Next month, more than a million college students, myself included, will walk across the commencement stage to receive our diplomas. For many of us, that excitement comes with the sudden awareness of a long list of life skills we haven’t yet learned as well as a few we are very happy to have managed to figure out. Here’s a few podcasts that have helped me stagger into adulthood so far and the skills you can learn from them.
Understand Your Taxes
Most of what I know about money comes from Planet Money one of NPR’s longest-running podcasts. NPR started Planet Money in 2008 to cover the financial crisis. Since then, they have had nearly 700 episodes, covering everything from the earned income tax credit to the boom in dinosaur fossil prices.
Host a Dinner Party
Dinner Party Download cover art. Photograph: American Public Media
Dinner Party Download is one of the best culture and food podcasts. It organizes discussion of culture, news, and food around the theme of putting on the perfect get together. In each episode, they interview musicians about what songs they would play at a dinner party, they talk about interesting news stories from the week (which you could then bring up at a dinner party and sound well-informed), and they give recipes for food and cocktails that you can serve your guests.
Be Polite in Every Situation
Awesome Etiquette cover art. Photograph: American Public Media
Although an etiquette podcast may seem like an anachronism, Awesome Etiquette brings etiquette into the 21st century. The podcast is hosted by Lizzie Post and Daniel Post Senning, the great-grandchildren of famous etiquette writer Emily Post. Of course they talk about classic etiquette questions like how to set a table, but they also give advice on when to give spoiler alerts for movies and how to deal with that long hallway greeting — when you see someone walking towards you from the other end of the hallway and don’t know how long to wait before you say hello.
Start a Business
StartUp covert art. Photograph: Gimlet Media
The millennial generation is known for its tech startups from Facebook to Snapchat. So, if you’ve got some of the basics down and want to do something big like start your own business, StartUp is a great podcast to help you understand what you’re getting into. The first season of StartUp follows Alex Blumberg, who left his job as co-founder of Planet Money in 2014 to start his own podcast network. Over the course of the season, Blumberg brings his microphone with him everywhere, recording meetings with venture capitalists, discussions about money with his wife, and working with brand designers to name the company. By podcasting this process, he brings you into the parts of founding a company that are usually kept behind closed doors.