers many fantastic tunes, two of their most uplifting songs are “Pocket Full of Gold” and “Born to Run.”

The smooth notes in “Pocket Full of Gold” have a carefree spirit. “Life will always go on and if I’m wrong, I guess I’ll burn in flames.” This song speaks to the attitude that many college students seem to adopt in the middle of the semester. Even if you are struggling with classes, among everything else going on, the world will keep turning, and this soon will pass. “Throw your sticks and throw your stones, but you ain’t gonna break my bones” is an important attitude to have and acknowledges the resilience we should foster.

The singer wishes for many things: a laugh, a night with friends and a moment to think. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of life, but the song also expresses that life always goes on. After imagining the “what ifs” to the end of the world, your worries seem trivial. The song takes on a somewhat pessimistic vibe that still looks at worst-case scenarios in a comical and catchy way.

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6. “Born to Run” by American Authors

“Born to Run” is another empowering beat: “I’m gonna live my life like I’m gonna die young, like it’s never enough, like I’m born to run.” The music injects energy back into your veins, encouraging you to live to the fullest. It seeks to push you beyond the struggles of the day — to seize every moment. It encourages you not to let anything hold you back, not even black holes. While every day requires some work, have fun every day and spend time “like tomorrow won’t come.” See something new. Try something different. The song looks to the future and encourages you to go for it.

7. “Top of the World” by The Score

The Score provides plenty of jams to get you motivated for anything that life throws at you. Two of the most empowering tracks are “Top of the World” and “Unstoppable.”

Not to be confused with the Imagine Dragons song with a similar name, “Top of the World” strikes a chord from the opening notes. For students, every day can feel like a rollercoaster, but the song declares, “Good things never come to those who wait in line.” You can’t just wait for life to happen, but need to go after what you want. Break down your obstacles, get rid of your demons, climb your mountains and you will be on top of the world.

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8. “Unstoppable” by The Score

“Unstoppable” is all about striving to do your best. Even after life knocks you down, it is just more motivation to get back up — the “fuel” to keep you going. “Keeping us down is impossible ‘cause we’re unstoppable.” School and everything that comes with it can be discouraging, but “Unstoppable” pushes you to go for the gold. The lyrics proclaim that “we can be heroes.” 

9. “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen

Though the song starts out slow, it quickly builds into fast-paced rock. The world can be tough, but “Don’t Stop Me Now” invites you to join in on defying the world and expectations: “And the world, I’ll turn it inside out.” As it picks up, the song transmits its energy to you. The beat will pump you up, and make you feel like you can do anything. Like the lyrics describe, you will feel like a shooting star, defying gravity, and making you motivated enough to do some work.

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10. “Why Worry” by Set It Off

“A sinking feeling sets. It feels just like a hole inside your chest.” The opening lyrics of “Why Worry” relays an extremely relatable feeling. As the title implies, though, the song advocates for a carefree perspective in an energetic style, giving off a strong rock vibe. It encourages you to let go of your stress and to “look around and count your blessings.” With lyrics like, “why do we worry when worries never help” and “you’re the only one standing in your way,” the song puts things into perspective. By the end, you will be motivated to do your best and work through your problems step by step.

11. Anything Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer has written scores for countless movies, including “Inception,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and “Dune.” Zimmer is a great source for background music, allowing easy multitasking. There are many mixes on YouTube for an hour of listening. Since his music is instrumental, words do not distract from work, but encourage a hint of fun while being productive. The changes keep you on your toes instead of lulling you to sleep with the same tune. While Hans Zimmer mixes do not always include songs that get your heart rate up, Zimmer’s ambient scores provide a fun twist to work that will keep you motivated.

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In the winter, everyone needs a pick-me-up. Everyone needs some motivation, especially during this time of year. When you feel your energy drain, music offers the inspiration that will ensure you’re motivated and pump you back up.

Kim Becker, Aquinas College

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Kim Becker

Aquinas College
English Writing, Communication Minor

I’m an aspiring author who has dreamed of publishing my work. Reading, writing and watching science fiction and fantasy remain my favorite pastimes. I love traveling and the memories that accompany those experiences.

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