Matt’s Story

Facing College: Diverse Student Voices from Michigan State University

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Hey guys my name is Matt and I’m a YouTuber. I live here on campus half of the time and the other three days back at my house to film videos. I make videos about Madden Mobile, a game that you can download on your phone. I first started making videos about four years ago when I downloaded the app on my phone. I first started playing it with my friends and realized that I was pretty good. I was very good at making coins for the game, which is an easy way to get players and teams leveled up.

Once I realized I had good information to offer others, I started making videos for YouTube about it to share what I knew about the game. At first when I posted my beginning videos, I only was getting a couple thousand views on each of them, which to me now isn’t much at all. At the time though, this surprised me and made me want to reach more people. Eventually, over three to four years, my following grew substantially to where it is now–around 400 thousand subscribers.

Making videos takes up a lot of my free time. I get money not only from the amount of views I get on a video, but also from ads that I put in the beginning of every video. I’m pretty busy and don’t have a lot of time to do the normal stuff around campus that my friends always do. To help explain, a normal week for me consists of a lot of driving back and forth from my home to campus. I am constantly switching between having to make and edit videos and having to get schoolwork done back at the dorms. For example, Super Bowl week for me was insanely busy. I wake up early most days, especially on Super Bowl Sunday. I woke up at about 6:30AM to make and edit a video and then I had to drive back to the dorms to study and take an online exam that was due that day. I also wanted to watch the Super Bowl with my friends, so that made me feel very rushed and busy all day.

Now I know this sounds like this is pretty negative having to do all of this extra work and staying away from my friends most of the week. I’ve gained some pretty good skills from having this job. I believe that I’ve learned a lot of computer skills doing this for most of High School and now in college. For example, we’d always have these powerpoints or video projects that we’d have to do in high school and mine would just be ridiculously better than what was expected just because I had so much knowledge about working with and editing videos. I am a little worried if these skills that I’ve learned will translate to any job unrelated to my YouTube channel. One thing that I’ve seen myself get a lot better at is public speaking from me just sitting and talking to myself in front of a camera all day. I think that is something that business in general is looking for nowadays. They want people who are very extroverted and able to speak and share what they have to offer in front of other people.

I have gotten better at public speaking, but for my whole life I’ve never really been that kid who was too shy to go up in front of my classmates and present. I think this really led me early on in the direction of a business degree because I was very good with communicating with others and always had an interest for business and marketing. A lot of what I am doing on my YouTube account is kind of connected to business in that I am making my own kind of brand and selling it to fans. You can say that it also connects to business because I “started my own business” and grown it to where it is toady. I’ve hired people. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a filmmaker. I’m a marketer.

I studying business because I know that it is something that I am good at and that my own YouTube channel could drop off the face of the earth at any time. Most people in my position would strictly just do YouTube and stick with it for the rest of their lives or at least until they are living comfortably, but I have always wanted to go to college and it has never really crossed my mind of putting YouTube before my college education..

Going back to how I go throughout my college life, I put out videos on YouTube every day and also put out ads on every video. This makes me obligated to put these before my videos and have a certain amount of videos every week which has me working constantly on new content for my YouTube channel. This makes it hard for me to have the real college dorm experience as I am always at home working and editing videos instead of being with my friends in the dorms. I would work here in the dorms but some of my equipment is expensive and isn’t worth the risk of bringing it here and having it stolen or damaged. This also makes it difficult to get to some of my classes and complete my homework because I am dedicated to my channel and my fans that watch my videos consistently.

Knowing that my college experience is different than most, it does make me feel kind of away from everything important. I sometimes wish that I could have the normal life that my friends here have, but I know that I’m also getting great benefits, like a ton of money, experience, and having an engaging fan base. In our business, we like to say that we own the home but not the property. That means that yeah, I do have my own channel and it may be doing well but if YouTube, the property, wants to take it away and yank it from under my feet then there really wouldn’t be anything I could do. I would love to do this for the next couple years. To me it’s fun waking up and making stupid videos for people to watch, not because it’s easy, because it isn’t, but because of the feedback that I get from my family, friends, and most importantly, the people that all watch the videos.

I don’t want to come off as if somehow this is all a burden. I do this willingly. I am truly blessed to be in the position I am, and the monetary advantage paired with the skills I have gained will be an immense help in the rest of my life. Not being grateful for the incredible opportunities given to many social media influencers tends to be the Achilles heel of our genre of human, so I want to truly emphasize how glad I am to be here. Yes, at times, I feel as though my experience as a student on campus is different than the typical student experience, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

This story originally appeared in Facing College: Diverse Student Voices, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan.

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