By Esther Morales
After a full year of remote learning and quarantine, many students have found comfort in reignited passions and continue to work towards positive changes in lifestyle, health and academia.
Nursing major Dana Finkelstein and finance major Shannon Nutley are two seniors who have explored their love for content creation while sharing some guidance for college students along the way.
“I have always been a watcher of YouTube since elementary or middle school,” Finkelstein said. “I always thought about making a channel but it wasn’t until quarantine that I decided to do it.”
When Finkelstein started her channel last March, she had one goal: to make content valuable to others.
Over the past year, Finkelstein focused her videos on a wide variety of topics, from budgeting to self-care to several hour-long “Study with Me” sessions. Her consistency and shared practices have steadily grown her audience to over 1.45 thousand subscribers.
Apart from her signature bullet journaling and occasional vlogs, some of the YouTuber’s earliest videos include tips from her experience using the popular online marketplace, Redbubble.
“Ever since elementary school, I have loved making art and taking classes. I started taking art more seriously over the past two years as I sold paintings on Kickstarter and took a painting class here at TCNJ,” she said. “When it comes to Redbubble, I uploaded my first ever designs in 2018 for fun and was pretty shocked when I got a few sales.”
On her Redbubble shop, Finkelstein features over a hundred different stickers and T-shirts with nursing, New Jersey and college-related designs. Over the past several years, her experience with digital art has grown and her creative spirit and eye for design have not gone unnoticed. Some of the student’s most popular videos on her channel include “How to use Phonto and Photopea to make Redbubble Stickers,” and “DIY red bubble stickers,” which has over 39 thousand views.
Similar to Finkelstein, student YouTuber Shannon Nutley has also been steadily growing her viewership. Starting her YouTube channel in 2015, she began uploading more frequently in 2018 with thrifting videos.
Her passion for media began in sixth grade when she took her first TV broadcasting class. In high school, Nutley learned the production basics of shooting and editing which inspired her to start her own channel.
“I’m a people person and love being creative,” she said. “I used to want to be a producer and director, and I decided I could make YouTube videos which are easier than being on the big screen.”
Over the past year, Nutley has explored her passion for creation through health and wellness videos. She shoots product reviews and documents her personal endeavors with videos like “Healthy College Grocery Shopping,” and “The Challenge That Changed My Life (75 hard),” which received over 28k views.
“Similar to my everyday life, I’m trying to educate, help people obtain their goals and keep motivated,” said Nutley. “I’ve always been pretty passionate about health. It’s been present in my earlier videos in the most subtle ways and I love pursuing this passion with an audience.”
One of Nutley’s goals for her channel going into quarantine was to promote self-help and refocus her uploads to lifestyle tips. As college students everywhere continue to tackle remote learning and added stressors brought on by Covid-19, Nutley is adamant that students should be prioritizing their personal health.
“I think in college it’s really confusing for a lot of students, no one tells you ‘do this’ or ‘do that’ like they have been all your life,” Nutley said. “If you’re not putting yourself first now it’s only going to get harder down the line.”
With both seniors gearing up for graduation right around the corner, the YouTubers share a message to any students on the fence about starting a YouTube channel: “just do it.”
“I thought about it for years before I did it and I wish I had done it sooner,” said Finkelstein. “College is such a fun time to document and I guarantee it will be so fun to look back on these videos.”