OPINION: Educate yourself with podcasts

Doing individual research is a great way to grow and explore new ideas; podcasts help with that

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ANISSA CHAK

Depending on what you find interesting, there’s a podcast for all topics.

MEGHAN HENRY, Evergreen columnist

In a time where the next unexpected event of the year can spring up, we should be prepared by educating ourselves in every way possible. Some use books while others rely on documentaries or reading the news. But another source of information that is helpful and often entertaining is podcasts.

Whether you are strictly interested in the news or want a new perspective on something like how anxiety or depression works in the brain, there is something for you. We should be taking advantage of this wide array of educational sources.

Harlan Hoog, junior accounting major, listens to podcasts for entertainment and to stay up-to-date on his favorite sports teams. He said he agrees that these popular media outlets can be very educational.

“I really like looking at stats and what makes a team good,” Hoog said.

Besides its entertaining and convenient aspects, sports podcasts give Hoog basic knowledge. This could help him in his future career behind the scenes of sports teams by doing the same thing statisticians are doing.

“All of the teams have a few people dedicated to just the analytical perspective, so that would be the coolest job ever,” Hoog said.

Though he concedes to having learned the basics in his college accounting classes, there’s nothing like hearing from the people who are already doing what you want to do. If professors aren’t encouraging students to look for wide-ranging careers with their majors, students like Hoog may have to do it on their own.

Jaime Nolan, WSU associate vice president for community, equity and inclusive excellence, said she plans to start her own podcast with the hopes of educating young people. She hopes to do this by arming them with knowledge about a variety of important topics that aren’t often discussed in school.

“My idea is to really look at extraordinary people who are ordinary … I want to title it around the idea of repairing our shared sense of humanity,” Nolan said. “There’s a lot of things going on in our world, as you know, that are causing further damage. But who are the people who, in their everyday lives, are doing things to try to work towards that repair?”

When it comes to educating ourselves using a variety of approaches, Nolan said she is enthusiastic about exploring all the possibilities.

“When you hear a direct story and experience, you create an opportunity for true connection and empathy,” Nolan said.

This reliance on human connection — at least as a part of learning — is something our education system lacks. The introduction of the arts in forms like podcasts is a way to fill in that empty space.

Without a drive to seek out these educational opportunities, we will only ever learn from the stagnant, institutionalized education systems that already exist. Though I ultimately hope that our generation can change this stagnation, we have to start by educating ourselves in these new ways.

If we want to grow as a student — because we are never done learning — we have to be motivated to become a student of the world.