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The Best Podcasts To Listen To If You’re a Commuter Student (Like Me)

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Riverside chapter.

I have been commuting to UC Riverside for three years. I only live about 30-35 minutes away, but with California traffic, and constant freeway construction that 30 minute commute can turn into much longer. I am quite used to my commute and although traffic and scary mazes of k-rail can be stressful, one thing that has gotten me through three years of commuting is podcasts. I love listening to music and jamming out while driving but more often than not I enjoy putting on a podcast. My commute takes up a big chunk of my time and listening to podcasts is a way for me to stay in the know about topics I care about and to learn new things. So if a long commute is a part of your daily routine like me, here is a list of my favorite podcasts!

  1. Armchair Expert with Dax Shepherd

Armchair Expert is the first podcast I listened to. My favorite thing about Armchair Expert is the variety of shows they have in production. Under the Armchair Expert podcast umbrella are nine different podcasts all based on different topics. There is “Experts on Expert”, a podcast where Dax and his co-host Monica Padman sit down with experts in their fields such as the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. They also have “Armchaired and Dangerous”, a podcast where Dax and Monica team up with David Farrier, a New Zealand filmmaker, to debunk conspiracy theories. 

My top three favorite Armchair Expert podcasts are “Race to 35”, “We Are Supported By”, and “Synced”. “Race to 35” centers on Armchair Expert co-host Monica Padman and her best friend Liz Plank as they begin the journey of freezing their eggs. “Race to 35” is an emotional collection of episodes about the two women’s fertility journeys, and the highs and lows of balancing successful careers with motherhood in a world that makes it difficult to have both. The Armchair Expert show “Synced” came to fruition after “Race to 35” ended with Monica and Liz returning to talk about anything from relationships, work, politics and culture. With a section of each episode dedicated to listener questions, it is a podcast firmly entrenched in the power of community and celebrating female friendship. Finally, “We Are Supported By” is another Armchair Expert podcast celebrating female empowerment. The 10 episode podcast is hosted by Monica and Kristen Bell. Throughout the podcast Monica and Kristen spoke to guests like Oprah Winfrey, Malala Yousafzii, Gloria Steinem and other female trailblazers. The final episode of “We Are Supported By” was an inspiring and hope-filled one at that, with Monica and Kristen sitting down to talk to young women and girls and asking them a simple question: “what do young women feel these days?” 

Armchair Expert always leaves me curious and the variety of guests they speak to has led me to learn about things I never would have thought about. If you are looking for an insightful, but also funny podcast, this one’s for you. 

  1. Archetypes with Meghan Markle

Archetypes with Meghan Markle is another podcast I love that focuses on the empowerment of women. The unique aspect of this podcast was that as the title suggests each episode focused on a very specific stereotype attributed to women. Episodes included “The Duality of Diva with Mariah Carey”, an episode that dove into the negative connotations associated with “diva” and whether or not being a “diva” means standing up for yourself. Another episode “The Demystification of Dragon Lady with Margaret Cho and Lisa Ling” explores the stereotype of Asian women being deceitful, and domineering. My favorite episode is “Upending the Angry Black Woman Myth with Issa Rae and Ziwe”. This episode truly makes you think about the labels placed on women, specifically women of color in order to oppress them and asks the question: does setting boundaries and asserting your opinion make you angry? This episode in particular is one of my favorites because I love Ziwe. Her gen z-esque critique of culture and stereotypes is witty and triggers your critical thinking. Archetypes is produced in a similar way to NPR as the episodes switch from formal interview segments to casual chats between Meghan Markle and her guests. Although Archetypes is no longer in production, it is always a great podcast to go back to. It is thought-provoking and endlessly interesting to listen to on long drives. 

  1. Office Ladies with with Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey

Taking a break from podcasts that focus on the analysis of society and culture, my next favorite podcast is Office Ladies. Office Ladies began in 2021 and is hosted by Jenna Fischer who played Pam Beesly on The Office television show and Angela Kinsey who played Angela Martin. The show follows both women as they rewatch each episode from pilot to finale and as they say in their theme song, “break it down in a way that only two people who were there can tell you”. 

The Office is one of my all-time favorite shows, and Office Ladies is definitely for the die-hard fans. In each podcast, Jenna and Angela break down the series with facts and memories about shooting and production. They deep-dive into the scripts and share hilarious anecdotes from their time on the show. They occasionally will bring on an old costar to discuss the episodes and they have had most of the cast on the show, including Steve Carrell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Ed Helms, and more. 

The thing that makes Office Ladies special is definitely the bond between Jenna and Angela. During the show, the ladies became best friends and listening to two best friends chat is so fun. It reminds me of talking with my besties. If you are a die-hard Office fan and want to know everything there is to know about the show, definitely take a listen. 

  1. Call Her Daddy with Alex Cooper

Another podcast that is pure fun is Call Her Daddy with Alex Cooper. Call Her Daddy is actually the most listened-to podcast by women on Spotify, and whenever I am driving and want some big sister advice I tune in. Alex talks about the things we are all afraid to talk about when it comes to guys, relationships and womanhood. Whether Alex is interviewing a celebrity or it is one of her iconic solo episodes where she muses about whatever is going on in her life, Call Her Daddy is the perfect mix of raunchy-comedy and practical life advice. Most of the Call Her Daddy episodes are like a therapy session with a therapist who is also your best friend.

My favorite episode of Call Her Daddy is Alex’s interview with Jane Fonda entitled “The GOAT”. In the episode Alex and Jane talk about the power of female friendship, and the highs and lows of Jane’s life including her battle with bulimia, being divorced three times and her life as an activist. The best part of the episode? When Jane admits to not having figured life out until she was in her 60s. It is a candid interview with arguably one of the most successful and popular actresses of the 1970s, and incredibly inspiring. Call Her Daddy is another podcast that has so much variety you never know what you’re gonna get.

I love listening to podcasts as I drive to and from school whether it be for education, news, culture or a good laugh. Podcasts have been a saving grace for me during my commute to school, and I highly recommend exploring the medium. The great thing about podcasts is how many there are, so you will definitely find ones to enjoy. Happy Driving! 

Emily Manus

UC Riverside '25

Emily is a fourth-year, currently pursuing her BA in Public Policy with a minor in Media and Cultural Studies. She is passionate about writing about the issues that are important to her as well as the UCR community. Emily's interests include the arts, media, and culture.