podcasts: are those actually a thing?


an early morning commute

I live 35 minutes away from the university that I attend and I live about 45 minutes away from the coffee shop where I work. During most commutes I listen to NPR news or the local classical music station. However, as this current election cycle continues to drag on and on (and on and on and on), I must admit that if I hear one more sound byte of another one of Donald Trump’s horrific speeches or another dissection of the Clinton email scandal, I will probably have to move to Canada. So, in an effort to avoid the hassle of moving to Canada (Which would undoubtedly be a huge ordeal because I’d have to learn the Canadian National Anthem which I always get confused with the “Genovia” national anthem from Princess Diaries and I would have to learn what hockey is all about.) All this to say, I simply cannot listen to the radio anymore without becoming disgusted at the current state of affairs. I can’t just drive in silence either, because with 2 hours of commuting a day, that would be a waste of my valuable time. What is the brilliant solution?

Podcasts! A friend of mine recently suggested that I listen to a podcast that she had been enjoying and I was totally surprised. Podcasts? Are those actually a thing? But guys, there are so many great podcasts out there that can really elevate an average and boring commute into an enlightening and inspirational commute. So today, I’d like to share some of my personal favorite podcasts with you. I  suggest that you find one that sounds interesting to you, download a few episodes and turn it on as you’re driving to work in the morning, walking around campus, exercising (who does that though?), or doing laundry. Whatever you might be doing, grab a cup of coffee to go, pop in your earphones, and get those brain cells working. Here are my top 3 podcasts picks.

  1. Magic Lessons by Elizabeth Gilbert: From the best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert has created a podcast that helps her listeners tap into their inner creative magic. In each episode she interviews an artist (whether it be a writer, comedian, musician) who is struggling with an artistic block of some sort, and then encourages and inspires them to overcome their fear and doubt. This podcast is my number one pick and if you listen to any of the podcasts on this list, I implore you to listen to this one!
  2. Serial by This American Life: Probably the most popular and well-known podcast, Season One of this series held me riveted. Season One follows the story of Adnan Syed, an 18 year old accused of killing his girlfriend back in 1999. Syed has been in prison since his conviction, but continues to maintain his innocence. Host, Sarah Koenig, explores the many details of the case as she attempts to answer the question: was Adnan Syed wrongly convicted? Highly recommend.
  3. Freakonomics Radio: This podcast is a strange potpourri of all things interesting. It’s tagline is, “exploring the hidden side of everything.” Kind of a broad  right? And it does indeed cover a huge spectrum of subjects,  but the host does so in such a quirky and refreshing way that is surprisingly enjoying. Some of my favorite episodes are “What Are Gender Barriers Made Of?” and “Ten Ideas to Make Politics Less Rotten.” Check out this podcast if you are interested in fresh perspectives on interesting topics.

These are personal favorite podcasts but there are thousands to choose from. We all have such busy schedules, and it’s often hard to feel intellectually and creatively productive after a full day of classes or work. Podcasts have been a great solution for me and leave me feeling like I have been productive and inspired! Who wouldn’t want that?


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