Favorite Podcasts

When I was studying for my Step 1 back in May 2016, I quickly realized how valuable driving/commuting time can be if used properly. Under the pressure of the strict Step 1 study schedule, audio lecture was one of the ways I utilized what used to feel like wasted time in the car/train. I used Dr. Goljan's Pathology lectures*. I loaded it onto my iPod and set it to play automatically whenever I turned on the car. Thanks to Dr. Goljan's colorful personality and lecture style, I almost always continued to listen through my entire trip no matter how short or far the distance. I'm pretty sure I was able to repeat some of his jokes word for word at some point.
[*I do not own Dr. Goljan's audio lectures & cannot distribute the files. I suggest using Google to find out where they can be found]

 Now that I'm living my post-Step 1 life, I rarely need to listen to audio lectures during my commute to feel productive. During long trips, I still try to make the most of my time by listening to podcasts. Podcasts are great because there is a great variety of contents you can choose from depending on your mood, kind of like Netflix for ears! Much like TV, the "listen-ability" of a podcast varies not by topic but the delivery of the content via its speakers. So I think podcast is a great way to learn about topics you normally would not have looked up yourself and escape the dreaded "med school bubble." 

I still consider myself a "novice listener" so my list isn't going to unearth any hidden Podcast gems if you are already a seasoned listener. But if you are new to Podcasts and would like a few programs to get started, you may find this list helpful! 

Freakonomics

Duration: 35-45 min/episode
About: in depth discussions/conversations about all facets of life [restaurant tipping, online dating, parenting, educational system, politics, and more] from the perspectives of economists and social scientists. 
Personal note: I can't get enough of the host's [Stephen Dubner] slightly nerdy and friendly voice in this podcast. The topics sometimes sound dry, but the program rarely is. Great source of conversation starters (as I am constantly in need of those). 

RadioLab

Duration: 30-60min/episode
About:  answers questions such as "are there benefits to hunting endangered species?", "exactly how much do you want to know about your Korean celebrities?", & " how far should lawyers go to provide the best defense to the worse people?"
Personal note: I always feel smarter after listening to RadioLab. They once did a story on Henrietta Lacks (unwitting donor of famous HeLa cells still used as immortal human cell line) & I found it so interesting that after I reached my destination I sat in my car until the end of the podcast.  

Serial [season 1]

Duration: 30-50min/episode
About: a 17-year old high school student gets convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend. Did he really do it? 
Personal note: this podcast has been very popular so I'm sure many of you know about it but in case you don't--  once you start, it'll be hard to stop listening to this season. I once read that a woman ran her marathon while listening to the podcast. Prepare yourself! Undisclosed is sort of a spin-off podcast started by a family friend of Adnan Syed [the person discussed in Serial season 1]. Undisclosed season 1 discusses Adnan's case in much in depth. I'll be honest- I did get a little bored by all the nitty gritty details by about episode 10 but I thought the first half of the season was excellent. I couldn't stop thinking about it for about a month. Undisclosed now has moved on to season 2 where they investigate wrongful conviction cases. 

The Moth

Duration: usually ~20 min for the regular podcast & ~60min for Moth Radio Hour (collection of favorite stories)
About: true stories told live by storytellers. Some hilarious, some tragic-- it's basically a live version of Humans of NY but from all over the country. 
Personal note: this podcast has me literally laughing out loud or tearing up in my car depending on the story. The Moth also hosts live events throughout the country and I highly suggest it! 

Other favorites: TED Radio hour, This American Life, Reply All

 

What are some of your favorite podcasts?