Despite the countless anxiety-ridden conversations I’ve had with friends, peers and teachers about what happens come May 8, it’s easy to feel like the only one without post-grad life figured out.
Megan Tan’s podcast, “Millennial,” is a comforting and heartwarming reminder that your twenties are not supposed to be 100 percent mapped out.
The first episode of season two of “Millennial” was released Monday, almost a year after episode one, “Welcome to Millennial,” appeared on iTunes.
I was late to the game, and binge-listened season one over winter break. Each episode touches on a different untaught lesson millennials grapple with: getting stuck in an unsatisfying job, comparing your success to those around you and how to determine your worth when someone does want to hire you (or in Megan’s case, sponsor your podcast).
Tan, a 2014 graduate, wanted to pursue audio journalism after graduation. Without much radio experience under her belt, she began working retail and restaurant jobs while figuring out what to do next.
At her boyfriend’s suggestion, she started a podcast about being a millennial. Months of collecting audio passed before she created her first podcast, but what finally came out of it is a raw, humorous and relatable look at what life is like when you stop having a road map.
If you haven’t listened to “Millennial” yet, I highly recommend listening to the whole thing, but in case your semester is feeling like midterm week already, here’s a recap of my favorite three episodes from season one to catch you up:
In the second episode, Megan gets exciting news about a potential photojournalism internship at a big-name newspaper. She debates applying, though, having not enjoyed a previous newspaper gig and fearing it will send her down a path she doesn’t want to be on. The episode includes a conversation with a friend interning at a big-name publication who is equally confused about what he wants next in his career, and another with her boyfriend’s dad about staying on your line — the imaginary thread that’s taking you to where you want to be. One of my favorite lines from the episode occurs in the first two minutes: “How do I not become paralyzed by this fear that one decision could screw everything up?” My thoughts exactly. All day. Everyday.
This episode is especially great for those new to the podcast. It backtracks, telling listeners how Millennial came to be. Tan describes what held her back during the months of recording conversations with friends and family, late night ruminations, and time at work before sifting through it all to make her first show. She’s honest about the excuses she made to herself and others, and the fear of putting something out there that wasn’t perfect. She even includes a conversation with her boyfriend, who turns her down when she asks him to be her boss. He tells her she has to discipline herself and want to do it. The girl is brave. What I love about this episode is that it is one of many instances where Megan’s real-time reactions are heard: after finally posting episode one on Facebook, she got in her car and drove to work, recording herself talking about how she felt having just bared her soul to her entire social media network, unsure of how people would respond.
The second to last episode of season one has a ton of emotion packed into 21 minutes. It comes on the heels of an exciting episode seven, when Megan announced that for the first time, the episode was sponsored. And not just by anyone, but by Squarespace, the same company that sponsors mega-hits like Serial. In episode nine, Megan receives news from a prestigious fellowship she applied for with National Public Radio. Spoiler alert: the answer is heartbreaking. There are tears as Tan questions her worth and what the setback means. There’s even a conversation with one of the finalists who had been chosen, who admitted to feeling unqualified for the job. I felt her pain, but I also felt hopeful and excited to see what she would do next.
This article was published by the DTH Digital Desk here on January 14, 2016.