Aid on-air — Cousins embark on podcast journey to help validate teenage stress

“It’s Kind of a Funny Story” episodes come out weekly. Maya Bhalla

High school Vandegrift senior Kaliegh Meneses and her cousin Seth David, who is also a senior at Harmony School of Excellence, help fellow teenagers through their podcast. (Submitted by Kaliegh Meneses)

By KATE DENNING, Vandegrift Voice

Relationships. New music and shows. College admissions. Stress. It’s all part of the teenage experience, and Vandegrift senior Kaliegh Meneses and Harmony School of Excellence senior Seth David want to capture it all through their new podcast.

Meneses and David started “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” after COVID-19 hit. Meneses had previous experience in the podcast world, but had to cancel her first show due to the pandemic. Now that she’s conducting this “coming of age podcast” with her cousin, she feels much more motivated to create a safe space for teenagers to get validation of their feelings.

“Back in sophomore till the beginning of junior year, I had my own podcast that I produced at VTV, but considering COVID-19 I had to cancel it and I started to feel unmotivated because I was doing it solo,” Meneses said. “Now that I have my cousin by my side I feel like we bounce off one another well and it makes the podcast so much more enjoyable to create.”

A passion for comforting teenagers drove the pair through their podcast journey. They both believe that adults don’t see eye-to-eye with teenagers anymore, and hope that their podcast can be an outlet for teens to listen to one another in a way that adults sometimes don’t. 

“A lot of times I feel like adult figures and parents don’t realize that being a teenager is different now-a-days,” Meneses said. “Although your teenager seems like they have everything under control, they might be struggling with unspoken problems that many other teenagers are going through as well.”

Since the beginning of “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” Meneses and David have both found motivation to work on an outside-of-school project while struggling with “senioritis.”

“A lot of seniors don’t have motivation to do something or to make a project,” David said. “But to me for the first time in a while, this project doesn’t feel like a chore. I enjoy working on it every week.”

The podcast, which puts out a new episode every Saturday on Spotify, has given the hosts a source of pride as well. Their statistics show that “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” has reached many listeners.

“We always get excited to see new streams every week on our Spotify dashboard,” David said. “And we’re very proud of our 190 streams and our 343 starts.”

The podcast has since stretched across Austin, the United States and the globe. One listener in Spain reached out to the cousins to let them know how validated they felt after listening to the pair talk about the college admissions process.

“We’ve received a few messages from some listeners on our Instagram,” David said. “For example, a listener in Spain messaged us and told us how they’re also going through the college admissions process. They pointed out that just like here in the United States, Spain struggles with social and racial differences when applying and having someone their age address these things made them feel not alone.”

Meneses and David both hope that the discussions that contribute to each episode of the podcast help teenagers deal with all the relationship, academic and social stress that being a teen today brings.

“I think one of the sole reasons we started the podcast was because we wanted teenagers or those who are becoming teenagers to feel like they’re heard with the problems [many adults] just write off as unimportant,” Meneses said. “The main thing we hope to accomplish is to allow a safe space for teenagers to come to and listen.”

If you’d like to listen to “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” you can do so through this link:

Kate Denning, a Vandegrift junior, is on the Voice newspaper staff, and also involved in PALs, Key Club, and Drama Club. She enjoys reading and writing, listening to true crime podcasts, and learning about history.