The month of June is nearly over and a third of my summer break is gone already. Where has the time gone? Each summer break since leaving for college, I realize that I often discover something new about myself. This summer is no different. Living alone for the first time in an apartment has given me the opportunity to re-evaluate myself and listen to my inner thoughts. And to be honest, my inner thoughts are not that nice sometimes. In order for my internal self to develop into a mind that I’m comfortable with, I sought out different sources for advice, self-help tips, and just listening. Among those sources were my friends, memoirs, self-care Youtubers, and podcasts – bringing me to this week’s topic: podcasts.
How did I discover podcasts?
My first interaction with podcasts was in high school. My tenth grade English teacher introduced the class to different media outlets like The New Yorker (which I still read regularly to this day) and the podcast, This American Life. In twelfth grade, my genetics teacher assigned a Radiolab podcast for homework. Back then, I thought the podcasts were super cool and more engaging to listen to than I originally expected but I didn’t listen to them regularly.
When did I start getting into podcasts?
I think I started getting into podcasts when I held a summer job that was purely data entry in high school. Season 1 of Serial had been popular for about a few months by then and I wanted to know what the hype was about. As a result, I would listen to episodes of Serial while I was doing mundane and repetitive tasks. Serial is a podcast that talks about real-life stories; in season one, it talked about the confusing details of a student’s murder. After finishing Serial, I actually didn’t get into other podcasts until years later. (And I still haven’t listened to Serial’s Season Two yet.)
How did podcasts become part of my routine now?
When one of my favorite YouTubers, Simon and Martina, started a radio show for SBS PopAsia, an Australian radio station, I decided to tune in through Whooshkaa. After a while, their radio show ended, and they continued making recordings through podcasts. By then, I became acclimated to listening to them for half hour each week.
Podcasts are great for when you’re doing something that requires little brain power. I listen to them when I’m cooking, cleaning, tidying, showering, etc. It’s a great way to get information without staring at a screen, and it forces you to listen actively.
What types of podcasts do I like to listen to?
I wish I can say that I listen to This American Life and Radiolab and all those news-like podcasts during my free time, but in all honesty, I don’t. I read so much of local, national, and international news daily that I realized that my brain has a limit to the amount of politics that I read each day. My time for podcasts is for reflection, stress relief, and self-care. I see podcasts as a way that I practice self-care.
If you were to look at the podcasts that I regularly listen to, they can probably be divided into several categories: self-care/life advice, comedy, and slice-of-life. I really enjoy listening to people who I can relate to through common human experiences. Hearing others’ stories and their vulnerability makes me more self-aware of my own emotions.
What are my top 3 podcasts right now?
Simon and Martina are people who can find humor in the lowest of times and bring the best out of others. In the podcast, they share stories of befriending Japanese locals while visiting an izakaya bar, nearly losing Martina’s stuffed animal to the seawaters of Thailand, and making vacation time meaningful. As a listener, I laugh along with them as they recall funny memories. Through the podcast, I’m able to visit the places that they went to.
Bonus! Their voices are so soothing to listen to. I have been listening to them right before my midday nap on Sundays (that’s the day the podcast is released), and their voices relax me beforehand.
Perfectly Imperfect (self-care/life advice)
After 42 episodes, Perfectly Imperfect ended its run in March this year. However, through each episode, Christine Chen and Regina Fang managed to prompt listeners to understand their self-worth and invite guest speakers to share their experiences and achievements. I still haven’t listened to all of the episodes but the “Expectation vs. Reality: Your Life in Your 20s” REALLY spoke to me. I love that Christine and Regina are able to connect with their listeners on a deeper level.
This podcast is absolutely the best when you need a laugh. The podcast is recorded in the format of a live show. Audience members share embarrassing diary entries, old school papers, and the like during the show. Some of them are super cringe-worthy, others make you marvel at how self-aware some teenagers are. The podcast contains some expletives since the writing that people share may not be entirely PG or even PG-13.
Where do I listen to podcasts?
In general, you can listen to podcasts online via the podcast’s website. Some share their podcasts on Soundcloud, iTunes, or Spotify. Personally, I downloaded Pocket Casts from Google Play (yes, I own an Android) when I got into Serial so I’ve been using the same app still (but not the same phone since then – haha). I think I paid $3.99 for the app. Unlike the free podcast apps, this one doesn’t have ads and has a sleek interface. $3.99 was definitely well spent.
Currently discovering these podcasts:
Recently, I wanted to listen to more podcasts about the Asian American experience, so I found a podcast collective called Potluck. They’re basically a community of all Asian American podcasters who support one another. Below, I shared 4 podcasts (only 1 is not from the Potluck community) that I am checking out right now. Descriptions are from the podcast’s website.
“Books and Boba is a book club dedicated to books written by authors of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. We cover a wide range of genres including contemporary, historical fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, YA, nonfiction, thrillers, graphic novels, and memoirs.”
“First of All is a real, unfiltered conversation on career, family, love, & modern culture. Your host is actress/director/entrepreneur Minji Chang, who will bring in her friends & special guests from all walks of life to kick back in her virtual living room. Together we will laugh, drop whatever knowledge we have, & speak our truth on weekly featured topics plus a special advice segment called IMO (In My Opinion) addressing questions from listeners. Get ready for good times & all the feels.”
“Hosts Jeff Yang and Phil Yu present an unfiltered conversation about what’s happening in Asian America.”
Sweet and Sour (non-Potluck podcast)
“Sweet and Sour is a podcast about being Asian in America. Co-hosted by two sisters Katie and Nicole Zhu, the show covers the intersections of our identity with culture, work, and lifestyle.”