Undergraduate Leadership 2018-2019 Motivation Playlist

Since the Undergraduate Leadership is made up of students across the CUNY system, we build community through meet-ups and blogging. The activities that occur during the meet-ups vary. During our last meet-up, we highlighted one of the Leaders, Joseph Porticelli’s post about staying motivated. Joseph’s determination to succeed prompted him to discuss how he moves forward despite his challenges by listening to music. It’s one of those pieces that when I read it (while listening to my own music) I was motivated. Our program director, Lauren Melendez was also inspired and created an activity around Joseph’s blog. All of us had to write down the following:

  1. Name a song and its’ artist that motivates or inspire you
  2. What emotional response does the song evoke?
  3. What words, lines, and phrases in the song do you personally relate to?
  4. Do you believe the message of the song is relevant today? If so, is it relevant in your school, your community, the nation, the world or all of them? If not, why not?
  5. What is the message of the song? Using online sites summarize what you learned.

The room fell quiet and some Leaders were deep in thought, while others were writing away and a few even pulled out headphones. When it was time to share the songs and the choices were not as predictable as one would think. A few the songs chosen were decades older than the Leader and the genres ran the gamut from rock to pop to rap to electronic. Take a look…

“Dreams and Nightmares” by Meek Mill

“Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston

“Alright” by Kendrick Lamar

“Big Sky” by The Kinks

“LSD” by Jamila Woods

“I Gotta Find Peace of Mind” by Lauryn Hill

“Moving Forward” by Israel Houghton

“Disconnect” by Marina and the Diamonds

“What Would Meek Do?” by Pusha T featuring Kanye West

“A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke

“Around My Way” by Lupe Fiasco

“Fireworks” by Katy Perry

“Frame of Mind” by Tristan & Braken

“Turning Thirty” by Kim Kwang-seok

“Can I Holla At You?” by J. Cole

“Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd

“Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen

“Sky’s The Limit” by Notorious BIG and 112

“Time Is Running Out” by Muse

“Dedication” by Nipsey Hussle featuring Kendrick Lamar and Garren

“Titanium” by David Guetta ft. Sia

“It Ain’t Hard To Tell” by Nas

Like the variation in song selection, there were also differences in the emotions and messages that the Leaders got from their choice. The Leaders also contextualized the songs to give better insight to the questions asked. Some songs gave the Leaders an extra push like “Another Brick in the Wall” or “What Would Meek Do?” On the other hand, songs like “Big Sky” are played when they feel overwhelmed because it allows them to focus and put things in perspective. Reminders of self-love, self-care can be found in “Firework,” “Disconnect,” and “Greatest Love of All.” “I Gotta Find Peace of Mind” and “Moving Forward” provided a spiritual element that two of the Leaders gravitated towards. Others songs reminded the Leader of their life and how they see the future such as “A Change Is Gonna Come” or “Dedication.” There were also the songs that showed the complexities of being human and trying to succeed that comes with joy, hope, sadness, resistance and fearlessness, such as “LSD,” “Disconnect,” “Can I Holla At You,” “Frame Of Mind,” “Alright” and “It Ain’t Hard to Tell.”

When we went around sharing, many were surprised that others knew the song chosen because of who sang it or when it came out. During the sharing however, Lauren and I were a bit offended to what some of the Leaders considered “old music,” but we have come to terms with such opinions. In the end, the common pursuit to keep going, whether academically, personally or professionally gave us an opportunity to bond and motivate each other.

I hope you enjoy our playlist and feel free to add your song in the comments.


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