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Mihret’s Podcast Picks: Educational podcasts to keep us sharp during the holidays

By Mihret Yirgeta, December 23 2023—

It is finally December, and now that school is officially over, here are some podcasts to keep our brains sharp until the Winter semester.

Hidden Brain

Hidden Brain is an NPR podcast hosted by Shankar Vedantam which uses storytelling and science to explore the unconscious patterns that drive human behaviour. Each episode Shankar brings a new guest to answer the questions posed by a particular phenomenon. They also have a special series of episodes every so often where there’s a focus on one element. The most recent series was Healing 2.0 where Shanar discusses different elements of personal healing (e.g., apologies, grief, pain, etc.) My favourite is the Money 2.0 series of episodes.

The Psychology of Your 20’s

Very fitting for university students, The Psychology of Your 20’s is a podcast that describes the psychological research behind the different experiences we face in our twenties. The host, Jemma Sbeg, is a mental health advocate based in Sydney, Australia, and every week she talks us through the findings on the topic being discussed. Every fourth episode they bring in someone in their twenties to talk about their life transitions and what they’ve learned in their 20-something years of life. Find out what studies from the different areas of psychology have to say about impostor syndrome, first break-ups, loneliness, self-sabotage, friendships and more. 

Bitches Get Riches

This podcast, based on the personal finance blog of the same name, teaches young people about personal finance from a feminist and intersectional lens. The hilarious hosts, Kitty and Piggy, talk about everything ranging from budgeting to investing to emergency funds to getting out of credit card debt to job searching and much more! Because neither one of the hosts started from a privileged background, their financial advice is meant for people who are struggling to make ends meet and teaches the basics of financial literacy and they even go into the different aspects of identity (e.g., race, gender, sexuality, etc.) that can impact people’s ability to gain financial independence. I highly recommend listening to the podcast and reading the blog as well.

Start With This

From the creators of Welcome to Night Vale, Start With This is a podcast for aspiring writers out there. Whether you want to write a book or a script or a podcast, this show provides a space to put your ideas into motion. Each episode talks about a writing topic (e.g., Idea to execution, dialogue, rhythm and rhyme, etc.) and then listeners are assigned two pieces of homework, something to consume and something to create. It is a great way to start if you have always wanted to get into writing but did not know how to get started. 

You’re Dead to Me

This podcast is for history buffs and people who grew up watching the BBC’s Horrible Histories videos in school. With the tagline “The history podcast for people who don’t like history.. and those who do,” the host of You’re Dead to Me, Greg Jenner, brings in historians and comedians to learn and laugh about the past. Brilliantly researched and hilarious to listen to with that signature British humour, this is one of my go-to podcasts for when I want to spiral into a Wikipedia rabbit hole. 

Honourable mentions: 

You’re Wrong About: Every week the hosts of this podcast reconsider an event, person or phenomenon that has been miscast in the public imagination. Overly Sarcastic Podcast: From the creators of the YouTube channel Overly Sarcastic Productions, this is a collection of all the content that did not make it into the videos. Super funny and educational.

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