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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Power walk to podcasts

Looking to start your morning more productively? Here are five stimulating podcast suggestions for your walk to class.
Alexa White
Next time you need a wake-up call on your way to class, pop in your earbuds and power walk with a purpose: learning something new. (Hustler Multimedia/Alexa White)

Through wind, rain or pure loathing for anything that happens before 10 a.m., my sunrise treks to class are nothing short of a prolonged pessimistic promenade. After a subpar YES registration slot last semester burdened me with a MWF 8 a.m. chemistry lecture, I predicted that morning motivation would be rare. 

As September trickled by—amidst the simultaneous emergence of homesickness and an adamant desire for independence—I was determined to add something to my morning walks that would wake me up and prepare me for the day like a true adult. I started sprinkling in podcast episodes once or twice a week and was pleasantly surprised when I quickly found that this not only brightened my mood but made the walks pass by faster. While there were some mornings that my attention span could only handle the brainless shuffle of a Spotify playlist, I soon discovered that I was more attentive in my first class of the day after listening to a podcast.  

Contrary to popular belief, podcasts are not only used to provide background noise for middle-aged moms while cooking or for yoga gurus searching for the meaning of life; the podcast demographic knows no limits. From true crime to pop culture to the study of happiness, there’s a show out there for everyone. Once you’ve listened to every episode of College Voices, I’ve listed my current top five shows below. However, if these selections aren’t for you, just take a look at the Browse page on the Podcast app—I guarantee you’ll find some intriguing options. Next time you need a wake-up call on your way to class, pop in your earbuds and power walk with a purpose: learning something new. 

Crime Junkie 

Let me preface this one by admitting that I am a true crime fanatic. It all started in early 2015, when the podcast “Serial” became my and my mom’s entertainment of choice for long car rides to club volleyball tournaments. This series details the infamous murder of highschooler Hae Min Lee in 1999 and gained so much public support that there was a social campaign for the prime suspect, her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed, to get a retrial in 2016. After that series ended, I moved on to what would become my all-time favorite podcast, “Crime Junkie.” In both of these shows, there are various topics of heavy controversy that may be disturbing to some listeners. Hosted by Ashley Flowers and her childhood best friend Brit, “Crime Junkie” dives into a thrilling new case each episode. Not only do they give the chill-inducing facts of the case, they also explain the potential errors of the trial, preach justice for the victims’ families and provide resources to their listeners about how to react if they are ever in a frightening situation. It should also be noted that in this genre of content there are various content warnings for murder and other violent crimes that may be disturbing to some listeners. 


Textbooks are extremely one-sided. In most schools, a very particular historical curriculum is taught with little to no leeway, regardless of the intricate details of real life. Just in the past few months, debates over classroom curriculums have been extremely prominent in the news, especially in my home state of Indiana. Listeners of this podcast get to see this challenged by teenagers searching for the truth. In each episode, a different teen interviews prominent historians to try to uncover the more accurate realities of complex historical phenomena like American segregation and population control. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or not, this podcast will get you contemplating the present and future of the world around you. 

The Happiness Lab

Dr. Laurie Santos—a Yale professor who teaches the most popular class in the university’s history—is your new therapist, here to give you advice through the podcast microphone. It’s no secret that college can be a stressful time, especially during that adjustment period of the first few months of your first year. Sometimes you need something, or someone, to just validate your feelings. This podcast not only affirms the normality of a destructive internal dialogue, but it also explains the reasons behind powerful intrusive experiences like anxiety, burn-out, anger and guilt. It shows how one can find comfort in listening to other people’s stories and hearing about their subsequent resilience against the grip of discomfort. 

Anything Goes 

If you’re looking for something comforting but not too stimulating, this podcast is perfect for you. Just as the title implies, host and popular YouTuber Emma Chamberlain talks about everything from relationship advice to embarrassing anecdotes to tips on how to deal with anxiety and overthinking about social media. The setup is basically Emma’s stream of consciousness. It’s clear that there is no script—it’s just Chamberlain and her microphone, talking about life in an incredibly authentic, vulnerable, unfiltered and surprisingly raw way. 


This is also a longtime favorite of mine—a perfect mix of mystery, history and solid storytelling. Each episode is a collection of different tales surrounding a particular theme in folklore, such as the darkness of the ocean or the existence of monsters or ghosts. Typically, every episode has stories from throughout documented human history, spanning a wide range of cultures and regions. Plus, host Aaron Mahnke is an incredibly engaging narrator who will leave you wanting to learn more. If you find yourself enjoying the podcast, Amazon Prime adapted a few of the most popular episodes into a TV show. Whether you give Lore a try audibly or visually through Amazon Prime, it’s a great, if brief, escape from a hectic reality into the world of classic folklore.

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About the Contributors
Greer Fraser
Greer Fraser, Senior Staff Writer
Greer Fraser ('25) is a student in the College of Arts and Science planning to major in medicine, health and society and minor in psychology. When she's not passing time making Spotify playlists for every situation, she enjoys going to coffee shops with friends and finding tickets to last-minute Nashville concerts. You can reach her at [email protected].
Alexa White
Alexa White, Former Graphics Director
Alexa White ('23) is from Traverse City, Michigan, and is double-majoring in secondary education and English. When she isn't writing for The Hustler, she is probably teaching, reading or creating art. After graduation, Alexa plans to be an English teacher and hopes to inspire kids to love reading, writing and exploring their creativity in all forms. She can be reached at [email protected].
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Davis Works
2 years ago

Great article!