Campus Life the plus plus

What do podcasts and journaling have in common?

Well, music supersedes both for me...

I want to be the kind of person who listens to podcasts, but I like music too much.

I can’t study or do other tasks that require my full attention while listening to music. This means that the only quality time I get with my tunes is while I’m commuting or running errands. Don’t get me wrong — I love journalism. I read a lot of news, and when I listen to podcasts, I enjoy them. But for some reason, my love for NPR and FiveThirtyEight doesn’t tear me away from my folk and indie alternative playlists.

Maybe it’s because individual songs are shorter than most podcast episodes. Or maybe it’s frustration — I know I can read the news faster than I can listen to it. If anyone has suggestions on how I could mix more podcasts into my life, I’d love to hear them! But my commutes are, regrettably, off limits.

I’d also like to be the kind of person who keeps a journal. But every time I try, I keep it up for a few days and then get bored of it, leaving another nearly empty notebook on my shelf to be filled later with pset-related scribbles and to-do lists instead of personal thoughts.

I’ve realized that music comes into play here too, though. While I can’t capture the nitty-gritty details of my day-to-day life with a playlist, I think that playlists do a good job of recording the vibe of a special day, a particular month, or an all-too-long semester.

If you visit my Spotify profile (please don’t actually go to mine), you’ll see playlists with titles like “Nov2016” and “9/15/17.” I usually make a playlist for each month. I add some favorites, in addition to new songs I discover that month (mad props to Spotify’s Discover Weekly and YouTube’s recommendations — those are some A+ algorithms at work). I also make playlists for special occasions. For example, I made a playlist to listen to as I walked to the first day of my internship last summer, complete with plenty of feel-good songs to cancel out first-day nerves.

(FYI, there is a student discount on Spotify Premium — a play-on-demand service that removes ads — that has made my life much better.)

At the end of the day, I guess it’s a matter of priorities. I’ve loved listening to, singing along with, writing, and playing music for as long as I can remember — certainly before I cared about the following world news and keeping records of my personal life. Perhaps music is a part of myself that will always come before my other interests.