After taking the new Numbers course taught by Associate Professor of Sociology Maryann Bylander entitled American Inequality, Zoe Sanderson ’24 was inspired to start a podcast.
“One of our assignments was to do a mini-podcast for our midterm, so we took a statistic, found out if it was good or not and did a podcast on that statistic,” Sanderson said. “I thought, ‘oh my god that was so fun, I just did a midterm and it was really fun.’”
Afterward, Sanderson decided to start her own podcast, unrelated to academics. The podcast, titled “Cup of Zo,” debuted in November 2020. As an avid podcast listener herself, Sanderson wanted to make a podcast that was applicable to the college experience.
“Out of all the podcasts I listened to, none of (them had) college students talking about college student things,” Sanderson said. “If there is not a podcast that I am looking for, I thought I might as well make it myself.”
The hour-long “Cup of Zo” episodes cover a wide range of topics, including relationships, school and mental health.
“I did not want the podcast to be niche because I have so many interests and so many things I want to talk about,” Sanderson said.
The first episode of “Cup of Zo” is called “COVID College” and goes into detail about attending college during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sanderson answers questions and gives advice about managing time, making friends and remote learning during the unusual Fall 2020 semester. The episode offers a fun yet honest perspective on how COVID-19 changed the college experience at LC.
The third “Cup of Zo” episode has a more lighthearted tone as friend of Sanderson and LC student Sawyer Mauk ’24 is featured. The episode recounts Mauk’s story of becoming a licensed wine importer when he lived in Bolivia and his other business endeavors, and also explores the Mandela effect conspiracy theory.
Another episode from the podcast takes a more serious route. The second episode, called “ADHtea,” features Sanderson’s experience with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and what it means to have ADD. In the episode, Sanderson discusses her diagnosis, the challenges of being a college student with ADD and the gender differences with those struggling with the disorder.
“It is kind of like therapy,” Sanderson said. “I really wanted to make those episodes and talk about those things. And now that I have, I just want to do the next episode.”
Sanderson credits the LC social environment for giving her the freedom to be herself and create the podcast.
“Being at LC and exposed to so many different and passionate people made me feel comfortable blossoming,” Sanderson said. “In high school, I felt pretty constrained to the social norms of my school.”
The podcast has had a successful beginning. On average, she receives 300 listeners. Sanderson hopes the “Cup of Zo” community will grow and bring solace to its listeners.
“If it does not give any traction, it will just be a time capsule for myself because it is such a crucial time of my life,” Sanderson said. “If it is more than that, I would love for people to find a little community and I would hope that people will find similarities.”
Currently, “Cup of Zo” has four episodes. Sanderson hopes to make more episodes throughout this semester that examine other topics and feature interviews with more people.
“Some of my parents’ friends are so interesting and I want to have them on the podcast to talk about their life,” Sanderson said. “I have so many interesting friends and I want a format to interview people and have their stories be told in other ways.”
Sanderson hopes “Cup of Zo” will encourage other young college students to start their own podcasts.
“Students should start a podcast because every person brings a unique perspective on the world,” Sanderson said. “Everyone has a different niche, a different specialty and a different target audience. There really is no reason not to start a podcast knowing how easy it is.”
“Cup of Zo” is available to listen to for free on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.