There’s nothing quite like a great concert to get your blood pumping again.

I mean, let’s be realistic — this is just a bad time of the year for almost any college student. Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is still almost a month away, the weather is getting colder and colder (with no end in sight) and almost every professor on campus, it seems, is all of a sudden upping the workload by quite a bit. Is it any wonder we all suffer from the occasional burnout?

I’m no exception to this rule, as the past few weeks are all a big blur to me. Between exams, work and trying to find time to reassure my friends that, no, I haven’t vanished into thin air, I feel like just sleeping for about three days. But when two friends called in the span of three days, offering me a free ticket and a free ride to the Andrew W.K. concert in Milwaukee Tuesday night, I decided it was time to take a night off and just forget about school entirely.

Of course, things are never that simple — I ended up squeezing in a paper-writing session right before we left — but in all, the trip really did me good. I got to hear some great music, jump around like an idiot and hang out with some friends I hadn’t seen in awhile. And when I got home, I got to just go to bed, rather than stay up late writing that dreaded paper. Yes, it was definitely a happy day.

Experiences like this make me wonder sometimes why we stress ourselves out so much and remind me of just how simple it is (once in a while, anyway) to just relax and take a night off. But for me, it’s not just the night off that did me good — it was the music that went along with it.

As most of you probably know by now, I’m a firm believer in the notion that music can do wonders for your mood. It can enhance it, make it worse, even create a mood out of nowhere. There’s music for every situation in your life, and it would do all of us good to remember that sometimes.

I’ve found that two of the best times to let the music take you away are at the beginning and the end of the day. I’m one of those people, annoying to some, I’m sure, who wears headphones almost every time I walk anywhere that’s a reasonable distance away. This is especially true when I’m walking to my first class of the day, a time when I’m usually not completely awake.

If you were to check out my playlist at this sleepy time of day, you’d most likely find a smattering of loud, obnoxious rock ‘n’ roll. The aforementioned W.K. usually tops the list, as I don’t know anyone who can listen to “Party Hard” and not want to, well, party hard.

In the morning, if it’s not loud, it doesn’t get the job done. I get the feeling that if I were to listen to Coldplay while walking to class I might just fall over asleep in the middle of the Johnson Street construction.

During the day, I find that non-distracting music works best for me. If I’m studying, I need something that can just blend into the background, not something that will jump out at me with lots of tempo changes and clever lyrics. One of my personal “studying favorites” is Aphrodite, a DJ who manages to create tracks that are both interesting and easily blendable into whatever situation I’m in.

Falling-asleep music is easily the most important music of my day, and if you make it a habit to throw on a CD when you’re dozing off, it’s incredibly hard to get used to falling asleep to the quiet again.

Mock me if you will, but remember The Crash Test Dummies? Yep, I’m talking about the mid-’90s group that rose to (semi-) popularity with “Mm Mm Mm Mm” and promptly disappeared. But have you ever given that CD a chance? It’s really quite nice to fall asleep to.

Another great sleeping CD is “Legend,” by Bob Marley and the Wailers. I realize that sounds very stereotypically “college,” but it’s so laidback it’s hard to feel anything but relaxed when you’re listening to it.

So if you’re as stressed-out as I am at this time of the year, pop in some mood music and just forget about the outside world for a while. Or check out one of the fantastic shows coming through the Madison area over the next few weeks and procrastinate, if only for an evening.