6 Reasons College Students Should Listen To Podcasts

6 Reasons College Students Should Listen To Podcasts

"Most people that I know are interested in on-demand stuff; podcasts is essentially audio Netflix." -Jordan Harbinger

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Freshman year me would have scoffed at the idea of celebrating International Podcast Day on September 30th. I used to think that podcasts were long and boring, but I could not have been more wrong.

When Spotify quietly began adding podcasts, I decided to trust Spotify's rankings and give a few a try. Now I listen to several podcasts regularly and find myself anxiously awaiting the release of the next episode. As now a 'super listener,' you can almost always find me with my headphones in and a podcast on as I go about my day.

As a college student, I have found that podcasts have had several surprising benefits such as:

1. Podcasts are free entertainment you can listen to anywhere!

I started listening to podcasts while walking around campus and working on homework. With options to download for listening offline, you are no longer constrained by data limits or wifi.

Did I mention they are FREE? Podcasts are often compared to audiobooks, but podcasts with their endless options for free seem to be the better deal with audiobooks available around $15 each. So there is no risk in trying out podcasts and finding one that works for you!

2. Podcasts are perfect for passing time.

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I have found podcasts to be just as entertaining as watching my fave TV shows, but now don't have to look at the screen leaving me free to focus. They are a great way to pass time while doing mindless chores, letting you immerse yourself in conversations or stories making you forget you are actually washing dishes. (Or as you do homework...)

3. Podcasts can provide great background noise. 

Sometimes listening to someone talk can be relaxing and help you focus. There are podcasts like the "Sleep Meditation" podcast that provides ambient sounds like a coffee shop that I like to pop on as I study to drown out all other distractions. In "Nothing Much Happens," Kathryn Nicolai calmly narrates bedtimes stories of everyday situations where nothing much happens like being in a kitchen during a storm or a walk in the woods. As a college student, this really helps me to fall asleep quickly and make the most out of my time to sleep.

4. Podcasts are usually conversations instead of stories.

Except for the meditation podcasts, most podcasts consist of conversations than story narration. The back-and-forth seems more natural and makes you feel more immersed. The conversations make me feel like I am not alone and I feel like I am actually friends with the hosts. I feel like I really know Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark of the "My Favorite Murder" podcast because of their open discussions on mental health and their interactions with fans in their minisodes where they read 'Hometown' murders or stories their listeners send in.

5. Podcasts come in many different genres. 

With such a wide variety of genres and even subsets within genres, you are bound to find a podcast that fits your style and interests. Podcasts like "My Favorite Murder" and "And That's Why We Drink" are perfect for fans of true crime who enjoy shows like Forensic Files and Buzzfeed Unsolved. Both are also comedy podcasts with the hosts giving funny spins on otherwise scary stories. Rooster Teeth is known for their gaming podcasts and Barstool Sports is, well, known for their podcasts on sports.

6. Podcasts allow you to learn about a subject or stay up to date on news. 

Podcasts are more than entertainment, they are also educational. NPR's podcasts are a great way to stay up to date on news. With "TED Talks Daily", you now have access to more TED Talks that are short, sweet and to the point with informed speakers giving you their insight on a subject. Another great podcast is "Stuff You Should Know" where Josh and Chuck tell you about common things and how they work. These are perfect for the college student who wants to grow personally and/or professionally. Plus, you will also have random facts up your sleeve to wow your friends with or win at trivia!

I hope you will be entertained and learn something new!

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

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"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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