Podcasts for Brain Food

As a college kid, I feel that it can get pretty easy to get stuck in a “bubble.” We get in ruts where we’re stuck in a routine of going to class, going home, doing homework, going to bed, and repeating the cycle. In this routine, it’s easy to tune out what is happening around you. As a history and political science major, I love being informed and knowing what is going on in the world. My favorite way to stay up-to-date with major events is podcasts. I got into podcasts a few years ago and I have been hooked ever since. They’re the best because they are so accessible and you can listen to them whenever you want. Whether you’re walking to class, driving around on a Sunday running errands, folding laundry, or making dinner, podcasts are a great way to pass the time and stay informed. If you are looking for some great podcasts, I’ve included my favorite “brain food” podcasts that are fascinating, intriguing, and you can always learn something new.

This American Life - This American Life is a weekly radio program from National Public Radio. The episodes are between 45-60 minutes long and their stories are about, well, pretty much anything. Even though the focus in mainly nonfictional/journalism, there are episodes about a diverse range of topics. Each episode focuses on a theme and uses interviews, essays, and field memoirs. With over 600 episodes, I can guarantee you can find a story to dive into. Some of my personal favorite episodes include Episode 451, “Back to Penn State”, and Episode 567, “What’s Going On In There?”

Revisionist History - This podcast was created by Malcolm Gladwell, a Canadian journalist and author. The premise of his show is to look back at historical events and re-evaluate things that were misinterpreted or misunderstood, including people, events, and institutions. As a history major, I find this utterly fascinating. It really makes you rethink and challenge what our society has previously accepted. Some of my favorite episodes include Season 3, Episode 2, “Burden of Proof,” and Season 1, Episode 2, “Food Fight.”

NPR Politics - As much as I love political podcasts, they can be hard to recommend sometimes because they can be so biased. That’s why I love NPR Politics, which is the politics podcast from National Public Radio. Since it is streamed on NPR, they try to the best of their ability to remain bipartisan. Their cast includes a panel of professionals covering topics such as the White House and Congress. They also interview members of Congress, the presidential cabinet, and experts from both sides of the political spectrum. Overall, it’s a great way to get caught up to date about everything going on in our country’s politics.