“College Info Geek” in review

Jaime Fields, A&E Reporter

It has been a few weeks since everyone was asked to stay home, and people are getting bored of watching movies, reading books, learning to bake bread and all of the other activities that their friends have been recommending. For those looking for something new to do, it might be time to start listening to a podcast. “College Info Geek” is an informational podcast designed specifically for students to help them be productive, stay motivated and get the most out of their school and work experiences.

“College Info Geek” was founded by Thomas Frank, a self-described YouTuber, author and musician. He started writing a blog in 2010, back when he was a college student at Iowa State University. Since then, “College Info Geek” has expanded to include not only the blog, but a YouTube channel, book and podcast.

The podcast is hosted by Frank and his friend Martin Boehme, the head developer at “College Info Geek.” Although the podcast used to be hosted by Frank alone, Boehme joined on as the co-host several years ago. The two open every episode with some light-hearted banter before settling into their topic of the week.

“Welcome back to the College Info Geek Podcast, the internet’s best resource for getting ahead as a student but a terrible resource for learning how to brew your own, artisanal, beautifully homemade kombucha,” Frank jokes at the beginning of Episode 266.

Although the name of the podcast is College Info Geek, the topics are relevant to a wider audience than just college students. Past topics have included everything from “How to Practice Self-Awareness” (Episode 286), to “How to Improve Your Travel Experience” (Episode 260), to “Can We Do Anything About Burnout?” (Episode 247). The discussions are backed up by research and filled with personal anecdotes and interesting insights.

The episodes are also very relevant. For example, one of the most recent episodes is called “Tom and Martin Discuss Working From Home” (Episode 291), where the hosts do just that. Although the hosts are recording from separate locations, the quality of the episode is just as good as the others, and the hosts provide some creative ideas on how to stay motivated to do one’s work even in a not-so-ideal working situation.

The show is sponsored, which means that somewhere towards the middle of each episode there is an ad provided by the hosts. However, the ads are quick and usually for educational products that the hosts stand behind. For example, Frank is a content creator on several of the platforms that he advertises for. The ads are rarely annoying, and do not detract from each podcast as a whole.

One recurring episode structure is their “Five Questions” setup, where they pick five questions from listeners that they find interesting and discuss them, spending about ten minutes on each. They accept questions through a variety of platforms.

“We take questions from you guys via…tweets, emails, smoke signals, ethereal whisperings…whatever communication medium you prefer to use,” quips Frank in Episode 261.

The two hosts, having known each other for a long time, have great chemistry. They riff off of each other well, and there aren’t any awkward pauses or much overlapping dialogue. They work well as a team, and it shows.

Sometimes, this riffing means that they take a while to get to the point, and the episodes cover so much from both hosts’ perspectives that they are always long, making this not a great podcast to listen to while doing nothing else. However, if one needs something to listen to while baking, cleaning, doing art or any other of a number of tasks, this show is informational and provides a lot of interesting ideas.

The show is almost on its 300th episode. The hosts have recently announced that the 300th episode will be the final episode of the College Info Geek podcast, but that the two will be hosting a new, similar podcast under a different name.

“I want to keep doing this, I just want to be able to talk about things that don’t fit under the college moniker,” explains Frank in Episode 290, with Boehme adding that since College Info Geek has almost 300 episodes, they have covered a lot of topics relevant to college already.

However, there are plenty of episodes to listen to while waiting for this new podcast, and there is enough content that listeners are able to pick and choose the episodes that they are most interested in — and once one is through with the episodes, there are many helpful blog posts to go through as well.

Overall, College Info Geek is an interesting and informative podcast, and even just listening to the advice feels productive. The podcast can be found on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play and YouTube, and the links to each of those sources can be found at https://collegeinfogeek.com/cast/.