The Literary and Arts Magazine of Lehman College

Hard Times: Embracing the Struggle


Kat’s Music and Comics Corner Vol. 2 Issue #13

It’s here. The dreaded finals week. The end of the semester that feels more like the end of the world. Everyone around me is sleep-deprived, highly stressed, achingly hungry, and on the cusp of a mental breakdown. I’ve had my share of late nights in the 24/7 hours Leonard Lief Library cramming with friends and what I’ve learned is that peace of mind in college does exist as long as you do your assignments as soon as you get them, attend all classes (and pay attention, duh), and study at least four hours a day… it really works… in a perfect world. Which we don’t live in. Anxiety and depression exist. Death and heartbreak. And the bane of every college student’s existence– procrastination. So, how do we achieve this seemingly impossible peace of mind with all these things coming at us? My coping mechanism is always music.

While you’re huddled at home or in the library with coffee running through your blood a pretty poppy tune to get you through it is Paramore’s “Hard Times”. Hayley Williams’ lyrics tell the story of a struggle with self and with others. That’s what we all go at this time of the year especially as people who are just trying to figure out if what we said we wanted a year ago is what we wanted now. That goes for careers, friends, lovers, and even family members. Things that we have been neglecting or are toxic. These are the things that she sings about. “Hard times, gonna make your wonder why you even try/Hard times, gonna take you down and laugh when you cry/These lives, and I still don’t know how I even survive.” She’s basically singing about how life ain’t easy and how it can be a cruel captor of your time, love, and energy. The song is kind of ironic because it’s a super upbeat 80s jam vibe that fools you into thinking that everything is hunky dory when really it’s spiraling downward and we’re about to hit rock bottom. That’s the mystical and funny thing about music. It could be lyrically about something sad but it can make you break out into song and dance.

The reason why I wanted to share this song at the end of the semester was that I felt like, as a struggling, emotionally distraught college student, others like myself would appreciate the throwback to a musically amazing decade and also the painfully relatable lyrics. I hope when you listen to this song it empowers you to push through the deadlines and the brutal exams. To all those who read my blog, thank you for making it all the way to the end of the semester with me. You’re the real MVP. Kat out (for now).

– Kathryn “Kat” Fornier