Episode 27 – “Anchor Down, Burn Out” by Abhinav Krishnan

Runner-Up; Undergraduate: “Excellence in Podcasting” Competition

Sponsored by the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities in collaboration with the Center for Teaching and the Office of Immersion Resources.

Burnout, a special type of stress related to work, is frequently discussed within academic environments. This physical or emotional exhaustion swelled on Vanderbilt’s campus in a whole new way during the 2020-2021 calendar year. In this episode of VandyVox, Abhinav Krishnan explores the impact COVID-19 policies had on undergraduate morale related to burnout. He was awarded runner-up in the undergraduate category for the Excellence in Podcasting competition.

This superb audio is a part of a larger podcast, “College Voices” in collaboration with the Vanderbilt Hustler, a “news source for Vanderbilt University’s campus and forum for students’ perspectives.” Abhinav is the Executive Producer of “College Voices,” described by the Hustler as a composition of columns highlighting undergraduate perspectives on campus by those with a variety of experiences, passions, and expertise.

In his audio, interviewees described burnout in their own experience, relating reduced breaks, rigorous course loads, and marathon mindsets to the “loss of the love of learning” as early as freshman year and feelings of guilt for engaging in self-care or having fun. Abhinav’s interviews provided a platform for students, whose voices made it clear that as a body, undergraduates felt left out of crucial conversations. Despite the drag students felt, he made sure to highlight a variety of campus resources they found helpful in fighting off burnout, such as conversations with faculty and the University Counseling Center. A key component of his interview style that conveyed their messages came down to effective editing.

Abhinav splices interviews together, rotating between the various students he interviewed and selecting the dialogue that had the most impact for the topic. Rather than feature one interview at a time, he passed the baton between participants and intermixed his own contextual blurbs to provide anchor points for their feedback. He spruced up his sound by adding royalty-free audio for non-commercial productions and chimed in with chipper bloopers at the end related to pandemic mask policies. These flourishes created an uplifting atmosphere around the critical conversation.


Find more episodes of College Voices, many of which were written or co-written by Abhinav:

Vanderbilt Hustler: “College Voices” 

    • https://vanderbilthustler.com/category/college-voices/


\ Interviews are a great tool for providing authentic audio like Abhinav’s. Here are a few guides to ensure your future interviews are in great shape:

NPR’s Special Series, Student Podcast Challenge: “Starting Your Podcast: A Guide For Students” (What Makes a Good Interview?)

    • https://www.npr.org/2018/10/30/662070097/starting-your-podcast-a-guide-for-students#interviews

Mark Schaefer’s 5 Steps to Conduct a Superior Podcast Interview

    • https://businessesgrow.com/2017/05/25/podcast-interview/


Abhinav’s use of music and bloopers uplifts his audio. Find free music like his, usable under a non-commercial creative commons license:

Free Music Archive, Artist “Bio Unit”:

    • https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Bio_Unit


Abhinav added audio to anchor his podcast. Add sounds and edit audio for free using Audacity, then publish for free on Anchor:

Audacity, a “free, open source, cross-platform audio software”

    • https://www.audacityteam.org/

Anchor, a “free, beginner-friendly

    • https://anchor.fm/


Written by Kaelyn Warne, Teaching Affiliate at the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching