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How Becoming a YouTuber Changed My Life

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When I started my YouTube channel, I didn’t expect much from it. It was just a hobby, something to keep me happy and creative in my spare time. I was 19 and had been living in London for an internship, but I was lonely. I didn’t know anyone in London at the time, and I had no friends and no money. Now I can look back and think: “that was a pretty good call”. YouTube has completely transformed my life.

Initially, I didn’t really see it as a career. As time went on though, I got more and more views and subscribers on my channel and started to realize people were depending on my videos a bit more. I knew I wanted to take YouTube more seriously, so I also saved up and bought a DSLR camera to make my videos better quality.

I’m now a computer arts/games design student at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) in Farnham, somewhere that’s quickly gaining a reputation for being the YouTuber university. If you’ve ever heard of KickThePJ, he’s just one of UCA’s famous alumni. UCA is also quite close to a famous filming location, Bourne Woods – a prime spot for filming blockbusters like Gladiator and Wonder Woman.

Balancing YouTube and uni

Being a student, you might wonder how I manage to balance filming, editing, uploading and everything else being a YouTuber involves along with all my uni work – but for the most part I’ve got the right balance. I try and incorporate YouTube in everything I do, for instance making videos out of 3D model game environments I make for my course. I’ve learnt to think ahead to work out how I can incorporate my uni work into my YouTube channel.

I’m going into third year soon and for my project I’ll be making a game for a whole year. This is why I love having a relatively small, but loyal base of subscribers: I can update them on my progress using videos and live streams, and really get them involved. So, my YouTube channel and my progress as a student are quite merged, which makes things a lot easier.

However, there have definitely been a few times I’ve struggled to get my assignments in on time because I’ve been too in the flow of making videos. I can’t help it! Sometimes what I love most about being a YouTuber is the pure passion and adrenaline it makes me feel. I can be making fairly standard, sit-down, chatty videos one minute and then the next thing I know I get an amazing idea out of nowhere, a flash of inspiration which I just HAVE to film right now. I find that buzz quite addictive!

I’ve been told by my lecturers that I could get a first if I really apply myself, but to me getting a first would probably mean being very good at doing what I’m told to do. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t rebel, but I see each assignment as a brief and I get creative with it and see what I can do to push myself. I don’t really see it as a big deal if I miss out on getting a first because of YouTube – it means more to me to get a first for pushing boundaries, rather than doing what I know is easy. I don’t mind losing marks for taking risks and doing things in a slightly abnormal way. Actually, my risk-taking approach paid off with one of my assignments, as for three-months I worked on a virtual reality game – it was hard work but I was determined to do it, and I got a first for that assignment in the end.

YouTube has also meant that I’ve managed to get myself out there in the public and test out ideas. I’d rather be working my hardest to stay networked, to stay online, to stay talking to companies, and stay pushing my creativity and thinking outside the box, than to stifle it all and tick all the lecturers’ boxes to make sure I get a first.

YagmanX discusses the future of storytelling here.

How my YouTube channel has changed others’ lives

I’m into anything to do with storytelling, but mainly games, film and music. I think you can learn so many skills from YouTube, and I certainly have. You can go into a potential workplace and your YouTube channel will show them everything they need to know about how you manage your time, how you’re self-motivated, how you can handle social media. The list goes on.

As well as being an amazing creative outlet and giving me invaluable skills for my future career, YouTube has had a deeper impact. Sometimes it can be really emotional to see the impact my videos have had on people. It’s definitely the best part of YouTube for me. It’s really amazing to feel like something that started out as just a hobby is now reaching and affecting so many people’s lives. I get messages from people who have had tough times in their life but will tell me that because of the time and effort I’ve put into a video I’ve actually made a really significant difference on them.

Just the other day, I had a thread of five really sweet tweets from a guy who said he’s always wanted to make games but his parents never wanted him to as they thought there was no money or career in it. However, because he’d watched my game development videos he realized he could have a career in games, and now he’s at university to study game development because I inspired him. It’s really crazy to know you’re actually making a difference to people you don’t even know, who you’ve never met before, who live on the other side of the world. 

Hear one of YagmanX's songs.

What you can get out of YouTube

YouTube is about so much more than just becoming a famous YouTuber. I’ve been to a few secondary schools to explain how you can use YouTube and social media to get your dream job -  it’s so much easier nowadays than it used to be, and less conventional jobs are becoming more and more common.

If you want to get started on YouTube, don’t worry about being perfect – show your users a bit of your personality, and then when you’ve got an audience, you’ve got people to give you global feedback, which is absolutely invaluable. Companies have to pay for that kind of thing and if you as an individual can form even just a small audience, it’s really vital and the things you get are so worth it, even though you’re probably not going to make any money from it – I get about £60 every six months if I’m lucky. It will lead to other opportunities though, and these plus the friends and experiences you’ll gain are better than money.

So, go on. Give it a go. I know it’s scary and awkward at first to film yourself and put videos up there for potentially thousands of people to see, but trust me: it might be the best decision you’ve ever made.

Yasmin Curren spoke with Sabrina Collier. You can check out Yasmin’s YouTube channel ‘YagmanX’ here.

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1 Comment

Really Great!!
same thing i wanna do!!
But i confused with contains!!