What I’ve Learned from “Study With Me” Vlogs

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I have a little secret. I LOVE watching “Study With Me” videos on YouTube.

80% of the time I’m on my phone, I’m watching a stranger doing exam prep or desk organization. 

I do not have an explanation for why I enjoy these videos so much and I do not readily share my academic video obsession with people. The one time I tried to talk about it with a friend, she just kind of looked at me and said: “Huh, that’s… interesting”.

I first started watching these videos during winter exam season last year for motivation, but since quarantine began and all classes have moved online this summer at UVic, there’s something very comforting about watching another person continuing and altering their study habits to fit these new circumstances. Somehow, watching someone be productive makes me want to be more productive too. Which I assume is the whole purpose of the video. And let me just say, mission accomplished.

So, here are some study habits I’ve learned from YouTube student vloggers that are applicable not just to taking classes from home, but are excellent to implement if you’re working from home or completing personal projects.

1. Wake up a little earlier. 

Set an alarm for a specific time every day. 8 am works great for me, and have a task to complete as soon you get out of bed. Stretch, drink a large glass of water, let the dog out, whatever suits you. Just make sure it makes you gets you out of bed.

Obviously, some mornings this will be easier than others, and that’s okay. If you can tell your body needs some more sleep, set an alarm for 15 minutes or half an hour later. The point of this tip is to prevent you from rolling out of bed at noon and then frantically trying to complete all you tasks in a much shorter day.

2. Have a routine.

This is a tip I come across a lot on productivity blogs and vlogs alike. But I am living, non-YouTuber proof that it works.

Depending on who you are and how you work best, you might find that sitting down and making a detailed schedule for the day helps hold you accountable. This is useful for people struggling to find the motivation to sit down and do work.

Or you might prefer to have a more flexible routine that you complete throughout the day, perhaps ball parking the general time you’d like to get things done. On the flip side, don’t led a rigid routine stress you out either. Remember, your schedule and routine do not own you. Sometimes work or tasks will take a little longer than expected, and that’s okay too! The point of a routine is not to cause panic, but just to give you a sense of order and to encourage productivity.

3. Write a to-do list.

A to-do list creates order in your brain and your routine. There’s something really satisfying about checking a task off the list, and you can actively keep track of how productive you have been.

Write down even the smallest goals you want to accomplish that day, like calling a friend or emptying the dishwasher. Sometimes you need to be able to check just one thing off the list to get you motivated to do the rest of your work.

4. Take care of your brain and body. 

Victoria, BCGo for a walk! Dance around the house to your favourite song! Take on that Chloe Ting 2-week ab challenge (or try to do half of the first video… that’s as far as I got). Eat a vegetable with lunch or try a new recipe!

This one is pretty self-explanatory and the one thing that YouTubers often fail at realistically depicting in videos. It can be frustrating to be recommended a recipe that costs $45 to make, or discouraging when they make the assumption that we all have the time and stamina to run a half marathon every day. No thank you. But as long as you’re moving, getting all the nutrients you need, and checking in with yourself every day, you’ve got the right idea.

5. Have a functional (and maybe even aesthetic) workspace.

Having a desk is one thing. Having a desk free of clutter is another. Try tidying up your workspace and remove any distractions from whatever surface you are working on.

Maybe light a candle to give a sort of old-library ambiance, and brew yourself a cup of tea. Or maybe you need a crisp, clean work environment where you can spread out.

Play around with this a little and find what suits you best. Personally, I like to have some flowers nearby, a mug of coffee, and some fairy lights. Coziness can stimulate productivity in my experience.

6. Find someone to study with or put on a “Study With Me” video.

This one is a bit tricky given present circumstances, but Zoom study dates are underrated. Call up a friend or maybe a classmate you really clicked with, and have a little virtual group work session.

If you find that studying with other people is distracting, there are videos on YouTube where people have recorded themselves studying for a few hours at a time. I’m not suggesting you watch a three-hour long video of someone doing their homework (but I mean, you do you). However, it can be helpful to have a video like this on in the background for motivation and study inspiration. Some channels provide live “Study With Me” sessions once a week if you want some real time footage.

If this list has piqued your interest in content about academia and productivity, do some snooping around on YouTube. Watching and listening to the experiences of other university students around the world is comforting and encouraging. Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to start your own YouTube channel about your studies at UVic!

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