College Life

36 Olivia Rodrigo Lyrics to Romanticize College Life

published Sep 21, 2023
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 08: Olivia Rodrigo performs on NBC's "Today" at Rockefeller Plaza on September 08, 2023 in New York City.
Credit: Rob Kim/Getty Images

If you’re anything like me, two things are probably true.

The first is that college seems like a completely transformative time in your life. 

I feel like I’m becoming a new version of myself with every new experience school has to offer. And I know I can’t be alone in this, whether you’re so new to college that you’ve barely put a wrinkle in your twin XL sheets, or you’re a senior figuring out which classes you still need to take before graduation. Maybe you’ve made lifelong friends, maybe you’ve learned how to live on your own. Maybe you’ve gotten your heart broken, or maybe you’ve even broken some hearts. Maybe you’ve found your true passion, maybe you’ve discovered you actually have no idea what you want to do with your future. Whatever your journey looks like, it’s a metamorphosis.

The second true thing in your life right now, if we’re really similar, is that you’ve had Olivia Rodrigo’s sophomore album, Guts, on repeat, with no skips, since it came out on September 8, 2023.

And yes, these two truths are related. 

At 20 years old, Rodrigo is the same age as many college students. And while she may be off touring the globe and wearing designer ’fits at red carpet events rather than attending class and working a part-time job, her music is an apt reflection of what many regular college students are going through. So many of her songs across both her albums (plus some gems she performed as her character Nini in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series) touch on self-discovery, going through changes, and learning about the world — it’s actually surprising she’s not writing them from a college dorm room.

I believe Rodrigo is a voice of our generation, and I’ve found so much comfort in her music throughout my college career so far. Truly, it feels like she has a lyric for all the big moments — here are the ones that speak to me.

Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for MTV

Olivia Rodrigo Lyrics About Growing Up

Guts feels like a step toward adulthood. Much like the transition from high school to college, this album is a more mature (yet still super-fun) departure from the teen angst-filled Sour era and an entrance into Rodrigo’s next era of life. It’s the perfect album for staring out your dorm room window and reminiscing about everything that brought you there. (That said, there are some bangers from earlier in her career that feel like growing up too.)

  1. “They all say that it gets better, it gets better the more you grow.” — “teenage dream”
  2. “Got your whole life ahead of you, you’re only 19.” — “teenage dream”
  3. “When am I gonna stop being wise beyond my years and just start being wise?” — “teenage dream”
  4. “Forgive, and I forget, I know my age, and I act like it.” — “all-american bitch” 
  5. “Address the letters to the holes in my butterfly wings. Nothing’s forever, nothing is as good as it seems.” — “hope ur ok” 
  6. “If someone tells me one more time, ‘Enjoy your youth,’ I’m gonna cry.” — “brutal”
  7. “I miss the days when I was young and naive.” — “All I Want”

Olivia Rodrigo Lyrics That Embrace Life’s Ups and Downs

College is a lot of things, but I’ve never found it to be stagnant. For me, college has been filled with highs and lows, fresh experiences, and oh-so-many new people. This makes for lots of fluctuating feelings, which Rodrigo manages to capture beautifully. Here are a few lyrics that help me romanticize the good, the bad, and the ugly, because having my own little main-character moments throughout the day makes everything feel a little better.

  1. “It’s one step forward and three steps back, and I’d leave you, but the rollercoaster’s all I’ve ever had.” — “1 step forward, 3 steps back”
  2. “I’m grateful all the time. I’m sexy, and I’m kind. I’m pretty when I cry.” — “all-american bitch”
  3. “I try to be tough, but I wanna scream.” — “the grudge”
  4. “I am more than what I am to you. You say I’m perfect but I’ve got thorns with my petals, too.” — “the rose song”
  5. “I see everyone gettin’ all the things I want, and I’m happy for them, but then again, I’m not.”  — “jealousy, jealousy”

Olivia Rodrigo Lyrics for When You’re *Going Through It*

Rodrigo has a gift for illustrating so many universal feelings — even though they don’t seem quite so universal when you’re deep in them. These lyrics help bring me back down to Earth in those trying moments. (Because, let’s face it, if a global superstar feels the same way I sometimes do, I think that means I’m going to be OK, right?)

  1. “You fix the things you hated, and you’d still feel so insecure.” — “pretty isn’t pretty”
  2. “Sometimes I feel like I don’t wanna be where I am.” — “making the bed”
  3. “Push away all the people who know me the best.” — “making the bed”
  4. “I laughed at the wrong time, sat with the wrong guy.” — “ballad of a homeschooled girl”
  5. “I know their beauty’s not my lack, but it feels like that weight is on my back.” — “jealousy, jealousy”

Olivia Rodrigo Lyrics to Get Over Your First College Heartbreak

Who better to help with this? Mending broken hearts is kind of Rodrigo’s thing.

  1. “I loved you truly. You gotta laugh at the stupidity.” — “vampire”
  2. You said it was true love, but wouldn’t that be hard? You can’t love anyone ’cause that would mean you had a heart.” — “vampire”
  3. “I want sweet revenge!” — “get him back!”
  4. “He said he’s six-foot-two, and I’m like, ‘Dude, nice try.’” — “get him back!”
  5. “I consoled you while you cried over your ex-girlfriend’s new guy. My god, how could I be so stupid?” — “love is embarrassing”
  6. “Causе now it don’t mean a thing. God, love’s f*ckin’ embarrassin.” — “love is embarrassing”
  7. “Master manipulator, god, you’re so good at what you do.” — “logical”
  8. “Remember when you said that you wanted to give me the world?” — “good 4 u”
  9. “All I have is myself at the end of the day.” — “All I Want”

Olivia Rodrigo Lyrics to Lift Your Spirits

Not everything Rodrigo sings has to make you feel emo. These lighthearted lyrics will give you pep in your step and help you remember that college isn’t always that serious.

  1. “I can’t even parallel park.” — “brutal”
  2. “Watching reruns of Glee, bein’ annoying, singin’ in harmony.” — “deja vu”
  3. “I hope you know how proud I am you were created.” — “hope ur ok” 
  4. “I’ve got sun in my motherf*ckin’ pocket, best believe.” — “all-american bitch”
  5. “Another song, another club, another bar, another dance.”  — “get him back!”
  6. “F*ck it, it’s fine.” — “bad idea, right?”

Olivia Rodrigo Lyrics to Help You Look Forward to What’s to Come

Whether you’re stressed or excited about the future, or you just need a good tune to propel you through the finish line of exams, the semester, or something else entirely, Rodrigo absolutely has you covered.

  1. “Someday I’ll be everything to somebody else. (They’ll think that I’m so exciting).” — “enough for you”
  2. “I know my place, and this is it.” — “all-american bitch”
  3. “I’m the eternal optimist.” — “all-american bitch”
  4. “You watched me wither and now you’ll watch me bloom.” — “the rose song”

Sydney Hargrove

Media Studies

Sydney is a journalism student at Hunter College in Manhattan. When she’s not writing about decor, she’s working as an on-the-scene entertainment journalist for The Knockturnal. She loves to interview talent and write about all things film, TV, and theater. In the rare moments she’s not running around somewhere, she loves hanging out in her Midtown studio that she’s constantly decorating and rearranging.

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SchoolHunter College '25
MajorMedia Studies
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