If you’re watching a bullet journal tour, an exam season daily routine, or an 8-hour long study with me livestream, you’ve probably stumbled upon StudyTube. This corner of YouTube has been gaining traction for years, with key figures such as Jack Edwards, Exeter’s own Ruby Granger, and Eve Bennett achieving high subscriber rates and millions of views.
The StudyTube lifestyle can be extremely lucrative, with some content creators getting book deals, designing their own organisation ranges, or gaining well-paid sponsorship deals, sometimes with their own universities who are keen to latch on to the promotion these channels are giving them. For those with a genuine and infectious love for learning, documenting the student lifestyle can build a career, or at least be a steady earner while they work towards graduation.
Many people find motivation and inspiration from watching others working hard and getting good results. Often (though not always) from elite universities, these creators portray a lifestyle of long study hours, extracurricular reading and activities, and pristine organisation skills, which can act as an impetus for viewers to dig into their own studies with more enthusiasm. I know I’ve certainly stuck on a ‘study with me’ livestream when the low-fi hip-hop beats to study to playlist isn’t quite cutting it, and watched bullet journal tours for inspiration during the two months when I tried to religiously stick to one.
However, I tend to steer clear of StudyTube content for one reason: when I watch long study streams or watch creators opening their essay results, I can’t help but to feel inferior. I simply don’t possess the mental energy to study for 8 hours with minimal breaks. Most weeks, I manage to watch my lectures, attend my seminars, and do my core reading, but it’s very rare that I have the energy or time to read around my subject or to study for fun. The pressure must affect these creators too – not only do they have to work hard to achieve the results they get, but they then have to script, film, edit and upload videos and other content that paint a picture of an almost perfectly successful life, often juggling extra-curricular commitments and their own personal lives too.
Still, many creators clearly thrive off self-inflicted pressure and genuinely enjoy studying for hours on end, inspiring others to work hard and achieve their goals. Furthermore, a lot of StudyTube channels actively promote a healthy work-life balance, through videos dedicated to leisure activities such as reading for fun, baking and vlogging with friends. Some have content dedicated to self-care and looking after mental health while studying, which has grown ever more important during the pandemic.
Others are aiming to show more diverse experiences of university life, such as being student of colour at a predominantly white university or suffering with chronic pain. These are very important viewpoints to be considering in amongst the ‘stationery must-haves’ content and book reviews.
StudyTube clearly has a lot to offer, but creators must work hard to make sure that the lifestyle they are promoting to their fans is attainable and healthy. Many flock to StudyTube to be inspired, but is it a love of learning or an unrealistic and unhealthy work-life balance that they’re coming away with?
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