Sometimes on those long car drives and early morning getting-ready sessions, even your favorite playlist doesn’t provide the mental stimulation a good podcast can. From comedy to poetry, here’s a few favorites for any student looking to get those brain waves going:
Episode length: 2-3 hours
If you like conversational, interview-based podcasts, this hits the spot. Comedian Pete Holmes brings on fellow comedians, musicians and the occasional spiritual guru. Holmes gets “weird” with guests, talking about everything from comedy to theories about the afterlife. Previous guests include Andy Samberg, Jenny Slate, Jon Hamm, Eric Andre and John Mulaney.
This podcast may make you feel like you’re grabbing a bite to eat with old friends.
Episode length: 1 hour
"Fresh Air" is the high art of podcasts. Artists, writers, directors, photographers, political analysts and public figures join Terry Gross for conversations that are hard-hitting, often topical, inspiring and informative. Gross’ expert interview skills and decades of experience on this long-running show will make you feel smarter than before, more informed and ready to impress your professors by saying, “This reminds me of a fascinating interview I heard on 'Fresh Air.'”
Each podcast can be found on NPR.
Episode length: 1-1.5 hours
Jamie Loftus and Caitlin Durante have created a nearly perfect podcast in "The Bechdel Cast." Modeled after the media metric called the Bechdel Test, the two bring on a guest, typically a fellow comedian, to discuss their favorite movies through a feminist lens. The show may make you rethink media, laugh at tropes you didn’t realize exist, and begs you to consider how poorly movies often treat women. (Spoiler, most movies don’t pass the test.)
Episode length: 1 hour
English nerd? Poetry lover? This is the podcast for you. Hosts and award-winning poets Danez Smith and Franny Choi bring on guests to discuss poetry and activism through art on this biweekly show. Sponsored by the Poetry Foundation, this podcast features the most talented poets of our time in intimate conversations about craft, inspiration and, of course, poetry.
Episode length: 15-45 minutes
Alright, fellow Redditors — hands off the keyboard for this forum filled adventure. "Endless Thread" is a wacky look into the Wild West of the internet: Reddit. This show looks deep into the corners of the massive site to share funny stories, weird happenings and interesting subcultures you might not find on the front page of the site. The hosts bring a refreshing personal twist to this strange but addicting podcast.
Episode length: 45-60 minutes
In this podcast, married comedians Moshe Kasher and Natasha Leggero team up to talk about their lives, comedy and the main focus of the show: helping call-in guests with relationship issues. The show is based on Kasher and Leggero’s hit Netflix special. This bit-filled show is gut-bustingly funny and refreshingly sincere.
Episode length: 20-40 minutes
If you’re a politics nerd or just someone who wants to learn more, this is the podcast for you. "Civics 101" simplifies complicated topics about the government, politics, money and other things your high school likely failed to teach you about before sending you out into society. The episodes take place in several, three-to-four show series about certain topics and break it all down into educational but digestible bites.
Episode length: 40-60 minutes
This highly rated podcast documents interviews with career women, mainly those who work in the beauty and fashion industry. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the hustle of women making it happen in business and the advice and stories they have to offer. Hosted by Hillary Kerr, founder of Who What Wear, this is an inspiring look into the lives of women smashing glass ceilings over and over again.