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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

For the longest time, I never really understood the whole appeal or hype of listening to podcasts. I mean, why would I want to spend a whole hour listening to some stranger talk to me? Over time, I gradually developed a love and appreciation for listening to podcasts. They were perfect for filling up the random segments of silence throughout my day or when I just wanted something fun to listen to as I did household tasks.

I also loved the sheer variety of podcasts. I could find just about any podcast that was discussing the niche topic of the week that fascinated me. 

However, with so many different listening options, it can become slightly overwhelming when it comes to choosing the perfect podcast to listen to. If you’re like me, you may find yourself being picky with what media you choose to consume now that college is starting and we have less free time. 

To help ease this conundrum, I have compiled a list of my top five favorite podcasts that are currently on my listening rotation. Give them a listen and let me know what you think! 

Normal Gossip 

Hosted by Kelsey McKinney, this weekly podcast is all about, you guessed it, gossip. Each week, McKinney brings on a guest to deliver listeners juicy, jaw-droppingly messy, and more or less banal gossip about strangers in that guest’s social circles or from anonymized stories sent in by their listeners. Personally, my guilty pleasure is hearing someone spill all the tea, and this podcast perfectly satisfies that craving. 

This podcast gives off the vibes of sitting next to a talkative and drama-filled group while attempting to eavesdrop on their conversation about their scandalous and wild escapades. 

I would highly recommend this podcast to anyone who loves reality TV and tea YouTube channels (you know the ones). 

Episode Recommendation: “Nemesis by Proxy, with Delia Cai”

How to Start Over

In this podcast, host Olga Khazan discusses and dissects the difficulties of change while serving as a hopeful and encouraging guide to helping you start over and move forward in your life. Each episode touches on different topics such as self-forgiveness, the complexities of family dynamics, and romantic relationship struggles. This podcast is such a great comfort when you feel lost or want to change your life, but just don’t know exactly where or how to start. 

Episode Recommendation: “How to Forgive Ourselves for What We Can’t Change”

Ologies with Alie Ward

My best friend recommended this podcast to me and I have been hooked ever since. Ologies is a weekly science podcast in which host Alie Ward interviews an expert from a certain field of scientific study. Past topics and episodes include zymology (beer), lutrinology (otters), somnology (sleep), and teuthology (squids). It’s so fun being able to tune into and learn about new and unique topics each week! I would highly recommend it to everyone since there’s a scientific topic for all to enjoy.

Episode Recommendation: “Penguinology (PENGUINS) with Tom Hart” 

Life Kit 

Life Kit feels like an all-encompassing podcast that assists listeners with life’s challenges no matter how big or small. This podcast has a bevy of different hosts who consult experts for the best advice on certain situations such as starting a new job, talking to others about mental health, or how to deal with online harassment. Each episode’s format feels like an audio version of an advice column which makes it an enjoyable listening experience. 

Episode Recommendation: “A friendship expert shares the science of making and keeping friends” 

Welcome to Night Vale

This podcast is a difficult one to describe and explain. This is a twice-monthly podcast (in radio show format) that reports on community updates in the small fictional desert town of Night Vale, “where every conspiracy theory is true.” I love the deadpan and wacky humor in each episode, such as when the host, Cecil, rants about his distaste for the moon and gives some mildly concerning tips for tipping service workers in an episode concerning the disappearance of the moon. I’d recommend this to all who enjoy science fiction and zany conspiracy-theory-filled stories. 

Episode Recommendation: “The Moon is Gone”

I hope that these few recommendations have sparked your interest in exploring the multitude of different podcast genres out there. Happy exploring, and, as always, happy listening!

Vivian is an English major at UC Davis. In her spare time, she enjoys watching Studio Ghibli movies, attempting new recipes she finds online, and fiercely debating strangers on the validity of pineapples on pizza.