I rarely watch television anymore, so great is my love for all things audio. I especially enjoy listening to podcasts.
Podcasts are a great medium for graduate students, because our time is limited, and so is our brain space. Thinking for a living is hard, and by the time I get home (or disengage from my desk), the idea of having to listen, watch and understand anything seems like a chore.
Speaking of chores, since I’m not trying to focus on a screen, podcasts actually facilitate a lot of chore-doing in my house. From sorting my mail to doing the dishes to cataloging my sources, everything becomes a little less arduous when I have something else to focus on.
While (as I’ve made clear in previous posts) I love my history podcasts, I’ve also started branching out a bit. In so doing, I’ve re-discovered the beauty of thinking beyond one’s field.
Below are three of the blogs I’ve added to my “interdisciplinary audio” syllabus.
The Side Hustle Show
In the past couple of weeks I’ve learned something that, I have to confess, made me a little uncomfortable at first: grad students and entrepreneurs are a lot alike. At first this kind of freaked me out, because isn’t the ivory tower about escaping the drive to monetize this, leverage that, and optimize everything? Isn’t capitalism the enemy?
Well, yes and no.
Building a “side hustle”—a small business that generates supplemental income—requires a lot of the same skills that you need to build an academic career. You need to know what you’re good at, position yourself within an already thriving community, prove that you have something unique and valuable to offer that community, and—perhaps most important of all—you need to learn how to do it all with exactly zero time.
Full disclosure: I found “The Side Hustle Show with Nick Loper” because I am working on a new project to supplement my income. I didn’t just stumble upon it. That having been said, I now realize that at least some of the episodes would have been helpful to me long before I began trying to figure out how not to be poor. I especially recommend episodes like “How to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half,” ”How Side Hustlers Can Get More Done in Less Time,” and “How to Live Rent Free.”
Fair warning though: getting the information you need out of this podcast will require that you leave your various and sundry prejudices against business folk at the door.
It’s embarrassing to admit one’s own prejudices in public, but the fact is I DO indeed identify the term “entrepreneurship” with bro culture, which I DO think of as a problem. I still squirm listening to “The Side Hustle Show’s” (intentionally) sales-pitchy introduction, and frequently find myself waiting for discussions of ethics and workplace structural inequalities that, shockingly, never seem to come up. I’ve heard terms like “ROI” and “SEO optimization” and “affiliate marketing” so many times it’s made my ears bleed, but I’m genuinely glad for it. If you can listen past your own culture shock, you too will find ways to make “The Side Hustle Show” work for you. You just have to do a little bit of cherry-picking.
And no… Nick Loper did not pay me to say any of this. I wish he had.
The Domestic CEO
When one hears the term “graduate student,” it conjures images of coffee stains, towering blue books, and day-old bed head. Here’s the thing: we aren’t all slovenly creatures. Some of us actually keep nice homes and organized workspaces. Still more of us aspire to!
The Domestic CEO is an awesome podcast for Martha Stewart and Pig Pen alike, but isn’t one I would suggest for “vertical listening.” While I really didn’t need to hear the “Laundry 101” episode, the “How to Keep Your Bathroom Clean Without Cleaning” episode may have just changed my life forever. I’m not kidding.
Whether you’re interested in keeping your car clean, saving time at the grocery store, the myriad ways one can use cream of tartar, or how to style a bookshelf, chances are you’ll find something worth listening to in the DCEO feed.
The benefits of listening to this show are practical yes, but they are also psychological. Graduate student’s often think of the place they live as a transitional space instead of a home, and manage it accordingly. This… is dumb. Your life is not on hold. Your home shouldn’t be either.
Give these podcasts a listen and let me know if you agree with me! Where do you go when you need inspiration outside academia? Have you found any grad school hacks in unconventional places? Share them with the rest of the class in the comments section!
“The Six Million Dollar Scholar” is the personal blog of Andrea Milne, a Ph.D. candidate in modern U.S. History at the University of California, Irvine. To get the story behind the blog’s name, click here.