How to Optimize your Tutor Bio

optimize tutor bio studygate

The YouTube videos of Pewdiepie, Casey Niestat, and elrubiusOMG are your curriculum for this crash course on how to optimize your tutor bio!

Disclaimer: those videos have nothing to do with education.

Instead, these YouTubers teach us the one thing that students find most engaging: tight communication. Perhaps not so coincidentally, that’s what matters most in a highly competitive tutoring environment.

Have you watched at least parts of those videos yet? Now is the time to watch before reading further.

There are two big takeaways:

  1. The content is to the point, within seconds. Viral videos have 0% wasted time in empty space.
  2. Each YouTuber focuses on 1 theme in 1 video before exploring it in depth.

Everyone already knows students have grown up with the Internet. This means that they have extremely sensitive bullshit filters, way more sensitive than previous generations of students

Students can spot spammy content from a mile away, so the golden rule when writing a bio is to be genuine and accurate. Don’t use filler space. Get straight to the point, immediately. Don’t say you are the grand master of all subjects even if you are. To optimize your tutor bio, tell students exactly what you do.

You can stop reading now and get the main point of this blog. If you optimize your tutor bio, you will tell a tight and coherent story about what you can offer students.

If you want to continue, there are a few exercises based on these takeaways to help you you optimize your tutor bio.

What you put into Studygate is what you’ll get out of it

Here are some prewriting steps for making your profile access as many students as possible:

1. Write down three specific things you do really well

Instead of chemistry, write stoichiometry. Instead of programming, write C++ vectors.

2. Now define the value you are going to give students

What age group do you want to help? What service do you want to provide at what speed? What experiences qualify you to provide this?

3. Finally, pick emotional adjectives that describe what you do to help

Effortless, Painstaking, Fun, Free, Incredible, Essential, Absolute, Strange. Here are some more words.

Your answers above will help to write your bio and headline. You have less than 15 seconds to capture your student’s attention, so this is the perfect opportunity to make a lasting impression.

How to charge the perfect tutor rate

perfect tutor rate

Charging the perfect tutor rate depends on experience and reputation. If you are a beginning tutor on any platform, your first goal should be to win the trust and affection of the students, not make the perfect tutor rate. High earnings are driven by star ratings. The more ratings and the more those ratings contain detail, the easier it will be for you to get work.

Studygate features successful tutors with master’s degrees and unsuccessful tutors with doctoral degrees. What we have found is that the degree status doesn’t make the profile immediately successful.

New tutors assume their credentials will automatically drive traffic to their profile page and lead to conversions

These credentials really do matter and they’re an important part of why you’re a qualified tutor, but you still have to convince the students that you know how to use the platform to give them what they value most:

  • Can you convince them you understand their question?
  • Can you offer them a fair price?
  • Can you deliver on time?

If you don’t have a track record of helping with these things, students will not accept your bids. Falsely assuming that experience precedes reputation is by far the number one reason new tutors give up on tutoring platforms.

Once you have a premier badge or at least twenty reviews, now you are in a position to start leveraging that reputation!

Here are three steps to charge the perfect tutor rate:

  1. Write down a realistic figure for the service you are providing as compared to rates you would get through other tutoring services.
  2. Review your work and calculate the time you took to complete as compared to the price you paid. Divide pay earned by time spent (including messages, follow-up, disputes) to get your hourly rate.
  3. Compare the difference between the two figures.

If 1 is higher than 2, then you should be charging more!

How do I optimize my tutor profile picture?

tutor profile picture

Picking a tutor profile picture that looks like it came from your passport will not impress your students.

Here are 2 quick tips to make a tutor profile picture that will capture the attention of others:

1. Show your personality

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If you’re hair isn’t perfect, that’s ok.

Just be real and intentional with the presentation.

2. Keep it cool.

tutor profile picture

 

 

 

Chemists use beakers, mathematicians use calculators

Use the materials that you would use in your specialty to promote your service.

Molly Shapiro over at PicMonkey has some great ideas for optimizing your tutor profile picture:

  • Wear clothes that are appropriate for your profession. But if you feel like dressing up a bit, go for it. Going the extra mile by wearing a suit can give the impression that you’re capable and competent.
  • Smile, but don’t go overboard. You want to appear approachable and inviting without looking like you’re laughing.
  • Squinch. Yes, you heard that right. Everyone’s talking about squinching, which is basically what happens to your eyes when you smile. According to psychological research, wide eyes denote fear while slightly squinting denotes competence.
  • Experiment with angles. Some people say shooting from above works best, but everybody has a good side. Try different angles and positions to find yours.
  • Stick with the tried and true head and shoulders shot. Close-cropped head shots can feel a little overwhelming for the viewer, and full body shots don’t work well in the confines of a small profile pic.

StudyGate does not accept:

  1. Pictures of your shoes or accessories
  2. Stock photos of a random stranger
  3. Morning pre-coffee/tea selfies in your t-shirt and sandals
  4. Images of random objects or graphics

What would your student want to see in you? The most famous Studygate tutor profile pictures have an authentic vibe and communicate positivity.

tutor profile picturetutor profile picture

 

 

 

 

 

If you are a Studygate tutor and would like personalized tips on optimizing your profile picture, email us at <career@studygate.com>.

Pro tip: If you can entertain students while you help them, you will never lack work!

Elon Musk on Education: “I Don’t Give a Damn About Your Degree”

Elon Musk On Education Harvard Degree

Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk on education has some uncommon opinions. He is the founder of Tesla and SpaceX. Musk holds American, Canadian, and South African citizenship. He lives in Los Angeles, and he doesn’t give a damn about your degree.

Elon Musk on Education Infographic

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Q: Elon, do I need a degree?

A: There’s no need even to have a college degree at all or even a high school diploma. If somebody graduated from a great university then maybe that’s an indication that they will be capable of great things but it’s not necessarily the case.

Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, and Steve Jobs didn’t graduate from college but if you had a chance to hire them that would be a great idea.

The key is to look for evidence of exceptional ability. If there’s a track record of achievement then it’s likely that that will continue into the future.

Q: Elon, how would you describe yourself?

A: I have a high innate drive and that’s been true even since I was a little kid. Back then, I did all sorts of risky things that I now realize were actually crazy. I care a lot about the truth of things and trying to understand why those things are true. If you’re going to come up with some solution, then it’s really really important that you know the truth and can anticipate that.

Sometimes I see things that seem quite clear and obvious to me, and I don’t understand why they aren’t so obvious to everyone.

Q: Elon, how do you educate your five boys?

A: I created Ad Astra which means “to the stars.” It’s different from most schools since there aren’t any grades at all. I’m making all the children go in the same subjects at the same time like an assembly line. This is because some people love English or languages, some people love math, and some people love music. It’s important to develop different abilities at different times and cater the education to match individual aptitudes and abilities within each subject.

I think it’s also important to teach problem solving or teach to the problem and not to the tools. So let’s say you are trying to teach people how engines work. You could start by the more traditional approach to teach all about screwdrivers and wrenches and even have a course on screwdrivers and wrenches.

But this is a very difficult way to do it. A much better way would be to show the engine and say “Let’s take it apart. How are we going to take it apart? Oh, you need a screwdriver. That’s what the screwdriver is for.” Then a very important thing happens. The relevance of the tools becomes apparent.

The regular schools just don’t do the things that I think should be done like the principles of focusing on one subject at a time and teaching directly to the problem. I actually hired a teacher from the school they were at who also agreed with me that there was a better way to do it.

The kids really love going to school, and I think that’s a good sign. I hated going to school when I was a kid. It was torture! So the fact that they actually think vacations are too long and they want to go back to school is a great sign.

Q: Elon, what do you have in common with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Larry Ellison?

A: Those are pretty different personalities between Gates and Jobs and Ellison! All three of those were technologists but with different types of skills. Jobs was obviously very focused on aesthetics to integrate with the technology. He really answered the question of what people wanted even when they didn’t know themselves. Jobs was obviously not afraid to break boundaries.

Gates would probably be better at raw engineering and technology than Jobs, but not as good on aesthetics.

All of these guys were obviously very driven and they’re very talented and they’re able to attract great people to build a company.

The ability to attract and motivate great people is critical to the success of a company because the company is just that. It’s a group of people that are assembled to create a product or service. We all so often forget this elementary truth. So if you’re able to get great people to join the company and work together towards a common goal and you have a relentless sense of perfection about that goal, then you will end up with a great product.

If you have a great product, people will buy it and then you know you’ll be successful. It’s pretty straightforward.

Q: Elon, are you fearless?

A: I wouldn’t say I’m fearless. I feel fear quite strongly. If what we’re doing is something I think is important enough, then I just override the fear. But it’s not as if I don’t feel fear. I feel it stronger than I would like.

If the stakes are high and it’s really important, then I should overcome the fear and just do it anyway. It’s kind of annoying, I wish I felt it less.

Q: Elon, which venture that you founded would you say was the most risky at the start?

A: SpaceX. I thought it had the lowest chance of success. I thought both Tesla and SpaceX would fail at the beginning. What I thought was, “well, I’ll take half the money from PayPal and if I lose half of it that’s okay.” But then of course the companies encounter difficulties and then you have a choice.

1. Let the company die

2. Put all the money into the company

 

I really didn’t want the companies to die, so I put all the money into the company. Then I had to borrow money from friends to pay living expenses.

Q: Elon, what was your best idea ever?

A: Coming to North America was my best idea. I think these things would not have been accomplished anyway you know anywhere else. It’s really hard to start a company, but California and Silicon Valley is very conducive to startup companies. Whenever I read books in South Africa, it would seem like the cutting edge of technology was in Silicon Valley. So that’s where I wanted to come to move to this mythical place.

Q: Elon, are there things you regret having done or not having done so far?

A: There’s lots of things, but life is short. There’s lots of things that could be done that one can’t necessarily do. Overall, I think I’m pretty happy with where things are, it’s hard not to be. Things are in a good place right now.

I’d like to see humanity go beyond Earth and have people on Mars. That would be really great. I’d like to see widespread adoption of electric vehicles and renewable energy. These are great things and I think they would be really cool.


Watch the original interview here. Getting a job is hard. Here are some ways to decide if you should get a normal job or start the next SpaceX

8 Advanced Study Tips

8 Advanced Study Tips

Advanced study tips you’ll get from professors and other people who want you to be better in school are too often really basic.

They’ll tell you to sit up front in class and scan your textbooks instead of reading every single chapter.

Maybe you want something better to increase your focus. When you play fighting games, you want to know the frame rate in every single move set and analyze each matchup instead of just playing the game and “having fun.”

You’re the same way with studying. You want to find really advanced tips to hack your learning. You want to find things that don’t come up when you get your basic study tips. This is the blog for you. Are you ready for 8 advanced study tips? Let’s get started!

Advanced Study Tips Infographic

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Use the Corson technique

Dale Corson was the eighth president of Cornell University, and he was also a chemistry professor. He said that students in chemistry and other science and math programs often have to work really hard to crack problems one sentence at a time as they go through their textbooks or problem sets.

Sometimes you get to a point where you just can’t crack the problem on your own and you need to ask for help. So you go to your professor!

What Dale Corson wants you to think about before you actually talk to a professor is to pause and ask yourself: what is it that I truly don’t understand?

He wants you to get away from this thing that a lot of students do where they go to their professor and with a general wave of the hand and say “I don’t understand what I’m looking at, like this is just confusing to me, I don’t get it.” Instead, he wants you to pick apart the problem one sentence at a time and figure out the exact point at which you don’t get what’s going on.

When you can pinpoint that, you’re going to impress your professor with your preparation and the amount of effort you put into the problem. You will get some brownie points there, but you’re also working to practice the art of recognizing confusion and following it down to its actual source.

Spaced repetition

Spaced repetition is the art of studying things at increasingly bigger and bigger intervals of time. It’s a very efficient way to study, but it also takes advantage of the way your brain works. If you know that individual fact very well, you will not see it for quite a while. In contrast, if there is a fact that you don’t know, you’re going to see that more and more frequently.

Your brain is trying to recall information and you’re forcing it out at the closest time possible to when you are about to forget it. This makes your brain work as hard as it possibly can to recall this information and it encodes it better. This makes you more efficient so you can actually learn a lot faster now.

The best way to take advantage of this is to use a free and generalized program called Anki. You can actually create your own card sets for any type of data that you think you would want to study or you can download shared card decks here.

Definitely check this out. Preparing your own card decks is very useful, but even going through the shared decks and studying them is more efficient than using flashcard study methods on paper.

Method of Loci

The method of loci goes back to the Greek and Roman times. It is a memorization method that has been used by memory champs for a long time. It essentially takes advantage of your brain’s ability to remember spatial information very well through visualization. The classic way to do it is to associate certain sets of data with different rooms of a house.

For example, this is the symbol for “King” in Japanese:

The way that you say “king” in Japanese is “Oh.” Unfortunately, “Oh” is a really simple pronunciation. It doesn’t really lend itself to well to mnemonics. If you wanted to adapt the method of loci to learning this word, you could associate “king” with “toilet.”

No, I am not against using five-year-old humor here!

What do you say when you smell the toilet?

If you really wanted to make this study technique useful,  you could go into the bathroom and put a flashcard on the toilet. Then you can walk through my house and use this method for all sorts of words. Now the method of loci is not as easy to apply as Anki, but if you’ve got a lot to memorize and nothing else has worked, this might be worth your time.

Hack akrasia

Akrasia is a term that has been written about for centuries and it goes back to Plato. It’s essentially a lack of command over oneself.

There’s another even more complex term called picoeconomics. Basically, we discount the value of a task the more it is delayed and the more the reward is pushed off into the future. We tend to procrastinate and do fun things that don’t really align with our values in the short term and avoid doing things that really do line up with our values because the reward is delayed.

So there are two ways to hack akrasia.

First, use a commitment device bind yourself to getting your task done on time. I love Beeminder.

Second, add a shorter term reward to completing a task. You can put gummy bears on your textbook. As you read each paragraph, you can allow yourself to eat each gummy bear. You can also let yourself watch an episode of Game of Thrones once you finish an assignment.

Game of Thrones 8 advanced study tips
Give yourself a reward after you complete that assignment!

Just make sure you give yourself some fun experience and a goal when you finish the study problem set. Otherwise, you risk causing akrasia.

Improve the Pomodoro Technique

In case you haven’t heard of the Pomodoro technique, it’s simply where you set a timer for 25 minutes and then work only on one task during that 25-minute session. Then you take a 5-minute break.

It’s very useful, but there are some areas for improvement:

Tocks

Tocks are essentially a Pomodoro session except that you use 45 minutes and then take a 15 minute break instead of the classic 25-minute 5-minute break structure. The tip here is to experiment with the time intervals. Don’t just set yourself to 25 minutes and assume that that’s the only potential interval that you could study at. Find what works for you!

Distraction list

Put a piece of paper next to you during your Pomodoro session. Whenever anything comes up to distracts you like a phone call or the urge to check Facebook, write it down. This lets you remember what the distraction was and if it happened to be something urgent you can take care of it during your break time. Also, as you continue to do lots of Pomodoro sessions over many weeks, you start to see the common problems that distract you. You can then take steps to prevent these things.

Focused and diffused thinking

In A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science Even if You Flunked Algebra, Barbara Oakley describes the chess strategy of Magnus Carlsen. He is currently the number one player in the world, but back in 2004 when he was just 13 years old he played Garry Kasparov to a draw. Kasparov is still considered one of the best chess players in the world. But look at what Carlsen does from these screenshots here!

Diffused thinking 8 Advanced study tips
Playing chess with Kasparov
Diffused thinking 8 Advanced study tips
Carlsen getting “distracted,” but not really
Diffused thinking 8 Advanced study tips
Diffused thinking to study the moves of others

Oakley has pointed out that Carlsen uses diffused thinking. Focused thinking takes advantage of your prefrontal cortex to focus on one specific set of data and one specific problem. But it sort of doesn’t let the rest of your brain become activated.

A lot of ideas come from different nodes of your brain connecting different completely unrelated ideas in new and different ways. That’s the diffused mode of thinking. So when you’re learning something new, you want to use diffused thinking. You can grok the present problem and then tie it to other nodes in your brain to understand it. If you only try to focus on the problem and do nothing else, you’re going to have a lot harder time solving the problem.

Gauge your classes

The goal is to measure the speed at which your professor moves and at which you’re able to understand. If your professor tends to go too fast and you can’t really understand everything he’s presenting, then you want to take some steps to fix that problem.

One thing you could do is read through the chapter before a lecture. Maybe if you have some material that outlines what’s going to begin the lecture, you can look at the most relevant parts of the textbook to prime your brain for the lecture.

Another thing you can do if the class pace is just too fast is to simply ask your professor for help or ask questions in the middle of class. Professors are there to help you and you should take advantage of that.

Start alone to recognize confusion

When you do a problem set with a partner you’re kind of robbing yourself the opportunity to really pinpoint gaps in your understanding. If two people are going at the same problem at the same time, one person might be able to do the entire thing. The other person can sort of kind of get where the first person is coming from. You’re going to latch on to their answer and say “yeah I sort of get that” and then you’re going to move on. But if you do it alone then you’re going to be able to pinpoint those areas of confusion and address them before you get into a group.

Content originally presented on YouTube.

11 Secrets to Memorize Things Quicker than Others

Infographic Memorization Tips

Have you seen the movie Limitless? The main character found a special pill that allowed him to recall all experience and memorize things quicker whenever he needed to.

Too bad this isn’t true for real life! Unfortunately, we forget a lot of information over the course of our lives.

In this post we’ll share with you some simple memorization tips and a universal formula that will retrieve any information from memory when you need it. Ready? Let’s get started!

First of all, it’s important to remember your brain is like a hard drive. The space is limited! Remember that Sherlock Holmes couldn’t name all the planets of the solar system. He wasn’t stupid, it’s just that he was too smart to have such irrelevant information in his memory.

Instead, Sherlock deliberately erased facts he would never need from his memory. We all do this to some degree. Some of us are less conscious about it than Sherlock, but your brain deletes unneeded information for you regardless. This protects you from overloading with information. That’s why all new data is stored in the short-term memory not the long one. If you don’t repeat it or use it you forget it very quickly.

A German psychologist named Hermann Ebbinghaus researched the memory and its mechanisms. He described the forgetting curve by showing that just one hour after learning something new we forget more than half of the learned information.

One day later we remember only about 30%. You get the idea!

So how to remember everything? There is a memorization technique called spaced repetition to keep some information in your head for a longer time when you need something in your long-term memory.

Forced memorization is not very effective in this case because your brain can’t make sense of the information quickly and form strong associations. It all depends on the reason why you are learning something.

There are two big strategies to consider to memorize things quicker:

The first is when you need to learn the information quickly, use it once, and forget most of it. This looks like a typical exam preparation.

To memorize something quickly, repeat the information right after learning it. The second repetition should be after 15 to 20 minutes. You don’t need to return to the information between repetitions. Instead, just rest and do something different to let your brain relax. Then repeat the learned material the third time after 6 to 8 hours. You should have the final repetition 24 hours after the first contact with the information.

But how do you memorize something if you want to remember things for a long time? If you need to extend the memorization period, here’s the plan:

a. The first repetition should be right after learning just like in the previous technique. Then repeat the material after 20 to 30 minutes.

b. The third repetition should be only after one day.

c. The next one comes after two to three weeks.

d. The final round is after two to three months.

This way you can learn something for a very long time. The brain thinks that if you return to the information it means that it’s necessary, so it doesn’t get erased.

With that said, here are eleven simple tips that will help you memorize things quicker!

Memorize things quick infographic

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1. Try to understand what you learn

You probably know the feeling when you’re learning something but you don’t understand. The information usually turns into a nightmare because it looks like learning a poem that has no rhyme.

Another bad thing about learning something you don’t understand is that

if you forget some part of it you will not be able to continue. This is because you have only memorized the order of words and not their actual meaning. Instead, you should read the entire piece of information and figure out what the main point or points are.

Try to retell what you have read using your own words. Do it as simply as you can. If you are successful that means you understood the information and now it will be way easier to memorize the details.

2. Learn the most necessary information

If you feel like you have too much on your plate, set your priorities correctly. Decide what you have to know and what you can do without just fine. Focus on the key parts of what you need to memorize. If you find some time to devote to the less important information, that’s great but it can be done later.

3. Embrace the serial position effect

No this is not when you position your Cheerios on the right side of the table and your homework on the left when learning something new! Things that are at the beginning and the end are memorized the best. Use this effect to your advantage. Sort the information so that the key parts are at the beginning and at the end.

4. Interference theory rocks!

Switch your attention from one topic to another and from one activity to another. For example, you’re preparing for a public talk. You’ve learned the text for 15 minutes. Now it’s time to take a break and rest every 15 to 20 minutes. This is the period when attention is at its best.

Unfortunately, people usually stop being attentive during this time. The best thing you can do is switch to something completely different like playing the guitar or blasting bush campers on Fortnite.

Another thing you should be careful with is learning similar information. Interference theory suggests that similar memories get mixed up and become a mess. That’s why if you know you’re about to learn something that at least remotely resembles what you’ve already learned, we recommend taking a long break before starting something new.

5. Learn opposite things

Opposites are easily memorized in pairs. If you’re learning a new

language, work on learning at the beginning of the day and at night too. This way, you will build a connection between these two events in your mind. If you forget one study session, the second one will help you recall.

6. Build your own mind palace

This is about Sherlock Holmes again. Do you remember how he could travel in his mind palace for hours looking for the necessary information?

The idea is to associate items to memorize with a certain object. If you are in your room, try to connect the thing you are learning to something in your room. Recall the objects a few times after that to recall what the room looks like in your memory and repeat the things you associated with each object.

Want to make this technique even better? Divide all the concepts you need to memorize into a few parts. Then place these parts in different parts of your apartment. Better yet, place them in different places in your city.

This way the memorized information won’t be something dull or boring. Instead, it will be associated with some other memories like smells of places and people you saw there.

7. Use nail words

The point of this technique is to nail one learned thing to another. If you need to memorize the French word for nail, you should also look up wall, hammer, and other related words that you can logically connect to nail.

8. Make up stories

If you need to memorize a lot of information in a particular order, try to put the pieces into a story. It’s important that the pieces are connected to each other with some kind of plot. This way, if you accidentally forget something, you can always recall what was supposed to happen next in the story.

Yes, this might seem like you need even more effort but it’s true! Believe us, it works wonders!

9. Use a tape recorder

Record the information somehow you are learning and listen to the recording a few times. We don’t think anyone uses tape recorders anymore, but you get the point!

Yes, it might take you some time to get used to the sound of your voice. It might seem strange or unpleasant in the beginning, but this method is handy because it allows all types of memory to work.

First, you read the information so you can see it with your eyes. Then you hear it with your ears. The more contact you have with what you are learning, the better you can memorize it!

10. Visualize

Use your body language when learning. This will help you trigger your muscle memory. Use expressive gestures to recite to yourself what you just learned in front of a mirror. Emotions like anger and awe have the strongest effect on us. With a little acting, this technique will internalize your studies.

11. Choose only the best materials

Don’t use outdated books and methods of learning. Things have changed a lot since textbooks were written. Don’t waste your time on something that may turn out to be wrong. Go online and check the most recent information on the subject.

Content originally posted on YouTube by Brightside

12 Study Tips That Will Boost Your Results

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How to destroy homework procrastination using YouTube

Study With Me

College and high school students are turning to Study With Me videos to destroy homework procrastination. Their lives are no different from older generations. Today’s students seek support. They feel lonely sometimes. To solve this, students turn to technology to increase their motivation. They hold each other accountable. They take the library to their laptop with study tubers.

This trend has a long history of development on the web that starts with ASMR.

SWM videos are a mostly European trend gone global
SWM videos are a mostly European trend gone global

ASMR Origins

The term ASMR has its online roots in chat forums and stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response dating back to 2007. Maria of Gentle Whispering ASMR fame associates the trend with childhood. “Whenever your mother would treat you delicately, or your doctor or teacher would talk to you gently… The caring touch is the biggest trigger.”

ASMR creators assume that people need to feel personally comforted on the Internet. As early pioneers like Maria realized that quiet soothing sounds produce spine-tingling sensations in people, they used sound to facilitate the experience. Things like the sound of scissors when getting a hair cut. Or crunching food as it is being eaten. Even just whispering can have an effect.

Study With Me Origins

Now imagine a world where life as a student sucks. Everyone expects you to succeed. You’re not doing that. Homework procrastination is so easy. The pressure to succeed is overwhelming.

From that pain point, study tubers today get millions of views on YouTube from doing just one thing: study. In front of a video camera. All by themselves. With the ASMR sounds of pencils scratching notes on paper.

Study with me videos have their origins in ASMR. ASMR creators would make low-budget videos based on their surroundings in their bedroom and living rooms. In September 2014 YouTuber Oldwonderfulsounds read a particularly boring academic article titled “The High Prevalence of Injury Among Female Bassoonists” to put her readers sleep. She stapled the papers together carefully at her desk. She even took notes as she read to her viewers.

Other YouTubers intent on creating alternatives to their normal content would get stuck with revising for exams. In April 2015, ASMRAlice in the UK used her school homework as a tool to create ASMR effects. With whispers and explanations, Alice flips through sticky notes and scratches words on paper from her desk in her video.

This video has since been deleted

The combination of study ASMR didn’t exactly create award-winning content.

Study With Me Study Tuber #1

Mercifully, there was Heleen from Brussels. Anxious about finding some study buddies, she posted in May 2015 about creating a place for people to connect and learn together.

Determined to stop her homework procrastination, Heleen took action. She did not focus on not getting more friends in school. Her channel never showcased fashionable style to get extra clicks for video production. Heleen realized beautiful stationary and back to school videos would not inspire an A. Instead, she shared her desire to build a connected community focused on study.

Three years later, Heleen tells me that people keep coming back because they can find a positive environment to study in. Visitors chat during scheduled 10 minute breaks. As for Heleen, she is on the verge of beginning a career in chemical engineering as she finishes her master’s degree.

Her demeanor is simple, straightforward, and always friendly. According to Heleen, “If I had never started streaming, I would continue procrastinating. I was getting bad grades in math and would have failed. This is an accountability system for me. There is a sense of collaboration and usefulness to our work together.” During our conversation, I was most struck my Heleen’s sense of gratitude to give back to the community that had inspired.

It was as if she owed them something.

Since Heleen posted the first ever study with me video on June 1st, 2015, thousands of students have joined the movement to create their own videos. Millions of students are following these channels across YouTube. You can read more about the varying approaches to study with me videos here.

Expert Perspective: What the Critics Say

Smaller education companies are getting in the mix too. At Studygate, students are creating micro Study With Me sessions with their classmates. Too often, you know what you need to do but just can’t take the first step. Study with me sessions solve that and gives you a place to feel connected with your classmates.

Of course, there are many reasons to question the value of studying with other humans online. MIT professor and psychologist Sherry Turkle believes “the Internet is taking us places we don’t want to go. We remove ourselves from our grief or from our revery, and we go into our phones… we sacrifice conversation for mere connection. We short-change ourselves. And over time, we seem to forget this, or we seem to stop caring.”

Turkle is right that emotions of sadness and excitement are neutralized online, but other professors are slower to condemn a movement dedicated to beating homework procrastination.

Mitchell Nathan is professor of educational psychology and learning sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He compares Study With Me videos with parallel play when young children build blocks next to each other without directly getting involved in the other’s actions. Interest is there, but full engagement is not needed. Nathan describes study with me sessions as a time when “You’re ignoring each other, but that’s still much more preferable than doing it all by yourself.”

Stefan van der Stigchel teaches experimental psychology at the University of Utrecht and describes Study With Me videos as an opportunity to find a place of belonging. “You have the same thing in a library, you just have to look around you to see that you’re all doing the same thing, that’s motivating.”

The Future of Study

Today it’s easy to look at the lives of future generations and believe their experiences will be worse than our own. If humans use technology to be more productive and get better grades, we still have to apply these to things that matter. What are we doing to positively impact the lives of others?

Heleen used the digital tools around her to build a group of friends. To encourage accountability. She made discipline out of homework procrastination. And she did it on YouTube.

As Study With Me videos continue to grow, we should look at the trend as a tool to inspire tomorrow’s leaders. So thank you YouTube. And thanks Heleen. For taking homework procrastination out of the Internet.

Deuces, OK!?: Common misconceptions about study tubers

study tubers

Old school learning

Well before the establishment of study tubers and YouTube, 14 UK parents and teachers established the Campaign for Real Education in 1987. Unaffiliated with any political party, the CRE manifesto focuses on freedom for teachers to teach as they choose without having to conform to a specific curriculum.

Competition trumps cooperation. Product comes before process. Overall, the group would prefer to resist the creation of the “politically correct, secular, socialist society” promoted by progressive educators.

It is within this context that CRE chairman Chris McGovern seeks to limit the freedom of students to define how they learn. Seems he prefers to leave the methodology to the experts.

Chuckin up the deuces, study tubers entered the Internet in 2015 and took matters into their own hands.

What are study tubers?

These channels consist of current and former students building learning community on YouTube through subscriptions and comments on their videos. Video discussion threads become a source of inspiration and encouragement.

Discussion comments from study with me (cramming w coffee)

Students share videos of themselves studying or explain best tips for getting As on exams in order to satisfy expectations. Sometimes they simply share their successes and failures when receiving acceptance letters from their favorite Ivy League school. The study with me videos turn into a source of accountability and celebration for keeping students focused on the task at hand.

I wanted to find out why students would make study with me videos in the first place. These unique videos consist of nothing but setting a camera on the student while they study.

So I reached out to study tuber Melissa Brady

Brady runs a no-holds-barred channel that emphasizes keeping it real at all times. Her videos are a perfect example of an anti-fake aesthetic that so many teenagers care about today. The consumer culture filled with offers and promotions takes a background role. Brady replaces it with content showing we are all caught in the machine.

This aesthetic shines through in her highly concentrated 1-second clips of daily living. Subscribers watch her taking out the retainer, brushing teeth, getting coffee, making shakes, and waiting in lines.

Gone is the notion of pretending beauty and perfection are a part of who we are. Instead, Brady and other study tubers call the product what it is. Makeup is unreal. Good grades are a grind. Brady separates herself from the end result and takes her users through the transformative process it takes to get there:

The reason why I chose to post videos of me studying is because I wanted to motivate my subscribers AS WELL as me. When I film myself studying I know that there are going to be a lot of other people studying along with my video and it makes me very excited to study and film. I especially wanted my studying series to be more of something “fun” to do instead of something that you have to do.

study with me (cramming w coffee)
study with me (cramming w coffee) (click here for overview, scroll down to #11)

What educators think about study tubers

The study tuber movement doesn’t impress everyone. CRE chairperson Chris McGovern quipped in the the Telegraph earlier this year that “we need to get away from the videos, I suspect they are whipping up hysteria. Unfortunately for youngsters, they tend to whip each other up into a frenzy.” Reader Alex Ford commented that “Watching Youtube instead of studying is the new tidying your desk.”

But is study tubing really a waste of time?

Career educators like high school teacher Patty Wilcox of Larned, Kans., take a more nuanced view on the popularity of study tubers: “[student viewers] need to realize they are not that person and need to adapt the information to their own personality style and ability. . . . I believe in utilizing tools that tap into my students’ world. Many of them are watching videos anyway, why not use that medium to our advantage?”

Students that would dare to take ownership of their own learning deserve empowerment, not criticism. Studying for good grades to get in the ideal school is stressful enough already. If I’m going to pursue that, the best practice is to surround myself with friends helping me along the way.

If others couldn’t get that, it might be time to give them the deuces and find your own study solutions.

Study with me: 11 study tubers to inspire your next A

The study with me genre is going global. Expect to find videos filled with students doing just one thing: studying. Get ready for lots of silence (music optional) as smart people get to work and invite you to join them.

Why study with me?

There are some great reasons to watch these videos:

  1. Friendship with tons of comments from likeminded students
  2. Community of people committed to learning with you to the next A
  3. Single screen to focus on instead of distracted browsing everywhere

The following are some of the hippest students on the planet, presented in no particular order. Each offer their own flavor and personality to compliment your study session.

Study with me Studytubers

1. TheStrive Studies

 

STUDY WITH ME–let’s study together! | TheStrive Studies! (no music)

Jamie is a medical student with a polished video style based in NYC. Studying with her honestly feels like entertainment AND working in the presence of a guru because she shares so much about her life as a successful medical student. The perfect balance between genius and fashionista, she shows off her space with just enough with multiple camera angles to inspire without distracting. The result is more views than any other video on this list.

2. Study To Success

STUDY WITH ME: 3 Hour Live/Real Time Study Session (Pomodoro)

Estella’s channel packs a flamboyant attitude, proving once and for all that such a thing can exist in AP Statistics. She is focused and tends to show some rough around the edges to keep it real (this video was made before an all nighter). Overall, expect carefully organized highlighters on this channel along with stationary and assortments of neon objects decorating her Instagram profile. She is one of the few Studytubers I found using Google Meet sessions, but there is the added bonus of her phone to track Pomodoro on a 3-hour video. 

3. UnJaded Jade

Real Time Study With Me *with break* 💪 2 Hours of Productivity & Motivation
Real Time Study With Me *with break* 💪 2 Hours of Productivity & Motivation

Birmingham (England, not Alabama)-based Jade kicks ass with a high energy channel that keeps it real. She is not a fashionista, at least not a self-conscious one. While many YouTubers use sophisticated editing techniques to produce their work, Jade films with her phone. Without a doubt one of the most popular studytubers on YouTube, she constantly comes across as a really authentic person, which is actually pretty impressive since she is studying biology.

4. Study Vibes

Study with me | 2 hours
Study with me | 2 hours

The Belgium-based Study Vibes channel consists almost exclusively of study with me videos. That’s unique in a studytuber culture that often mixes fashion or life hacks into its content uploads. One of the more introverted channels I have found, Heleen interacts with a small but highly engaged group of users with enabled live chats during Google Meet sessions. Not only is this the longest tenured channel I found during my research (since 2014), but it represents the only channel treating its viewers like true study partners and not just another view to entertain. 

5. Thomas Frank

Study With Me - A 25-Minute Pomodoro Session
Study With Me – A 25-Minute Pomodoro Session

Thomas Frank might be the king of the studytuber genre, but that isn’t really fair since he is one among very few guys to post in it. Considered slightly old compared to most other study with me creators, Frank admits to finding these videos cheesy and wouldn’t dare go to the trouble of making a whole subcategory of videos like this. For efficiency, he treats this video like a single-view pomodoro session. As Frank would say, “let’s get to work.”

6. 사랑Sarang

STUDY WITH ME | 같이 공부해요
STUDY WITH ME | 같이 공부해요

By far one of the more inspiring channels I found, dental student Sarang shows off an artistic side that constantly comes out in her videos. We find it in the flowers on the intro segments and slightly unfocused camera angles of her videos. Sarang is lucky to be in dental school after taking a long and winding path from Korea to study in the US. Maybe that’s what makes her focus and fancy hair so inspiring. And her study with me music ROCKS with selections by Eventide. To keep it real, expect to hear Sarang highly focused and talking to herself in between tracks.

7. Cracker ASMR

📚 No talking ASMR | Let's study together! Studying ASMR, writing , page turning, white noise
📚 No talking ASMR | Let’s study together! Studying ASMR, writing , page turning, white noise

Another Korean channel, Cracker ASMR contains by far the best sense of aesthetic on this list without overwhelming or distracting. The creator keeps it real by making videos where the sound of what you’re hearing represents the perfect experience to compliment the visuals. Best experienced with headphones, this YouTuber will tickle your ears with paintbrushes and Q-tips (no kidding) on other videos, but no talking. Ever. All you hear are the scratches her pencil makes on the paper she is taking notes on.

8. iMia

STUDY WITH ME : MED SCHOOL NEUROANATOMY #2
STUDY WITH ME : MED SCHOOL NEUROANATOMY #2

Study with me is taking over France too, and Marion aka iMia is one of its pioneers. Her videos profile the life of a medical student studying abroad in Italy. Often, she talks about her life studying medicine and has recently taken a plunge into the genre with a very dark back view of her multi-screened study space. The accompanying music is energetic and straight-forward, a great example of how this video genre is revolutionizing how people learn and evolves around the world.

9. MedBros

Study With Me (2 hours w/ music)
Study With Me (2 hours w/ music)

Don’t expect a Pomodoro session from MedBros. Honestly, how could you learn everything you need to get in 25 minutes after all? Much better to learn alongside someone for an extended period of time, and that’s exactly what is provided here with a nearly 2 hour session. Chill hip hop beats are included (or not, your choice). Thankfully, Shaman keeps it real with some minor humor. 🙂

10. Mariana’s Study Corner

STUDY WITH ME IN REAL TIME » 20 minutes of Spartan History
STUDY WITH ME IN REAL TIME » 20 minutes of Spartan History

This Portuguese channel is another one of the more artfully crafted study with me videos. There is the wood finish table, which is gorgeous. Then there is the trendy use of an iPad on Google Drive. Finally, Mariana uses clean pens and highlighters to work out of her notebook with her muted pink fingernails. Users can see her fantastic technique of reading and extracting relevant material from the PDF for later review. We only wish it could be longer!

11. Melissa Brady

study with me (cramming w coffee)
study with me (cramming w coffee)

This American Youtuber has three things going for her: excellent musical taste with saxophonist Dexter Gordon ❤️️❤️️❤️️, an old school iMovie filter, and a snarky personality to make any study session a joy to complete. In this video, her concept is to visit coffee shops around the town where she lives and take us along with her. With those giant glasses, she just might be the hippest study buddy on the list, fashion and video editing heavy.

The shocking truth about student debt

fedloan

Getting out of student debt should be the number one priority for college students. But reality does not allow for such simplicity.

For 28,000 of America’s most service-oriented graduates, payments come with an altruistic approach: the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Congress passed PSLF in 2007 to discharge outstanding loan balances.

Here are the conditions:

  1. Make 120 non-consecutive loan payments
  2. Work full-time at one of the following:
    • Governmental organizations: federal, state, local, or Tribal (for example, government agencies, the military, public schools and colleges, and public hospitals)
    • Nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations
    • Nonprofit organizations that provide certain types of public services, such as education or health services

Sounds simple right? PSLF motivates people with student debt to work in underserved communities by providing the incentive of loan forgiveness.

However, the Department of Education reported last month that only 96 of the 28,000 student debt holders applying for PSLF actually got approved. Kevin Maier represents one of the few who managed to successfully complete the original repayment program and describes the entire system as “poorly managed.” Maier made the understatement of the week.

Maybe Cory Doctorow summed it up best when he wrote “In theory, thousands of people should be having their debts wiped away this year. In reality, less than one percent of the people enrolled in the program will see that happen. The rest are screwed.”

Screwed as in they need to start all over again because they didn’t follow a technicality. 10 more years of payments.

Part of the problem consists of paperwork. The Department of Education states thattoo many borrowers wait to submit their employment certification form until they have been in repayment for several years, at which point they learn that they have not been making qualifying payments. . . . [Borrowers] should continue to submit this form both annually and every time you switch employers.”

Which makes me want to throw up a little bit in my mouth. Publicly-serviced school loans demonstrate that American bureaucracy systematically confuses and frustrates the people with student debt it supposedly serves.

Silent Undermining of the PSLF

A little context explains this. Back in December 2017, GOP Representative Virginia Foxx of North Carolina attempted to remove the program altogether along with the opportunity to have loans forgiven for the 28,000 student debt applicants faithfully contributing to public service.

March 27, 2017, Foxx stands with Trump

Maybe Foxx realized the PSLF program didn’t work at all and wanted to save face for the Department of Education. But borrowers with student debt didn’t see it that way. Her actions sparked many a petition to resist the bill and make individual voices heard before Congress.

Perhaps for these reasons, the government realized something fell through the cracks well before their September report and the terrible completion numbers. In May, the Department of Education created the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. TEPSLF forgives Direct Loans under non-qualifying repayment plans in the PSLF system by providing (you guessed it) a new set of rules.

Mercifully, Kat Tretina did everyone a favor by explaining what those new rules mean in plain English.

Seth Frotman on the left
April 2016, Frotman (left) visits SVA’s National HQ to discuss student veteran issues

The Shocking Truth behind the PSLF

But that doesn’t explain why this system complicates so many things in the first place. For that answer, Former Student Loan Ombudsman Seth Frotman’s August resignation paints a more complete picture. In his final letter, the  writes “The current leadership of the [Consumer Financial Protection] Bureau has made its priorities clear—it will protect the misguided goals of the Trump Administration to the detriment of student loan borrowers.”

If there’s one thing that’s certain, next month’s mid-term elections will play a crucial moment for those who want to hold their politicians accountable. Young and old alike must stand their ground, seek out the truth, and act on their convictions. You can find out how to register at Vote.gov.

Don’t cheat but if you do know the one thing that really matters

Cheating hand

It might not seem obvious at first, but Mark Twain was a firm advocate of cheating. He suggested that “it is good to obey all the rules when you’re young, so you’ll have the strength to break them when you’re old.”

Mark Twain wouldn’t like the idea of cheating while you’re young, but he also lived in a world where the age of adulthood was 10 or 12. So maybe you’re already old enough to break the rules, at least by 19th century standards.

The difficulties humans cannot process or describe are projected onto future generations, rinse and repeat.

Having thrived in spite of his bad business chops, the wisdom of Twain still resonates today. Children still have to meet parent expectations. Teachers are still severe. Each generation passes the pain it experienced to the next one out of annoyance for the lack of love received, incessant “no you can’t do that” messages we heard as children, and desire to get ahead. The difficulties humans cannot process or describe are projected onto future generations, rinse and repeat.

No wonder a student would seek how to cheat to get ahead. All these adults berating and telling students to follow the rules — the process is exhausting. If you follow Twain’s advice, you simply conform as a teenager, but what if there are other options? Educational data analyst Zachary Goldman has documented the fact that students will often explore other options and break the rules to achieve a higher goal:

1. Get that diploma

2. Not embarrass your parents

3. Never deal with that professor again

These justifications sound like something inspired by Machiavelli. The 16th century Italian diplomat would judge actions by their ultimate outcomes instead of the questionable action itself, but YouTuber Thomas Frank posts that laziness is the biggest threat to making new habits—even getting beyond cheating. The reality is that discovering how to cheat allows us to get ahead in the short term with the option to focus on activities that are easy and feel good. Which makes cheating a pretty tempting option.

So if you know how to cheat already or are thinking about it, sit down and ask yourself, “What is the bigger yes I have to achieve by cheating on this course right now?” I’m here to suggest that “easy” and “feel good” are not good enough reasons to cheat. But if the grade is really the most important thing, don’t have illusions that you care about learning in school. Admit to yourself that you don’t care, define your bigger “yes” to follow and dig into that.

My desk of bigger yeses to achieve—Learn Mandarin and understand teaching

In a Google world built to make information “universally accessible and useful,” there are inevitable answer-finding tools in a 21st century knowledge economy. The pandora’s box of answer access is open, and teachers and parents should accept that there is no going back.

What is your biggest fear? Conformance to something you halfway believe in or the dangers associated with making your own path?

No age is too young to think for yourself. If we constantly jump through hoops to meet the expectations of our parents and teachers, we risk conforming to a system of herd morality. Friedrich Nietzsche hated this trend where people valued things that didn’t really matter instead of trying to become great at something. People were coming up with euphemisms to justify cowardly behavior like calling impotence “goodness of heart” and describing submission as “obedience.” Nobody wants to become a pawn in a system.

If you cheat, know the costs. Getting caught makes it hard to advance in school, hurts your reputation with educators, and might get you kicked out. But the cost of following school rules can be just as damaging. What if you conform and end up sucking at life in a part-time job running the rat race with a premium UltraHD Netflix subscription? Now is the time to ask yourself, “What is your biggest fear? Conformance to something you halfway believe in or the dangers associated with making your own path?”

So if you know how to cheat already, own it. If learning about World War II and trigonometry isn’t good enough for you, then find something better to learn. Cheat with the knowledge of the one thing that really matters. If you’re going to do the bare minimum, identify the place where you will give your maximum. Leverage your desire to get a good grade with a greater need to do something specific with your time. Just make Twain proud and know the rules before you start breaking them.