Wednesday, November 5, 2008


This semester I am taking a full load of upper level, major related courses. Needless to say I do not have a lot of free time, but when reflecting upon what I use my free time for, I realized that I end up thinking about nonhomework topics. For example, I am part of a fundraising committee for my old High School. The point is that I recharge myself not by doing nothing, but my intensely thinking and reflecting on other topics. One way I do this is by listening to podcasts.

Before I get into the specific types of podcasts I listen to, I'm going to talk about them as a medium. Firstly, they are amazingly convenient. Once I find a podcast, I subscribe either through iTunes or an RSS feed. From then I will automatically receive any new podcasts that I can listen to at my computer or through my iPod when I'm cooking or riding my bike to class. Basically I can take in new information whenever I'm usually not doing anything. I've read before about the power of audiobooks, well podcasts are just about everything good about audiobooks, but shorter and therefore even more convenient.

As for specific podcasts, I mostly focus on podcasts that will teach me something. I enjoy the stories from This American Life, as well as Radiolab, the TED presentations and other science based podcasts because they are the best way for me to learn something new about a field of study that I have little academic interaction with. I also use podcasts to keep myself updated about the news, or corporations/organizations that I want to keep updated about (Wikipedia Weekly, for example). Finally, and most importantly, I use podcasts to audit university courses. Many university's post recording of their class records. For example, right now I am auditing UCSD's East Asian Political Thought, Introduction to Western Music, and New Ideas/Clash of Cultures as well as Stanford's Geography of World Cultures. These are all courses that simply are not offered at a small liberal art's college such as the one I am currently attending. Because these lectures are available to the public for free, they are an inspiring show of the opening of academia. They have also become a great resource both for my education and my sanity as they provide me both knowledge and a respite from homework.

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