Perhaps you clicked on this article expecting a list of podcasts that will help you ace finals or study more efficiently, or how to make a 4.5-page paper into 5 pages by pure paragraph manipulation. Sorry! This is not that article.
In my opinion, the best thing you can do in college, and the thing I regret most not doing, is to learn outside the classroom. The more time you spend reading and learning about the real world and things outside of your current classes, the more well-rounded you’ll become, and the more you’ll have to offer both in the classroom and after graduation.
Here are seven podcasts I don’t go a week without listening to, and that I really wish I had started listening to in college:
I cannot say enough good things about this podcast. Each podcast is centered around one big idea, but most have a number of stories throughout. It’s mostly an investigation of something new and scientific, all told through musical prose and magical stories. The show is insanely well produced, so they only have a new episode maybe once a month, but the good news as a newbie is you can go back to the archives and enjoy every single one.
Start with: Apocalyptical
If for some reason you have never heard of Freakonomics, a fairly popular concept that has been published in books throughout recent years, the creators explore everyday problems with economic solutions. Their tagline is, “the hidden side of everything,” and it’s spot on. You’ll learn a lot of useful things for both inside and outside of the classroom, and you may even learn how to better your life in very specific ways. I listened to their podcast on the topic of sleep several times and it led to me adjusting some of my own sleeping habits.
Start with: Failure is your Friend
3. Savage Lovecast.
This one is a little different than the others on here. Dan Savage is a sex columnist and his podcast is not to be missed. He has a political rant at the beginning of each episode, but the rest is fielding questions about sex and relationships from listeners. The questions come from every single age, sexuality, interest, etc. For anyone with an open mind, this is a must-listen!
Start with: Episode 460 (though seriously they are all good)
4. TED Radio Hour
This NPR podcast is a more popular one – each episode has a theme and features different TED Talks throughout. These are inspiring, educational and just downright interesting.
Start with: The Unknown Brain
5. Keepin’ it 1600.
This is a newer podcast, but given the wild events of this election season, I think it’s definitely worth a listen. It’s a political podcast that publishes once a week and covers the news in politics from that week. They have a pretty impressive list of guests, and it’s a good, easy way to keep up to date on what’s happening in the world if you don’t have a ton of time to invest (and who does in college?)
Start with: The most recent one available! You can easily subscribe on Itunes or the Podcast App.
Similar to the every popular NPR podcast This American Life, Invisibilia is made up of stories about people. It focuses on invisible forces that control and lead behavior, emotions and assumptions. Its second season premiered in June, with new episodes available for listening throughout the summer.
Start with: Fearless
7. Mental Illness Happy Hour.
This one is a little rogue, but it’s actually the podcast that got me into podcasts. The host interviews one person every episode, and they can be up to two hours long. So it’s a commitment. But he talks to people about mental illness, tough upbringings, addiction and even just having a bad week. It’s like listening to a therapy session – and it’s fascinating. I recommend this to college students because even if you aren’t going through a rough patch, it can help build a bit of empathy for what other people go through. And if you are going through a rough patch – this will help you feel not so alone.
Start with: Melissa Broder, So Sad Today (and then buy her book with the same title you won’t regret it!)