Admissions Blog

Songs That Transport Me to SIPA NYC Moments I Love(d)

By Shally Baloch '23
Posted Apr 14 2023

Note from Brianne: If there's something to know about Shally, she always has a Spotify playlist ready for any occasion. She has one curated of her favorite songs to listen while working at Admissions, Taylor Swift's classics (in her opinion), she even has one solely about songs that remind her about PA Clara. You name it, she probably has a playlist for it!

Welcome to New York - Taylor Swift

I’ll be honest, one of my greatest personal joys is after a long trip away from NYC, driving towards the city and seeing Manhattan in all its glimmering, bright beauty. Without a doubt, Taylor Swift pops into my head announcing “[NYC] has been waiting for [me].” It’s true– I feel the rush and excitement as I get mentally prepared to romanticize my life (maybe to an unhealthy degree but alas, life is a highway). Even silly little moments: uncontrollably laughing on a boba walk, sharing airpods with a friend and jamming to “What a Feeling” by One Direction, or watching the snowfall on my roommate’s fire escape as our friends enjoy their first winters, have punctuated my life as beams of sunlight and I feel so lucky to be here. T-Swift gets it right again and somehow has me deep in my feels about a place, but genuinely there is nowhere else I would rather be. 

Haye Dil - Jimmy Khan

To switch gears, this song was one of my most listened to in both 2021 and 2022 because it was the only song I listened to while studying for Micro and Macro exams. Now you might be thinking, “Shally, how could you possibly have been listening to music while studying?” Good point, my mom says the same thing. At some point in undergrad, someone told me that if you study/practice anything at 70% focus, by the time you get to the exam and can give it 100%, you will do better. I did not do any research to confirm, but rather internalized it, nonetheless. Now anytime I hear this absolute banger of a tune, I am transported back to Lehman, sitting with my problem set group trying so hard to understand Pareto improvements and efficiency or how central banks work– absolute magic. Not to be too nostalgic for not fun things but if I never go back to school again after SIPA, I will definitely miss getting snacks and holing up in the library with friends for hours before an exam. I am glad I have a song that could recreate that moment a few years down the road.

Wolves - One Direction

One of the best parts of living in NYC is how easy it is to build a community around you outside of SIPA or your workplace. I have a bagel spot where I walk in on Saturday and Sunday mornings and know that without saying anything but “good morning,” in a few minutes, I will have a warm everything bagel with egg, cheese, and turkey bacon in my hand. Or how I know the bakers at Silver Moon because after a very late night out, I get to wave to them as I head home to bed at 5 am and they start their day. Or how the halal truck outside of SIPA knows that I want a lot of white sauce, only two lines of the spicy red sauce, and more rice than chicken. It is beautiful to be known, to be seen, and to reciprocate.

So where does One Direction fit in? In another act of being known (unanticipated of course), a few friends and I showed up to a bar in the Upper West Side on a quiet Thursday night months ago. We talked and recounted our summers and at one point I decided it was time to request some One Direction. I went up to the bar and asked if we could queue songs and the bartender said yes, asking which ones. Of course at the top of my mind was “Wolves” by One Direction. In the saddest of ways, he responded “is that even a song?” Devastating. Anyways, he played it, and the rest of History (another great 1D song). Every Thursday night we show up, he lets us queue songs, gives us life advice, and now we have a new friend we may never have known if not for the community building powers of One Direction.

Pasoori - Ali Sethi, Shae Gill

Over the summer, my roommates and I tried to picnic in Central Park every day. For the most part, we were successful. We would grab our cheeses and fruits and make elaborate charcuterie boards some days, other days we’d grab pizza on the way in, and sometimes it was just our books and blankets. It could be the three of us or 15 friends we were craving to see in Sheeps Meadow. Regardless of the actual details, it was guaranteed that we would listen to “Pasoori” and maybe (most likely) listen to it on repeat until I got yelled at. Currently, it sits on a list of banned songs in my apartment (list including, but not limited to, “Driver’s License” by Olivia Rodrigo, “Missing Piece” by Vance Joy, and “Workin’ on Lovin’” by Juice) because I was unable to chill. When it is just me and my airpods though, best believe “Pasoori” is played at least once so I can remember what the sun setting after 8pm feels like.

I absolutely love living in NYC and so much of that experience has been shaped, defined, and organized by the music I listen to. Going to concerts, seeing shows on Broadway or at Carnegie Hall, listening to jazz in Central Park, and even the owl outside my window, the sounds of my NYC are so important to me. If you choose SIPA and NYC as where you want to live for the next couple of years, maybe the sounds will come to mean so much more for you, too. Here is a playlist of songs that make me feel like I’m the protagonist trying to figure out her life in an indie film while I’m on a walk. I hope you enjoy it and it makes you feel something, too.