Student-run YouTube talk show offers anonymous advising

By Megan Bradley, Staff Writer

Students tend to spend a lot of time watching videos on platforms such as YouTube, so Ruth Adekale, senior in LAS, created a platform for students who already spend time online to receive advice simultaneously.

Adekale created “Your Secret Advisor’er,” a YouTube talk show that allows students to appear as guests and receive advice about problems they may be having on campus, either personally or academically.

“I thought about how I’m a senior now and I reflected on freshman year and how I had help, but I felt like it wasn’t help in the areas that I needed,” Adekale said. “So that’s how this came about. I thought about how I could help students in any way, shape or form.” 

YSA, which releases two segments each week on Tuesday and Thursday, is structured with a guest student, a host and a panel. The student arrives to the show looking for help, the host reads the advice an anonymous adviser has provided and then the panel comments on that advice and can help add to it.

Allowing the adviser anonymity creates a sense of confidentiality for the person offering the advice, who may be a student, University faculty or even a parent, as well as offering a chance for the advice to be expanded upon by other YSA members in the panel.

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“I wanted it to be a secret adviser because I don’t want people to develop a bias towards the advice because, sometimes, people don’t want to accept advice because of where it’s coming from,” Adekale said.

Students can submit their questions for the adviser through an online form. Jerry Baffour, senior in Business, is the programming chair for YSA and one of the people who determines what content will appear on the show each week.

Baffour said he strives to ensure the topics covered each week are diverse and relevant for students watching the show. One of the most popular topics Baffour sees students seeking advice about is mental health, so he tries tailoring shows to address these issues.

Other than the anonymous adviser and the YSA members, the guest student is an important part of the show, and appearing as a guest student is something some students may be nervous about.

“I would say (to guest students) just have fun with it and be honest because deep down, there’s always somebody out there who may be watching and going through the same thing, but who isn’t so adamant about the problem that they have and seeking the help,” Baffour said.

Adekale said students who appear on the show as guests often realize they enjoyed the experience and want to come back as a YSA member to be able to help others the way they were helped.

YSA makes an effort to help the students appearing on the show for advice and anyone who may be watching and able to relate to the problems discussed, but it has also benefited each member of the organization.

Esther Lawal, junior in LAS and YSA social media chair, said when Adekale told her about the organization, she was interested in being involved because it seemed unique to have on campus. She said the opportunity was something different than other activities she was already involved in.

“It helps me to express myself more, especially in the panel discussions. It lets me give advice and has let me realize that I actually know more than I thought I did,” Lawal said.

Baffour said YSA has helped him grow professionally because he hopes to one day have his own media company, so this creative work has become a valuable step toward his future career.

Members in YSA have had both a beneficial experience and gone through a learning process. Learning how to work the equipment, making the content interesting and relevant, and editing the videos has been another key aspect of being a part of the show.

“It’s been a new experience because this is me working with other students but also in terms of myself. I have a YouTube channel already for fashion, so I kind of already knew how to film things,” Adekale said, adding that one of the most beneficial things about YSA is learning about leadership abilities.

Since Adekale and Baffour are both seniors and will soon leave the University, they are currently focused on developing other board members and YSA general members into leaders so the organization can continue to be strong next year.

Long term, the YSA members agree they would like to expand the organization to other universities or to high schools and graduate students so many more students can turn to YSA as a platform to receive advice.

“I want to be able to commit to getting that value to all my colleagues in the organization and help them become better leaders because, eventually, this will fall into their hands entirely,” Baffour said. “And then outside of YSA, just being leaders on this campus because really whether you’re the adviser, the person with the topic, the host or any part of the organization, you are a leader on campus.”

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