Over the winter break, while everyone was working to save up for the upcoming semester, enjoying a sunny vacation, or catching up with family and friends, I was confined to my bedroom with the blinds drawn and curtains drawn over those blinds. Now, I promise I wasn’t on house arrest or anything, I had actually made a move to fix my vision and get laser eye surgery. By far, one of the best things I did for myself in 2015, but with it came hours and hours on end hanging out in the darkness, usually by myself. Of course, I slept a lot of the time and my family and friends made efforts to keep me company, but in the hours I had to myself I ended up listening to podcasts.
Before the break, I had never listened to podcasts and rarely even heard about them. Some of my friends had mentioned them in passing conversations but I never took the time to listen to their approvals. For those (if there are any) that don’t know what a podcast is, my definition of a podcast is a series of audio files in digital format that you can stream or download onto computer or iPods – need I say audio devices? – for free. These things range on a number of topics, from History, Arts, Sciences, Business, News, etc. and can be anything from entertaining, to thoughtful, and to informative.
For me, it was a media format I had not had much experience with and something I knew my parents and grandparents had tonnes of experience with back in the day when televisions weren’t around. As I write this, I am aware that we do have the radio, but I know that when I listen to the radio my mind is usually off somewhere else; I’m focusing on driving or having a conversation. This time around, I was attentive and consumed by what was happening in the episodes. I was able to imagine what the people and places being discussed looked like or even apply what was being said to my own life and experiences. It was undisputedly the most entertained I had been in a while; I was way more engaged than I was ever with T.V. or movies and, to be honest, it’s changed how I entertain myself now.
Since my week long stint in the darkness, I’ve been listening to more podcasts and watching less T.V. and listening to less music. When I’m at home doing chores, I’m listening to a podcast; when I’m on transit on my way to school, I’m listening to a podcast. I feel like I’m interacting with something when I’m consuming this type of media, and I feel like my brain is more active now than it was before. It may be weird to say, or sound strange, but since I’ve started listening to podcasts, my dreams have become significantly more vivid and memorable. It may be just an odd coincidence but I personally think there is some sort of relation between the two.
If you’ve never tried listening to podcasts before, I recommend you do; it’ll be a nice change from what you’re probably used to. Below is a list of 5 podcast channels I’ve found or have been referred to that I would recommend for anyone, no matter what they were interested in. There is something for everyone, and if nothing below appeals to you, head to the iTunes store and check out the endless number of other podcasts free for you to enjoy.
- Serial *if you like Making A Murderer