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Student YouTubers balance vlogs with schoolwork

YouTuber+Tiffany+Nguyen+setting+up+to+record+a+video.+Most+of+her+videos+are+filmed+in+the+comfort+of+her+own+apartment.
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Student YouTubers balance vlogs with schoolwork

YouTuber Tiffany Nguyen setting up to record a video. Most of her videos are filmed in the comfort of her own apartment.

YouTuber Tiffany Nguyen setting up to record a video. Most of her videos are filmed in the comfort of her own apartment.

Nikky Gary

YouTuber Tiffany Nguyen setting up to record a video. Most of her videos are filmed in the comfort of her own apartment.

Nikky Gary

Nikky Gary

YouTuber Tiffany Nguyen setting up to record a video. Most of her videos are filmed in the comfort of her own apartment.

By Arielle Kramer, Staff writer

Indira Midha was a junior in high school when she made her first YouTube video.

It was part of an assignment for an AP language class, but she didn’t know it would spur a calling she had for production and creativity.

Midha, now a sophomore in Media, started watching YouTube videos as a young teenager. She watched channels mainly focused on makeup, beauty and fashion. The videos she made herself followed suit.

Over time, she began rebranding her channel, settling on the name, “Indira’s Inner Beauty.”

Midha said she felt like, on YouTube, many videos focus on physical beauty.

“After watching so much of that stuff, I thought that’s what would define me and that’s what would make people like me,” Midha said. “I wished I had seen a little bit more of different stuff to help me grow more as a person.”

From that passion, Midha continued to make videos surrounding topics such as body positivity, mental health, social justice and women empowerment.

Balancing being a full-time student at the University with her YouTube channel is no easy job. With almost 1,000 subscribers and a new video uploaded every few weeks, Midha said she stays organized with checklists and notebooks full of ideas.

Although she always puts school as her top priority, Midha knows she will find time for YouTube.

“It’s so important to do things that you love and what sets a fire inside of you,” Midha said. “For me, to be able to do this stuff, it makes me a much better and happier person. There (are) certain responsibilities that are so important, but if you manage everything and prioritize, I think you can do it.”

Midha’s younger cousin and friends who live in other countries watch her videos. She said it makes her feel special that the impact of her videos reaches both near and far.

“When you’re looking on social media, you just see the best parts of (someone’s) life. I want my platform to be more based on the content of empowering others and supporting younger girls,” Midha said. “It’s very cool to me that my family in India, my family in Spain and my family here are watching my videos, so it’s cool to know what I have to say has some sort of value.”

Magnolia Klepacki, sophomore in AHS, also runs a popular YouTube channel. She goes by the tag “magnoliaax33” and makes videos on fashion and lifestyle.

Klepacki started her YouTube channel as a joke in middle school out of her love for fashion videos. She kept up the hobby and now has over 200,000 subscribers.

With a demanding schedule as a pre-PA student, Klepacki sometimes second-guesses her YouTube career.

“I’m always going back and forth whether I want to put my time into YouTube or school,” Klepacki said. “It’s a huge struggle in my life managing both of them.”

Because she wants her videos to be as perfect as she can make them, it often takes Klepacki a large amount of time to shoot and produce videos.

“It takes probably from 48-72 hours,” Klepacki said. “Sometimes I’ll have to re-film clips because if I don’t like it I scrap it and re-film it. It’s mainly editing that takes a long time. My back-to -school haul has 2 1/2 hours of footage and I had to get it down to about 12 minutes.”

Although she doesn’t want to pursue a career in YouTube or media after college, she still enjoys having her life publicized and would like to continue making videos as a way to express herself to viewers.

She said her YouTube channel is a creative outlet for her and something she enjoys doing in her spare time.

“I want to inspire other people and help people out and make (their) day, and that makes my day,” Klepacki said. “It’s so rewarding.”

Yet, putting her life in the public eye as a college student comes with its costs.

Klepacki often feels as though she has to uphold a certain standard on campus when it comes to her image.

“There is always that pressure. I still feel like sometimes people expect me to act a certain way or always have my face done perfectly or dress nice,” Klepacki said. “I feel like I have so many different lives: I have my school life, I’m in a sorority, I have YouTube. I connect to all those things in a different way, but there is a little bit of pressure for me to be perfect.”

However, Klepacki has learned from putting her life in the public eye that having tough skin and staying true to herself is a must.

Tiffany Nguyen, junior in Media and former Illini Media Company employee, runs a YouTube channel with over 2,000 subscribers. She has learned how important having a backbone is.

After posting a video in June that received some backlash, she learned how to deal with negative responses.

“Have tough skin. It’s the key to everything,” Nguyen said. “Haters will always hate, so you might as well be yourself.”

Nguyen, who makes videos about the University culture and her experience in student life, wants others to understand that social media moguls are still people, too.

“People will think that you’re making a video because you’re wanting the views or the money, but it’s really just your opinion,” Nguyen said.

Students have also approached Nguyen on campus, which makes her feel that her efforts balancing YouTube with school have paid off.

She said she likes getting good feedback and having students actually ask her questions about the University.

“It’s nice for other students to get my experience and to let (them) know that they’re not alone,” Nguyen said.

Although being a popular social media user makes being a full-time student a challenge, all three know it’s something worth continuing.

“It’s always gonna be worth it to me,” Midha said. “I think making content is so meaningful to me and I get into my own little world when I’m creating this stuff. It’s something that’s so special.”

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