Facing Shame: The Student Debt Stories from Death, Sex & Money

Without a doubt, the big story in the podcast industry this week is the two-part episode on student loan debt from Death, Sex & Money.

I fell in love with this podcast about a year ago. After just one episode, I went back to Episode 1 and binge-listened over the course of a week. I’m never disappointed by the guests or quality of the show.

The new two-part episode, titled Our Student Loan Secrets, includes interviews and testimonials from real people who are struggling to overcome staggering amounts of debt.


There was a huge amount of hype for these episodes even before they were released. My Twitter feed was full of anticipation from podcast fans, industry insiders, and regular folks who share the shame of having student loan debt.

For me, the most interesting part of the build-up was the photo campaign with the hashtag #StudentLoanSnapshot. Something inside of me understands how writing down your current student loan balance is easier than saying it out loud.


The Verdict

So, did the two episodes live up to the hype?

In a word: Absolutely.

Death, Sex & Money covers some weighty topics. Regular people and celebs alike have spilled their guts to the show’s host, Anna Sale.

But these episodes raised the bar for displaying (and really, exposing) emotion through audio. The amount of shame and fear that comes through in the interviews is astounding.

I found myself frequently pausing to reflect on what I had heard. Then, I would rewind 15 or 30 seconds to hear it again.

Once, I stopped, rewound, and made my husband listen to a 7-second clip. It was completely out of context, but he still reacted with shock and a bit of horror.

Long story short, I wasn’t planning to write this blog post today. But I couldn’t help it. I felt compelled to do it. That’s how much this podcast got to me.

These episodes should give a lot of people a lot to unpack. About America’s student loan system. About managing debt. About communication and transparency. About personal responsibility.

These episodes should be a catalyst to a much larger conversation. One that doesn’t take place on Twitter, but in Congress, the banking industry, and higher education.


And Another Thing

I know a lot of people who don’t listen to podcasts. They don’t know what podcasts bring to the table. They think that they don’t have time to listen.

I’m hoping that, in addition to starting a dialogue about the problem of student loan debt in America, talk about these episodes will weave their way into the Twitter and Facebook feeds of those people. And they’ll listen, because they, too, are paying off student loans. And maybe they’ll see how amazing podcasts can be.

[Related Post] 19 Comebacks for “I Don’t Have Time to Listen to Podcasts”


Phew! I could go on forever. But I’m curious about what readers (and listeners) have to say about these episodes. Leave a comment or tweet at me and let’s start a conversation!

2 thoughts on “Facing Shame: The Student Debt Stories from Death, Sex & Money

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*