Over the past few years, YouTube has evolved, quickly becoming a large business platform for many creators and giving others the opportunity to put out content for people even if they’re not looking to make a job out of it.

While many students watch YouTube during their down time, other students have begun using YouTube as a professional platform. Senior Yaheysi Leon-Lopez began creating lifestyle, motivational and beauty YouTube videos on her channel, Yaheysi, this past year and has already discovered more about the platform and the background in producing content.

“The reason I wanted to start a YouTube channel was because I wanted a creative platform to produce the visual ideas I had in my head and I wanted place where I could motivate myself through video content,” Leon-Lopez said.

Before starting her channel, Leon-Lopez said that she watched a lot of YouTube videos and found that a lot of YouTubers could make videos as a full time job. Curious as to how labor intensive the process was and how they were able to make a career out of this, Leon-Lopez began creating her own content.

“Even being super new to this I realized that it’s such a huge commitment,” Leon-Lopez said. “It’s a huge portion of your time when you dedicate yourself to doing these videos – you have to plan what you’re going to do, take out that time frame, and then after that you have to edit it.”

Sophomore Emily Waldman said that she thinks that a lot of young people feel as though they can easily obtain fame and wealth through YouTube, but don’t understand all of the work that goes into creating videos.

“Starting a YouTube channel and producing videos is actually more difficult than it looks and even though it can be an actual job, it’s not just being dumb on video,” Waldman said. “I think people who want to make an occupation out of it need to realize that.”

When Leon-Lopez began making videos, she wanted to stay on a consistent schedule but soon discovered the difficulty within that.

“I realized that I had to be a student, my own human being and then I also have to be YouTuber,” Leon-Lopez said. “I want YouTube to be something fun, my passion, my hobby and something that relaxes me and keeps me creative. I feel like you’re more successful when things are fun to you and from the beginning you have a lightheartedness to it.”

Along with the time commitment, Leon-Lopez also discovered that one of her biggest challenges with YouTube was putting herself out into the world while still wanting to retain as much of herself as possible.

“Before I even got the idea of wanting to start a YouTube channel, I was super self conscious and I feel like watching other people be themselves on camera showed me that this world is my oyster and if they can do it then I surely can too,” Leon-Lopez said. “It gives you a little more confidence and motivation.”

Despite motivating people through Youtube, Leon-Lopez adamantly believes that viewers need to understand that YouTubers are individuals as well and creating content for the world to see does not define someone.

“You cannot be run by the people who are watching you,” Leon-Lopez said. “Some people want to know too much and it’s okay to not share that much – YouTubers don’t owe the public anything and you have to respect what they put out.”