Spring is finally here, and summer is totally within reach. Thank god. A lot of vacation plans might not be working out, but for many people, this time of year really means the end of the school year. Whether your graduation ceremony is happening or not, it’s definitely a time to celebrate regardless. Step one? A killer playlist of the best graduation songs.
And no, not “Pomp and Circumstance,” because there are a lot of other songs out there that are perfect for graduation. Whether you’re graduating in 2020, celebrating someone who is, or just feeling nostalgic, here are some of the best graduation songs of all time.
“Good Riddance” (Time of Your Life) —Green Day
We’ve all heard this song hundreds (if not thousands) of times before, and for good reason: It’s a classic about moving on and taking your memories with you. “It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right/I hope you had the time of your life,” read the lyrics in the chorus, but we all already knew that, because who doesn’t have this one memorized?
“Graduation” —Vitamin C
Calling all ’90s babies! This one’s for you. This Vitamin C song has been played at just about every graduation since the song first came out in 1999, but it’s easy to see why. The song is about graduating, moving on to the next stage of life, and wondering where you and your friends will be in the future—emotions we’ve all experienced during a transition like this one.
“Unwritten” —Natasha Bedingfield
Not only is this the theme song from The Hills, but it’s also the theme song for anyone who’s about to embark on an exciting new adventure. You’re heading into the unknown, but there’s something awesome waiting out there, trust! Just like Bedingfield sings in the song, the rest is still unwritten.
“Moment 4 Life” —Nicki Minaj
Even though some people are ready to move on and never look back, plenty of graduates are already feeling nostalgic for the years they spent in high school and college. Sound familiar? “Moment 4 Life” is for you. Nicki wants to keep that moment 4 life (get it?), because she feels so alive…and celebrating the end of an era can definitely feel like that too.
“See You Again” —Wiz Khalifah feat. Charlie Puth
This song was originally meant to memorialize Paul Walker in Fast & Furious 7 after his passing, but it can also work for any situation where we’re saying goodbye to a good friend who we might not see for a while.
“The Climb” —Miley Cyrus
This one’s a little cheesy, but it’s also kind of inspirational if you think about it. Like Miley is telling us in the song, it’s all about the climb, and getting to the point where graduation is finally happening is one heck of a climb. And since Miley still performs the song to this day, it seems like she agrees it’s totally relevant.
“Started From the Bottom” —Drake
When this Drake single came out in 2013 (and for years afterward) it seemed like every single Instagram caption included the lyrics “started from the bottom, now we’re here.” And now, for the sake of graduation, it might be time to whip those lyrics out one more time, because you did start from the bottom, and now you’re here, with a degree. That’s worth celebrating!
“Everybody’s Free” (To Wear Sunscreen) —Baz Luhrmann
This song was written to dispense advice to the graduates of the class of 1999, but it definitely still applies in 2020. Floss your teeth, try not to be jealous of other people, spend time with your family, and don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts—yep, this kind of advice could apply to us all.
And yes, please wear sunscreen. Your skin will thank you.