The back to uni rush is coming to an end, marking the start of a new academic year, and the most popular time of year for the new YouTube phenomenon which has been dubbed ‘StudyTube’.
In the same way that there are online communities for fans of make-up, games, and books, a community has sprung up around something that every young adult has to go through – education. StudyTubers are people who document their academic experiences, with the areas of most interest being A-Level and university study. But what kind of content do these online creatives actually produce? The most common type of video is a “Study With Me” – a daily vlog of sorts where the user takes their audience through their day, with a focus on the academic goals they have for the day. Other videos include advice videos about the qualifications which the StudyTuber has already completed, and results reveal videos.
At the beginning of the academic year, the popularity of the community shoots up, with younger students fascinated to see university hauls and move-in vlogs. This is understandable, as students who are anxious about going to university in the future want to get as close as possible to the real thing.
As businesses have realised that there is a huge audience amongst the student body, many of these StudyTubers have become personalities and shot to small, but rapidly growing levels of fame as they share their variety of experiences. Eve Bennett, who has been making videos for years, boasts 207k subscribers and a place at Oxford University, an experience she wants to normalise by sharing it with her audience, by showing that people from differing backgrounds can make it into the prestigious institute. In contrast, Eve Cornwell, who completed her undergrad at Bristol University, has moved to London and shows her viewers what it’s like working towards becoming a lawyer once you’ve graduated. Yet another differing experience comes from user UnJadedJade, who sits at 379k subscribers, and has just this month begun her journey in an innovative new institute entitled Minerva, which educates students in seven different countries over a four year course, something her viewers are fascinated by.
Interestingly, the genre is pioneered by female students, as shown by the aforementioned personalities. This is incredibly motivating to see, and I’m excited that the younger generation have these hardworking women to look up to. Many viewers have shared that they feel they have a big sister guiding them, or someone who feels like a friend to study with in the isolating environment that academia can cultivate.
The only downfall of StudyTube is that it can lead to what feels like productive procrastination. “Study With Me” videos can be motivating and a welcome break from studying that keeps you in a focused mindset, but it’s easy to fall into a ‘YouTube hole’ where the productivity of others feels rewarding. Despite this, the StudyTube community has had an incredibly positive effect on young students, and helped them feel like they’re not alone in what can be difficult and challenging years in education.