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Need a study buddy? Turn to the StudyTube

By Aitana Alvarado, October 28 2020—

YouTube has grown exponentially as an entertainment-based platform in the past few years. Contrary to popular belief, this platform is not only to be used for “killing time”  but rather as a vehicle to do good. Among the many niches that coexist on Youtube, there might be one that seems odd or out of place. In recent years, the “StudyTube” community has made a name for itself by amassing millions of views. As a result of the pandemic, more and more students have resorted to rather unorthodox methods to keep themselves accountable for their studies.

The trend of watching “Study with Me” broadcasts, otherwise known as Bongchang in Korean, has resurfaced since the beginning of the pandemic. In a nutshell, these videos consist of study sessions where the host films themselves in an aesthetic study space to motivate their audience to get some work done. Broadcasts like this have proven popular among students who no longer have access to the library, and therefore, are facing the novelty of working exclusively at home. Although the content uploaded by study-tubers may vary, the goal is ultimately the same one: keeping students’ morale high and providing a safe, positive environment for them.

For me, joining the study-tube community meant questioning the way I studied. In school, many of us were expected to learn and be high-achieving students. However, we were never taught how to learn. Although counterintuitive, this is the reality most high school students face when transitioning to higher education. While traditional techniques like highlighting or taking notes may work for some, the truth is they might not work for everyone. In response to that, rising content creators in the community have stepped outside the box of live streaming study sessions. They have decided to bring into the light effective study techniques such as ‘active recall’ or spaced repetition. These techniques are well-established methods in the scientific community that focus on moving information from short-term memory to long-term storage.

Equally, I have felt a sense of community just by reading the comment section. Sharing my worries and realizing other students might also be struggling makes me grateful to be a part of such an uplifting community online. Through consuming this type of content, I have learned a lot about the cross-section between mental health and being a student.

Like any online community though, study-tube has its fair share of flaws. For example, study-tubers who put out videos with the title “My 14-hour-study day” can lead to unhealthy comparison in young audiences and have a counterproductive effect. Instead of motivating others, it may cause motivation to waver for not being “productive enough.” Especially, when the Youtube algorithm overruns your feed with study-based content. While for some, it may be motivating to watch high-achieving students excel, for others, it might be too overwhelming.

For that reason, I truly appreciate the initiatives being carried out by content creators in the community who are catering to students’ needs. Jade Bowler — brand founder, a current student at  Minerva Schools at KGI, and a member of the UK study-tube community — decided to share a video where she talked about her rejection from Oxford University along with some of her reflections. Videos like these where failure is not stigmatized, but rather embraced and reflected upon, are the ones that  have a positive impact on students. After all, constant comparison to the achievements of others is a natural thing. However, the way we frame our successes and failures is the key to maintaining a healthy mindset.

What’s more, along with 18 additional study-tubers who make up the UK Studytube community,  Bowler has recently launched a conjoined channel called the ‘StudyTube Project’. The goal in mind is to make educational-related content more readily accessible and inclusive. You can find videos ranging from: “How to make LEARNABLE NOTES!” to “How to look after your mental health at school/uni” or even “ How to make the perfect smoothie bowl.”  During unprecedented times like these, it is initiatives like the ‘Studytube Project’ that erases the idea of toxic productivity and let us come together as a community eager to learn.

The Student Success Centre is hosting online Virtual Study Halls from Monday to Friday every week. Similar in style to “Study With Me” broadcasts, the hosts will set a timer to work for 25-minute intervals and take a five-minute break. For anyone interested, these sessions are being offered this semester and will conclude on Dec. 18 during the Final Exam period.  

Happy studying and don’t forget about self-care!  

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