Being a college student is hard enough, with stress coming from midterms, essays, finals and those coveted jobs and internships. Add running a social media empire to the equation, and you’ve got yourself on a whole new level. While navigating the quickly growing stratosphere of social media may appear daunting to the unsuspecting scholar, several UCLA students are playing the game well and reaping in the benefits.
Palomo: Being a college student is hard enough, with stress coming from midterms, essays, finals and those coveted jobs and internships. Add running a social media empire to the equation, and you’ve got yourself on a whole new level. While navigating the quickly growing stratosphere of social media may appear daunting to the unsuspecting scholar, several UCLA students are playing the game well and reaping in the benefits. Amanda Magana is a third-year biology student and a resident assistant. She has a YouTube channel with nearly 15,000 subscribers that focuses primarily on the college lifestyle.
Magana: Originally when I was coming to UCLA, I had no idea what it was all about and what it was actually like to be a college student because I’m a first-generation college student. So when I was looking it up on YouTube and I couldn’t find anything, I was like, ‘This is unfortunate,’ so I wanted to make videos for the kids who are going to go here and want to see what it’s really like to go to school here.
Palomo: Magana’s channel revolves around beauty, fashion and the nuances of being a college student. The bulk of her videos consist of hauls, D.I.Y.’s, information about UCLA and stories from her everyday life.
Magana: It’s a lot of UCLA-related videos, just vlogs of my day or stuff to help people be successful in school. To help high school (students) go to college and then the other stuff I have is beauty or fashion related.
Palomo: At the end of the day, Magana wants to help people. This is why she chose to be a resident assistant and why she plans to go to med school. Although her YouTube channel may differ from her studies and responsibilities, it is a creative outlet through which she can continue to be a guide to her peers.
Magana: It’s really nice to have a channel to work on because it’s nothing related to my major, but at the same time it kind of is because it is helpful, but it’s also video and photography and all that which I love. So yeah, I think you’re right about it being geared as helpful.
Palomo: YouTube allows its users to mix various endeavors they are passionate about to create something original. Ahmed Mahmood graduated from UCLA in fall of 2015 as a pre-med, psychobiology major. He makes YouTube videos with his brother, Wajeeh. Together, they have accumulated more than 166,000 subscribers to their channel.
Mahmood: We do pranks, so you can find comedy in that, we do skits so you can find relatability in that, we do challenges, we do vlogs; it’s literally a one-stop-shop YouTube thing. We have a fashion segment, we have challenges, we have vlogs, we have pranks, we have experiments. We do all different types of things, we like to have fun and let other people have fun as well.
Palomo: The Mahmood brothers channel is very different from Amanda’s. Pranking each other and video blogging their daily lives creates a special dynamic between them and the viewers.
Mahmood: We want to create a community; with everything going on in the world right now, I feel like a lot of races are against each other and a lot of commotion going back and forth, stuff like that. I feel like now more than ever everyone is so distant and making lines instead of being united. We try to unite everything; every race, every religion, we respect it, we try to learn more about it. We do a lot of Spanish-speaking things as well; my brother and I went to Cancun and tried to speak Spanish the whole entire time and show that part of the city and Mexico and stuff like that. There’s so many races and cultures, stuff like that and we’re just trying.
Palomo: Finding a balance between video making and their responsibilities as students was difficult for Magana and Mahmood in the beginning.
Magana: I have to remember that I’m here for school so if I can’t get a video up and people are upset about that, that sucks but I’m here for school first so I guess there’s a little bit of pressure.
Mahmood: The first full year I was going to UCLA and my brother was still going to USC and that was really hard. So I’m pre-med and he’s pre-law, and I think a lot of people here know it’s very competitive here at UCLA, just the whole pre-med atmosphere. My days pretty much consisted of waking up at like 8 or 9 in the morning, vlogging the whole day, getting home at around 11 or 12, editing the whole thing, and then going to sleep. So it was very … you didn’t have time to mess around or stuff like that, it was very hard to manage time.
Palomo: Regardless of the pressures and stress that come along with video making, both Magana and Mahmood have found ways to grow their public personas in positive ways while also creatively expressing the things that are important to them. Both of them also enjoy the benefits of building something that they can truly call their own.
Magana: I am my own boss. No one tells me what to make or when to make it. And I think that’s awesome that I can have my own creative control.
Mahmood: One of our slogans is, ‘Something for the kids.’ When we say ‘kids,’ we’re not just talking about toddlers or infants, it’s the kid in every single person who watches our videos, or doesn’t watch our videos. Everyone has a kid inside of them that’s innocent and just wants to have fun like no worries and stuff like that. I think a lot of college students get so tense and stressed and worried and stuff like that so we’re just saying relax and don’t put so much pressure on yourself.
Palomo: UCLA students are exploring and successfully thriving in the new industry of social media. The ability to have absolute creative control over their work, along with the benefits of personal and professional growth, makes this an opportunity many students are excited about.
For Daily Bruin Radio, this is Joseph Palomo.