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“I make videos about a variety of dimensions of student life — from studying and note-taking tips to planning and organization,” Shao told In The Know. “[Plus] vlogs about my life as a college student.”
The UCLA student wants her videos to be as authentic as possible. That’s because she’s not just trying to document the realities of student life — she’s hoping to get her audience to follow along as well.
Growing up, Shao always wanted to be an artist.
“Being in a first-generation immigrant household, there’s definitely a sense that you need a stable career and you can’t really find that in the creative sphere,” she explained. “As a result, my studies were always the No. 1 priority.”
Grappling with her artistic instincts and her academic drive, Shao decided to make her studying style a lot more creative with highlighters, color-coding and calligraphy.
When she joined YouTube, the social media sphere was missing the opportunity to, as Shao put it, “romanticize education.” She thought her genuine interest in bullet journaling and planning could carve out a space for her among influencers on YouTube and Instagram.
“The overwhelmingly positive response felt really encouraging,” she said of her early success. “The series that really grew my channel was the Study with Me series.”
Shao’s success eventually evolved into publishing a book, Study with Me.
“It felt like a once-in-a-lifetime, previously unattainable achievement,” she said.
One big factor in helping Shao publish her book was her fans, a group that she said features a lot of high-achieving young women.
“It can sound very cliché, but I think the intellectual development of all people is very important to improving the world,” she said. “I hope I can inspire people to find joy in knowledge and academics.”
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