Feeling misunderstood, four freshmen launched ongoing podcast, Immature


Courtesy of Samir Shaik

The Podcast Immature, featuring freshmen Cassidy Oliff, Shirah Ramaji, Gianna Lionelli and Samir Shaik, discusses the life of teenagers in 2021.

In the seventh grade, what started as a joke turned into a 47 episode podcast about teenage life in 2021. 

Freshmen Shirah Ramaji, Samir Shaik, Gianna Lionelli and Cassidy Olliff started recording the first episode for their podcast, Immature, in October 2019. They came up with the podcast as a joke, but slowly it turned into something more. 

“I genuinely did not take it seriously. So it [was] kind of a joke at first,” Ramaji said. 

They had planned on recording their first episode, “Social Media and Popularity,” but ran into a problem. 

“We were sitting in the ELA [hallway after school], recording, and this teacher came [out], and [said], ‘Hey, this is not a school affiliated thing. So you need to leave.’ And we were like, ’okay,’ but we still wanted to record. So, we went to the outdoor classroom,” Ramaji said. 

While Ramaji and Shaik were figuring out where to record their first podcast, Lionelli rushed home to get homework she forgot to turn in. On her walk back home, she saw her friends recording a podcast. 

“Originally, I was not supposed to be in the podcast. But, they were recording and wanted me to be in it, just as an interview. They [said], ‘no, why don’t you just [be a member], because it makes it so much more fun with four people than three,’” Lionelli said. 

Since fifth grade, Lionelli and Ramaji have been friends, but Shaik did not know Lionelli. 

“I like to think it was the podcast that made us really good friends, and we are really good friends now,” Shaik said. 

After feeling misunderstood by teachers, the trio’s initial concept was to guide them into what life was like as a middle school student. The show has now turned into a way to connect with all people, realizing they are not alone.

“Originally, we just wanted to have teachers understand us. [To] have adults, in general, understand us. But, I feel like no one has truly experienced how teenagers have lived nowadays,” Lionelli said. 

They also wanted it to help people their age. 

“I want it to reach people and for people to feel like they’re understood. I know that in high school, it can feel like you’re alone and that it feels like no one is going through the same things [and] that [is] just not true,” Shaik said. 

I want it to reach people and for people to feel like they’re understood. I know that in high school, it can feel like you’re alone and that it feels like no one is going through the same things [and] that [is] just not true.

— Freshman Samir Shaik

While they used to record weekly, balancing their high school course load and extracurriculars has been a challenge. As a result, when they record their episodes they use the same process they did in middle school. 

“We text one another to see what [the] topic is for the day, and [we] go from there. [We] walk home together and before [we] do anything [we] will sit down with each other, talk and eat Oreos. [We] eat Oreos before starting every episode,” Shaik said. 

They have created 47 15 to 45-minute episodes, with their favorite episode being one with a guest social worker, Ian Forber Pratt.

“We were talking about kids not getting adopted in today’s world, specifically in India, but all around the world,” Lionelli said. “Hearing about some of the people’s stories in India who couldn’t get fostered, couldn’t get adopted, was just so incredible and eye-opening. It made you realize [and] think outside of the US. [It] made you think there is a whole world, not just me.”

Over the years, Ramaji and her co-hosts have learned to go with the flow. 

“[I can’t] let simple things upset me. A lot of times, we’ll have technical difficulties or someone won’t be able to show up, [so I] go with the flow. [I] don’t let little things affect me,” Ramaji said. 

Shaik believes that some of their podcast mistakes create weak episodes and or include subjects that they should not be talking about. 

“I like to think that making those really bad episodes allowed us to make better episodes now. But, of course, mistakes are part of the process,” Shaik said. 

As they are only in freshman year, they hope to continue recording podcasts, however, they realize that Immature has to come to an end someday. 

“[I want to] keep going until we finish high school. That would be nice. I don’t know if we’re gonna do it, but that’s something I’d like to do. [When we finish, it will be] like graduation day,” Ramaji said. 

Ramaji hopes that when they finish recording Immature, she can show her kids the things she did in high school. 

“It’s something that we can look back on in the future and say ‘hey, those were my best friends back in the day and we did something good,’” Ramaji said. 

Even though the group knows it has to come to an end, Shaik doesn’t want to think about the future and doesn’t want to think about the podcast’s limitations. 

“The future of Immature depends on the future of us,” Shaik said. “But I hope we do it for as long as possible.”