Life As A YouTuber At Uni: Interviews with Lydia Violeta & Megan Short

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As university students, sometimes it can feel like we don’t have enough hours in the day. What about if you were vlogging your day as it happened? Study content and daily vlogs are flooding YouTube and attracting thousands of viewers per video. Whether it’s watching a ‘Study With Me’ as a way of motivating yourself to finish your work, or a chatty video to help you wind down in the evening, YouTube videos are becoming the new television. What about if a YouTuber attended the same university as you? Or a university you wanted to attend? Can their content be an accurate representation of university life, or is it heavily edited and unrealistic? To try and find out, I interviewed two Leeds based influencers – studytuber Lydia Violeta and vlogger Megan Short, asking them about what life as a YouTuber at university is like.

Lydia Violeta

‘Study Tubers’ like Lydia Violeta have become increasingly popular on social media, inspiring people to revise and teaching viewers how to be successful in academia. Lydia started her channel in 2017 whilst working towards her GCSEs, and now has nearly 200,000 subscribers on YouTube. Currently she is a 1st year Business Management student at the University of Leeds, running her channel alongside her studies.

Does your schedule as a YouTuber clash with uni life and socialising?

Lydia: Not really for me, as a studytuber, uni and YouTube are very much intertwined. A lot of my videos are me filming uni life, so I just get on with life like I normally would, but then film it too. It can sometimes be awkward trying to subtly film in public or in lectures. The only thing I have to balance is editing, because I have to take out time to do it. Though it depends on the video on how long it takes to edit. 

What about socialising, do you find that sometimes people will ask if you want to go out, but you have things to do, schedule to work to?

Lydia: I’m not very well disciplined in that sense. I will normally go out instead of doing what I need to do. I don’t find that it really clashes that much – of course it does take a lot of time, but I am managing it. If I know that I need to edit something, I will edit it as soon as possible to get it out the way.

Do you ever edit out content that might be perceived as boring, but would be accurate of what student life is like?

Lydia: I feel like I do put most things in, because obviously that’s kind of my content. People like that its accurate and authentic, but I do trim some bits out. I try to incorporate showing my social life somewhat but it’s hard to find the line, I am a studytuber, so people are here for certain content, they are not here for a sesh vlog. I’m sure people would probably still enjoy that. Also, this is my job and business, so I have to keep it PG friendly, not for my audience, but for working with brands. I work with a lot of education-based brands, and they are looking for more academic content rather than the social side of uni.

Do you think you accurately show what life as a student in Leeds is like?

Lydia: Yes, it’s accurately showing what it’s like for my personal experience, but at the end of the day everyone’s different. I know some people go out more than I do. Every course is different as well, I think contact hours make a massive difference to your experience. My course isn’t that contact hour heavy compared to others. I can’t show what it’s like for a student studying Maths or English, but I can somewhat accurately show what it’s like if you were studying Business Management. As well as what it is like to study at the uni, I show the campus, library and living here – only as far as my experience goes myself.

Would you say that YouTube is like the best version of yourself, or would you say your online self is quite like how you are in real life?

Lydia: Though my channel is primarily study-based content, even if I don’t film myself, I will always say that I’m going out. I try to portray my most authentic self and if I’m doing a day in the life, I won’t sugar coat it in any way. For example, in a study with me video, if I revise for 2 hours then give up for the day I will say that. Time lapses can be quite misleading, as you don’t know how long it is in real time. I will always put time stamps in or tell people how long I’ve revised for. I’m not one of those people who can revise for 15 hours straight and people know that. I feel I do a normal amount of revision; I always try to keep it real and say, ‘no I only did 2 hours this day and I did nothing the next day.’

Does YouTube impact your university experience? E.g. making friends, vlogging

Lydia: Yes, it made the experience different for me in Freshers, because so many people that I met, to me were complete strangers and then later I found that they knew exactly who I was. Obviously, I introduce myself as a person, I won’t go up to people and say, “Hi I’m a YouTuber nice to meet you”. So, for some people I didn’t tell them until it came up in conversation. Now it’s getting to that point in the year where lots of people know. Some people on my course and in my accommodation definitely know. There’s been cases in lectures where we have done a Kahoot on the board and people will put things up there about me as a joke e.g. my channel name or something about me. Also trying to go about your day and subtly filming it, is a bit weird and it definitely does alter the uni experience. It’s going to be on your mind all the time, so if I’m in a lecture, I have to get a clip of the lecture, no one else is sitting there thinking that. 

Do you feel like sharing your life online comes with concerns around privacy and personal safety, what kind of things do you try to do to stop anything happening?

Lydia: I do have to be careful, for example I haven’t shared what 1st year accommodation I’m at. Yes, I’m at Uni of Leeds, and that does narrow it down a bit, but sharing my accommodation would be irresponsible. A lot of viewers ask me about accommodation and I’m happy to reply to people individually, if they DM me. I don’t mind replying to people then, but I wouldn’t state it to 1000s of people on the internet. Apart from that, I just sort of have to live my life to be honest. 

Megan Short

On the other side of the YouTube spectrum, Megan Short has been making lifestyle vlogs and fashion videos for over 2 years, she is currently in her 1st year studying Fashion Branding at Leeds Arts University. Megan has over 45,000 subscribers on YouTube, engaging her viewers with content ranging from university vlogs to clothing hauls.

Does your schedule as a YouTuber clash with uni life and socialising?

Megan: I feel it doesn’t, obviously it’s not a set shift job, so it’s ideal because if I have something on in the morning and I’m doing something in the night, I can fit it in wherever I want. Like tonight I’m going out, but I was thinking I might not be able to because I have a video due tomorrow, but that is my bad planning. I can do it whenever I want, because I’m working for myself at home. 

What about socialising, do you find that sometimes people will ask if you want to go out, but you have things to do, schedule to work to?

Megan: I’ve never not been to something because I have work to do. I’m the kind of person that I will happily, stay up late or get up earlier to be able to get it all done. I don’t post that much maybe twice a week so I never find that I’m running out of time and can’t do it.

Do you ever edit out content that might be perceived as boring, but would be accurate of what student life is like?

Megan: I think my uni vlogs are boring, I’ve filmed time lapses before of me doing work, but I won’t put them in my video because I’m like there’s no point, it’s just watching me type away. I don’t really, at first, I thought there’s no way people want to watch this. It’s just a normal life, I’m going to uni, I’m going home, I’m eating my dinner, and then everyone loved them. Even when I’m editing them thinking ‘why you would want to watch this?’ I think it’s boring, but other people don’t so I always just leave everything in now.

Do you think you accurately show what life as a student in Leeds is like?

Megan: Yes, I think my videos are accurate to student life in Leeds. I’ve always been honest, for example I’ve talked about how in the beginning how lonely it was and showing the ups and downs. I did a whole Q&A at the end of the first term on the truths of what uni is like. Also, I filmed all of fresher’s week and didn’t hide that we literally didn’t go out every night, some nights were bad some nights were good. I’m not trying to push that uni life is the best life or whatever. I feel like the way I show it is quite accurate.

Would you say that YouTube is like the best version of yourself, or would you say your online self is quite like how you are in real life?

Megan: My YouTube is definitely the same, my Instagram maybe a little bit not. For vlogs I will literally wake up with greasy hair, I’ve filmed myself brushing my teeth once. My YouTube is so raw in a way, because I’m mostly just filming daily life. I don’t really care on YouTube as well. As much as I love watching all these beautiful, pretty girls in their day to day lives, once I’ve reached the end of their videos I’m like ‘that was fun but now I just feel bad about myself,’ I don’t want to be that person for my viewers. On my Instagram I am a bit more dolled up, but YouTube I think is pretty accurate.

Does YouTube impact your university experience? E.g. making friends, vlogging

Megan: I thought it might, but all my friends lowkey love it, they are like “ohh she’s vlogging today’. If I forget to vlog, all my friends prompt me saying ‘you haven’t vlogged in an hour’ and I’m like ‘oh yeah let me get my camera out.’ I was scared to begin with especially in my room, of people maybe being able to hear me film. Everyone’s been really lovely about it and it hasn’t really impacted it, it’s just added to it. It was definitely an ice breaker in fresher’s week, filming, making it fun and bringing people together more. I’ve not really had any bad experiences – probably because my channel isn’t that big. I think… or at least I hope no one has ever thought badly of it, if they have, I don’t know about it.

Do you feel like sharing your life online comes with concerns around privacy and personal safety, what kind of things do you try to do to stop anything happening?

Megan: I’m not that big on YouTube, so I’m not super concerned yet. Once I had a weird thing in Mission where someone asked my flatmates where we lived, but we obviously didn’t say. I’ve never said which accommodation I live in, plus I don’t think anyone would ever do anything. Next year, even my housemates might have to be careful, e.g. posting the outside of our house on their stories. I’ve had people going through my social media, finding my friends and messaging them. It’s easily done. People know what uni I go to, so I’m not too fussed about filming on campus.

Ella Jones