Podcasts are quickly growing in popularity— and for good reason. You can listen to them while you drive, work out or just as you walk around campus between classes. You don't have to focus your eyes on watching a video and it's usually more interesting and thought-provoking than just listening to music. Whether you've already jumped on the craze or not, this list will definitely help you find your new favorite podcast.
1. Flash Forward
This podcast is perfect for STEM majors, daydreamers, and chronic overthinkers. Every week, host Roe Eveleth explores a possible future that was suggested by a listener. Some of my past favorites have included telepathy, artificial wombs, longevity prisons, getting rid of mosquitoes and art created by artificial intelligence. Eveleth then interviews experts (for input on anything from scientific logistics to political policies to psychological effects) to figure out what exactly would happen in that particular future. It's absolutely fascinating to listen to and it's easy to understand no matter your prior science knowledge.
Find it on iTunes, Google Play and the Flash Forward website.
2. Sooo Many White Guys
If you're sick of mainly hearing the voices of white guys in the media, then this definitely is for you. Host Phoebe Robinson interviews people of color, women and LGBTQ+ people on this hilarious and insightful podcast. But to make the point that everyone deserves a seat at the table, Robinson saves the last episode in each season for a token white guy. Past guests have included Awkwafina, Roxane Gay, Constance Wu, Zoe Kravitz and Tom Hanks (token white guy). While the podcasts discuss current events as well as important social issues, it's laid back style makes it perfect for a casual afternoon.
Find it on iTunes, Google Play, NPR and the New York Public Radio website.
3. Stuff Mom Never Told You (SMNTY)
A podcast for women, by women. Hosts Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin discuss what it means to be a woman in today's society from every possible angle, going from light topics about Millennial women love horoscopes to serious deep-dives like the #MeToo movement. While some of the topics refer to female anatomy (such as reproductive rights) rather than just womanhood in general, they also do try to include gender-neutral terminology when applicable.
Find it on iTunes, Google Play and the SMNTY website.
4. Coffee Break Languages
Whether you're majoring in a specific language or just trying to pass your class, this podcast is for you. It's not necessarily one that you listen to week by week, but rather you can go straight to the level you need. The first episodes are the easiest (and mostly in English), but as you go on it teaches more difficult material and is a more immersive experience (i.e. less English). Currently, the languages available include Spanish, French, German, Italian and Mandarin Chinese.
Find it on iTunes and the Coffee Break Languages website.
5. Call Your Girlfriend
When you go to college, chances are you have to deal with long-distance friendships. That's exactly why hosts Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman created this podcast. Every week, they discuss current events that are relevant to our generation today, as well as give advice on how to deal with it all. Call up your faraway bestie and discuss it, too— you won't regret it.
Find it on iTunes, Google Play and the Call Your Girlfriend website.
6. Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me
This podcast produced by NPR (National Public Radio) brings you the weekly news in a format that everyone is familiar with: a game show. Guests test their knowledge of the latest news stories, and you can follow along just the same. In a world of increasing "fake news," it's important to know what's actually happening. While on the longer side, it's perfect for any student who wants to stay informed.
Find it on iTunes, Google Play and NPR's website.
7. Bad With Money With Gaby Dunn
Host Gaby Dunn discusses everything money-related on this podcast, which makes it a necessary listen for every student. Dunn not only gives financial advice, but also dives deep into related topics such as being a content creator, the expenses of having kids and the economics of climate change. This podcast is also just as funny as it is informative, mixing expert interviews with Dunn's charm and wit.
Find it on iTunes and Google Play.
8. America From Scratch
This podcast just recently began its run (with its companion Youtube channel), but it is one of the most thought-provoking podcasts I know. Produced by PBS, the idea behind each episode is if we first built America today, would we make it the same way as we did hundreds of years ago? Discussion topics have included whether we would have a president, whether we should require military service and whether our data should have its own rights. This podcast not only informs you, but makes you think deeply about the intricacies of America in a way you never have before.
Find it on iTunes or Rewire.org.
Podcasts are meant to cultivate our interests and I hope the titles on this list have done just that. If you want to double the fun, invite your friends to listen with you and discuss it. So grab some headphones, hit play and be blown away by everything these podcasts have to offer.
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