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Podcast Recommendations for Your Niche Moods

Sorry to say it but podcasts trump listening to music. I used to be one of those people who could not stay awake listening to a podcast for the life of me. This was before, however, I found the right podcasts. There are literally millions of podcasts out there, it’s just about finding the ones that pique your interest. Podcasts are the best because they can keep you either entertained or informed during times that would otherwise be wasted, like car rides or walks to class. Here are some podcasts recommendations to help you curate your list of go-to podcasts based on your mood. 

Drama Queens: For when you want to rewatch One Tree Hill, but you’ve already seen it too many times

Drama queens is a really fun one. Actresses Bethany Joy Lenz, Hilarie Burton, and Sophia Bush (who play Haley, Peyton, and Brooke on the show) talk about their experiences working on One Tree Hill. On each Drama Queens episode, they dissect an episode of One Tree Hill. It’s like rewatching the show, but getting the inside scoop on the drama, scene logistics, and opinions of the cast. You can tell that Bethany, Hilarie, and Sophia are close friends, which gives the podcast a sense of authenticity that other shows lack. Not only do we get to hear about those three growing up on the set of One Tree Hill, but other cast members make guest appearances on the podcast to share their experiences, too. 

The Mindset Mentor: For when you hit that mid-semester slump and desperately need some motivation

The Mindset Mentor is a show that gets you to introspectively evaluate how you think and approach life. Because each episode is only 20 minutes long, you receive great advice without irrelevant tangents. Episodes include “Self-Discipline: The Key to Self Love,” “6 Steps to Be More Productive,” and “Are You Actually Committed to Your Goals?”The Mindset Mentor isn’t a show you listen to for entertainment, but rather for guidance on making changes in your life. After listening to one of these episodes, it’s go time on the homework assignments. 

The Happiness Lab: For when you want to learn about happiness

Okay so I doubt very many people have a prevailing desire to understand the scientific research on happiness, but once you know about this podcast, you may be intrigued to learn more. The host, Dr. Laurie Santos, teaches a class called “Psychology and the Good Life” at Yale University that became so popular she decided to make a podcast. Basically, I am telling you that listening to this podcast makes you a Yale student. Dr. Laurie Santos speaks on how griping, strangers, meditation, helping others, grades, and so much more relate to happiness.

Up First: For when you want the news, but don’t have time to read it

Most people can recognize the importance of staying up to date on the news, but struggle to do so. Maybe it’s because they find it boring or maybe it’s because they don’t want to take the time to read the news, but either way, social media is likely their sole source of news. Up First is a great solution to these problems and is a credible source of information. Each morning, Up First releases a quick 10 minute brief on the three most important stories of the day. Up First is a perfect way for busy college students to stay up to date without sacrificing much of their time. 

Dr. Death: For when you are in the mood for some true-crime

Dr. Death is unlike any other true-crime podcast out there. Season one (the only season out yet) follows the story of Dr. Duntsch: the self-proclaimed best neurosurgeon in Dallas who has a laundry list of botched surgeries. The best way to describe this show is to say it’s like listening to a documentary. Throughout the episodes, interview clips of Dr. Duntsch’s colleagues and victims leave you wondering how Dr. Duntsch messed up so many surgeries and why he was never stopped.

Click Bait: For when you can’t get enough of Bachelor Nation

Click Bait is definitely my guilty pleasure. It’s bad enough to watch all the Bachelor Nation shows, but to then feel the need to listen to a podcast about it is a little much. The podcast is just too entertaining to skip out on, though. Tayshia Adams, Joe Amabile, and Natasha Parker talk about the latest updates in Bachelor Nation, review the most recently released episodes, and interview guests. The banter between the three hosts is what makes the podcast as good as it is. If you want to waste an hour of your time, but do it with a smile on your face, give Click Bait a listen. 

Freakonomics, M.D.: For when you want to have interesting topics of conversation

Freakonomics, M.D. is hosted by Anupam “Bapu” Jena who has both a Ph.D. in economics and an M.D. In the show, he investigates the interaction between economics and healthcare. To get a sense of what this actually means, here are some episode titles:

  • What Do Grocery Store Prices and Heart Surgery Have in Common?
  • Why Are Kids With Summer Birthdays More Likely To Get the Flu?
  • What Happens to Patients When Thousands of Cardiologists Leave Town?
  • Why Fridays May be Dangerous for Your Health

I have no interest in being a doctor, nor do I want to go into economics, but the intersection between the two fields is so fascinating that it keeps me listening! Plus, if you ever bring one of these topics up during a conversation, you’ll sound really smart.

Once you become a podcast person, you never look back. If you already are one, I hope you add one of these shows to your list. And if you haven’t turned yet, I hope one of these recommendations piqued your interest enough to get started. 

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Jillian Hughes

U Mass Amherst '23

Jillian is a junior at Umass Amherst majoring in biology and public health. She currently serves as the UMass chapter's treasurer. Her favorite things are traveling, chocolate chip cookies, and listening to podcasts on long walks.
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