Sometimes I just wake up on Monday mornings and think, Who thought I was ready for this? I am not convinced. I mean, I make immature decisions regularly – like the night before, when I poured some cold milk on Frosted Flakes at 9pm and called it dinner. And they believe I’m an adult! I think, still under the covers. Surely the universe will catch onto my clever little ruse.
On those mornings when I wake up unsure, I find my grounding better when I start my day with a podcast. Some inspire me to look toward the future: they feature interviews with people who started out just as unsteadily as I am and end up dreaming great things. Others are more practical and immediately applicable. All are opportunities to learn, and as you know, I get super excited about the prospect of learning. Most of all, they help me start the day with the tools and frame of mind that help me feel confident about striding boldly into post-grad life.
In other words, in career things as with fashion, I’m a firm believer in faking it ’till you make it. That is, you can only be great at something if you’ve first convinced yourself that you can be great. Right?
So in the mornings, when you feel like a fraudulent adult, hit play and start convincing yourself that you’re a competent, self-sufficient human being. As with fairies and Disney logic, the magic starts when you believe.
1. Adulthood Made Easy
Extra points for being the most straightforward title. Each episode gives tons of practical information on some aspect of starting out after college – in other words, all the things you need to know but have been intimidated to ask.
Imagine my profound sigh of relief when I found out they had an episode titled “Beginner’s Guide to Healthcare.” This podcast ended in February, but its archives are a treasure trove.
2. How I Built This
Kate Spade’s handbag empire started with a dream in a dingy New York apartment. If this reminds you of your life (and your dingy apartment), NPR’s How I Built This will resonate with you. The inimitable Guy Roz interviews founders of the brands that shape our lives, and the result is unbelievably absorbing.
3. Oh Boy
When I was in high school, I used to buy used fashion magazines from the library’s discard box for a dime. I’d pore through fragile copies of Teen Vogue and marvel at how it all came together. Four years later, the world of fashion media has readily embraced podcasts, and I couldn’t be happier.
Oh Boy is a podcast from one of my favorite blogs, ManRepeller. If you’re familiar with the blog, you’ll recognize the smart, tongue-in-cheek banter in filmmaker Jay Buim’s interview style. He chats with up-and-comers in fashion, the arts, tech, and beyond.
4. La Poudre (or any podcast that isn’t in English)
If you’re trying to keep up a language after school, listening to podcasts is a great way to passively practice comprehension. In La Poudre, host Lauren Bastide speaks with female leaders and innovators in a variety of fields. And the intro music makes me feel like a badass.
If you’re also trying to keep up your French, start with the interview with my favorite blogger, illustrator, and entrepreneur Garance Doré.
5. Code Switch
Yet another gem from NPR. Each Code Switch episode tackles a salient issue with race and identity in America. It’s hosted by NPR journalists of color who, besides just being extremely astute, excel at presenting challenging issues for cultural insiders and outsiders alike. (Kat Chow, if you’re reading this, I am your biggest fan.)
My favorite episode is from last year but is now seasonally appropriate: “The Horror, The Horror: ‘Get Out’ and the Place of Race in Scary Movies.”
Can we just revisit (and maybe revise our opinion on) the self-deprecation in the opening paragraphs? The thing about post-grad life, as I’m slowly learning, is that you don’t have to be ready for it. You just have to be open-minded, gather your resolve and face your newly-discovered shortcomings as they come.
And in the mornings, there’s no better way to equip yourself than with a podcast and a well-balanced bowl of cereal.
Okay, I must have left out a ton. What are your favorite podcasts? Do you have any recommendations for podcasts in languages other than French? What makes you feel inspired (or at least gets you out bed?) on a Monday morning?