In my short two years as an undergrad student, I have always had a difficult time dusting myself off after midterms. I’m not sure what it is, but my motivation goes as one would hardly believe. However, I have taken great comfort and found endless amounts of motivation through a good podcast. For those of you who share my love of podcasts and are looking to get motivated again, here are five podcasts that have gotten me through the semester so far.
“Up First” by NPR
“Up First” is NPR’s early morning news podcast that airs at 6:00 a.m. ET every morning. I’ve found that I definitely move a little faster in the morning when I put this on. While many news organizations have gotten on this bandwagon podcast format-wise, “Up First” is the quickest and most informative series I’ve found — and I’ve also gotten rather attached to the anchors over the past couple of weeks. The show is wonderful at covering national as well as international news that seems to be capturing the attention of large audiences — and they can always fit it into 15 minutes. I am continually impressed with the reporting on this show, and the intuition the producers of this show have. While I get motivated when I hear great reporting, I know many reading this will also feel more motivated by just being informed. For all of my news junkies out there, I highly recommend this one.
“The Bald and The Beautiful”
RuPaul’s Drag Race alums Brian Firkus and Brian McCook, more commonly known as Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamolodchikova, started this podcast amongst the massive internet fame of their Youtube show, “Uhhhhh.” The show is in the same format, with both stars talking about anything that seems to come to their minds with the occasional special guest, but the podcast does not include Firkus and McCook in their signature blonde drag queen attire. However, the humor and chaos are still out in full force, with an episode also dropping once a week. Anytime I’ve recommended this podcast, I’ve always said “If you want to feel like you’re listening to two of your friends talk in your living room while you’re doing chores, listen to this.” This show never fails to put a smile on my face — and I always feel like I’m connecting with old friends when listening to or watching this on YouTube. While this is a less motivational show, I will guarantee you’ll laugh if you ever need it.
“Anything Goes with Emma Chamberlain”
YouTube and social media superstar Emma Chamberlain expanded her hold on her fans by releasing a podcast early last year. While I will admit not being a fan at the beginning, the show has been growing on me since I found it in September. Chamberlain is shockingly wise, introspective and genuine for someone who is in her spot. Her topic-centered episodes range from “the feminine mold” to “the Met gala” and everything in between. I have become an avid listener, not only for her chaotic and dry humor but also for her advice that seems like she’s another friend of mine on the phone. I’m not sure if it’s her proximity to my age or the admission as to why she never has a video counterpart to the show, but I’ve definitely gotten excited for Thursdays when she drops her new episodes. If you’re looking for motivation, a laugh or intellectual stimulation on just about anything, I recommend this one.
“The Zane Lowe Interview Series”
Zane Lowe, the New Zealand radio DJ, currently has a radio show with Apple Music and has also been the host of this show since 2019. The show has hosted anyone from Lil Nas X to Bruce Springsteen — and I have never been disappointed by an episode I’ve heard. Lowe has an incredible ability to draw out the true thoughts of the artists and their incredible stories. I am also not a huge music nerd, but I’ve never misunderstood Lowe or his guests either. The show is informative, entertaining and fun to listen to. Some of the stories I’ve heard have left me lifting my head higher. While the format of the show is simple and a tad intimidating due to the subject matter, it’s one that anyone can enjoy.
“Pop Culture Happy Hour” by NPR
My final recommendation is one that I have been a faithful listener of for many years. Pop Culture Happy Hour is a podcast in round table format with journalists Linda Holmes, Glen Weldon, Stephen Thompson and Aisha Harris — with a pop culture-versed guest always in the fifth seat. The show drops five days a week, with some recent topics being the Netflix hit “Squid Game” and the latest James Bond movie “No Time to Die.” These four journalists are as pop culture obsessed as it gets — and I can’t say I don’t get motivated hearing how much research they do for each show that comes out. Long story short, NPR knows how to make a podcast — and they can make one for just about anyone. For my pop culture junkies that enjoy casual conversation, listen to this.