You’re sitting in a study carrel in Lau, seemingly isolated from the world around you. The buzz of the florescent lights almost overpowers the frantic typing of your fellow miserable comrades. Pretty sure that the enticingly aromatic eau de Leo’s stench is still on you from dinner, you can’t remember if you’ve even showered today. You sip your lukewarm coffee and pray to Baby Jesus, Tom Cruise and the singing security guard that your homework will do itself, or at least that some decent eye candy will walk by.

In other words, you’ve hit rock bottom for the night. We’ve all been there. We Hoyas have already been in full-on study mode for a while, wondering what that magical “syllabus week” holiday is that they have at other schools. Our eyelids sag, our brains hurt and if we have to read about the prisoner’s dilemma one more time, we might just go loco.

Believe it or not, I’ve found a solution. It’s something I call “The Soundtrack to Getting Sh!t Done.” It’s a playlist-making method whereby one listens to a cycle of 30 minutes of calm, unobtrusive study music, followed by your four-to-five-minute pump-up song of choice. Think of it as a sort of power hour (or many hours, unfortunately) for your brain. Though the effectiveness of this method still awaits further scientific testing, my right-hand gal, Maggie Cleary (COL ’14), claims that this method has changed her life.

“By the time I start to fall back into the abyss of unproductiveness, an upbeat song comes on that’s a total game changer. I feel refreshed and renewed, as if I’d had three red eyes from The Midnight MUG,” Cleary said. If other people find this method as effective, Midnight may have some competition. Sorry, guys.

But first you need to try this method for yourself. Listen to the playlist here, and find out if it helps turn on your brain’s productivity switch. (For links to all the songs, visit

The xx, “Angels”

Sigur Rós, “Við Spilum Endalaust”

The Shins, “New Slang”

James Blake, “Wilhelms Scream”

Carla Bruni, “J’en Connais”

Youth Group,“The Frankston Line”

Coldplay, “In My Place”

Broken Social Scene, “Love and Mathematics”

And when you’ve done work for half an hour, reward yourself with your favorite dance track. “Call Your Girlfriend” by Robyn is the one I’ve been turning to as of late, but the possibilities are endless.

Whatever you do, give your brain a break. You deserve it. And when you’re done, move boldly onward to the next set of music. These tracks have been proven to improve productivity by 110 percent.

Gonzales, “Meischeid”

Rilo Kiley, “Dreamworld”

Dios Malos, “You Got Me All Wrong”

Rogue Wave, “Publish My Love”

Fleet Foxes, “Heard Them Stirring”

Iron & Wine, “Boy With a Coin”

The Clientele, “The Queen of Seville”

The Civil Wars, “I’ve Got This Friend”

Another 30 minutes down. You’re a champ. It’s time for a real musical reward: the ever-poetic “All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khaled. Feel free to follow the instructions of the song and put your hands in the air. You might get some weird looks; then again, when it’s 1:30 a.m. in Lau, the standard of weirdness goes way down. People might even join in.

It may sound ridiculous to make such a regimented study playlist, but desperate times call for desperate measures. So, friends, as we embark on a new semester, add the concept of “The Soundtrack to Getting Sh!t Done” to your arsenal of study skills, and I promise that those nights in Lau will be easier to bear.

Allie Prescott is a junior in the College. AMPLIFY appears every other Friday in the guide.

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