I am obsessed with podcasts. My love for podcasts began last year sometime when my boyfriend Alex wouldn’t stop bugging me about listening to a podcast he liked (probably Bill Simmons or something sports related) and thought I might like it, too. Anyway, he kept bugging me and then said maybe I’d like to listen to something about pop culture instead so he suggested I listen to Anna Faris’ podcast Unqualified. I hate to admit it but he was right—I was totally hooked. With Unqualified in particular, every new episode I listened to I felt like I was getting some kind of E! News exclusive peek inside the lives of celebrities who, in my mind, are mystical people I see in magazines or on TV. I seriously felt like a high schooler getting away with sneaking liquor from my parents liquor cabinet. It was too good to be true! For an hour I was getting to hang out, laugh, and shoot the shit with people like Mila Kunis, Jonathan Van Ness, Michelle Obama etc. Unqualified became the gateway to this new world with so options of podcasts to explore and listen to! I was/am absolutely addicted and the best part is no matter what activity I’m doing i.e. walking to the store, riding the bus, folding my laundry, podcasts transform that activity it into an instant hang out session.
At this point you’re thinking, what the heck does this have to do with dentistry? It doesn’t really, except that it kind of does—that is, for me anyway. With second year coming to a close, I think back on the challenges I faced on my journey from first year to where I am now. As I reflect on how I survived, I can remember multiple times throughout the day I just (seriously) could. not. even. As many of you know and have experienced, the first two years of school you’re with your classmates all day every day which is more time than you even spend with your significant others or family! So if I’m being honest, when you’re being thrown information left and right and you’re constantly studying for the next quiz or exam, and you’re stuck in a classroom all day with very smart type A people, let’s just say it can be a lot. So it’s nice if you’re able to break up the day and have a quick escape to catch your breath and mentally reset. Podcasts are that quick relief that takes you out of your stress if just for an hour. So for me, classes like operative became one of my favorites not just because I enjoyed it, but because I knew I could plug in, drill, and tune everyone else out while I hung out with whoever was the guest on my favorite podcast that week. Every time I struggled through prepping crowns for a bridge or I was trying not to chuck my dentures across the room because the occlusion kept changing, I was able to get through the stress because I had Conan O’Brien in my ear doing a bit about his assistant Sona calling to yell at Verizon, or Mallory and Jason from Binge Mode making the most hilariously inappropriate Harry Potter jokes (Slytherin and Chamber of Secrets, enough said).
I think what makes podcasts so special is that in this (relatively) new format, you get to delve deep and explore topics and ideas that are often cut short in a Late Night interview or YouTube clip. We’re so into that instant gratification that being able to explore a thought and feel like you’re making genuine connections is so refreshing. As we know dental school is tough and trying and really pushes you to limits you didn’t know existed and to me podcasts have brought very needed joy in these first two incredibly difficult years of school. Whether walking the halls of Hogwarts on Binge Mode or getting Unqualified relationship advice from Anna Faris, podcasts have a way of making the chaos of everyday a little more fun.
Meet the Author:
Karol Ludena is a 2nd year dental student who is very involved in UW’s Hispanic Student Dental Association and volunteering in the community. She loves rap music and corgis.