I cannot recall exactly when this happened, but in the last 5 years, the StudyTube community grew quite a bit. If you are not familiar with StudyTube, it is a group of YouTubers that upload educational videos, such as revision, note-taking, and studying clips. Since then, many viewers have jumped on the bandwagon to support a productive lifestyle.
Among young people who are pursuing an education, the trendiness of such channels has created some negative effects. A common problem involves working and/or studying long hours in order to achieve ‘productivity’ and buying a large number of stationery items to make note-taking more ‘fun’ and ‘enjoyable.’ Some have gone as far as to say that the existence of the community is never meant for motivating students to value their education, but to start a business–”study with me” videos, in their opinion, are free advertisements for erasable highlighters, colored gel pens, notebooks with pastel colors, books that talk about the benefits of productivity, etc. According to them, StudyTube doesn’t help to enhance their spirits.
Following many popular StudyTube channels (e.g. Studyquill, Studytee, Eve Bennett), I would like to share what I’ve learned and how I perceive the StudyTube community.
I will admit that I have also studied 12+ hours a day, just like StudyTubers. I finally realized after 2 months of unsuccessful attempts that I personally could not keep up with this level of productivity; my limit was 10 hours a week. However, I was never ashamed or discouraged for not being able to work as many hours as StudyTubers. In the first place, I knew different StudyTubers worked differently and had different levels of tolerance, and, in the second place, no StudyTuber that I have watched has ever promoted the idea of working more hours or that working more hours equals better results. As a matter of fact, many influencers actually encourage their viewers to work at their own pace and spend as much time studying as they like. It is, unfortunately, a human tendency to compare oneself to others, but in my knowledge, StudyTube community members have not abused or emphasized this flaw, and should therefore not bear the blame for its existence. We as viewers are responsible for learning how to feel comfortable being ourselves; influencers should never be held accountable for our own insecurities.
There is no point in trying to deny that Studygram has created businesses; many stationery lines, planning tools, digital note-taking software, etc. have been made popular through these channels. It is also true that some viewers have wandered off the course while watching StudyTubers by browsing through cutesy stationery catalogs rather than doing actual revision, and many of them have believed that buying more stationery items would improve their grades. Influencers should be careful not to mislead their followers into thinking it is necessary to own fancy stationery and the latest gadgets to absorb information. However, it is the viewers’ responsibility to educate themselves on what they need and does not need. Similar to how spokespersons for beauty products, automobiles, and other daily products are not responsible for the purchasing decisions of individual customers, it is also unjust to devalue the StudyTube community simply because some followers have misinterpreted its message.
At the end of the day, what we get from the StudyTube community, or any other material we are exposed to, depends entirely on us. It’s important to ask ourselves: have we understood the content correctly before accusing it of being ‘disgusting’ or ‘misleading’?