I have always hated being on camera. I have a distinct memory of having to film a pseudo counseling project for one of my graduate school classes where I had to pretend to be a counselor for my boyfriend who I had only been dating a few weeks. I was so overwhelmed with anxiety of completing the video that I was essentially in hysterics for the entirety of it. You can imagine then that my friends and family were in complete shock when I decided to pick up my iPhone and start recording my daily life for the world to see.
Looking back, it’s actually quite natural for me to be in front of a camera “vlog style.” My grandfather– Papap as we call him– is notorious for filming everything. Yes, literally everything. There are home movies of fishing trips, birthdays, and holidays. I didn’t think of this when I started recording. I just did it. People still ask me why I started vlogging and now I say, “I wanted to capture the memories” but really, I did it just because I wanted to see what it was like. I didn’t even watch YouTube until a few weeks before getting the urge to try my hand at it.
Almost a year later and I could never have imagined the impact starting a vlog channel on YouTube would have on my life.
YouTube taught me that I love adventure
Before starting a YouTube channel, I would have never dreamed of doing some of the spontaneous things I’ve now done. I probably wouldn’t have gone to every single Army football home game last season or taken a spontaneous road trip to a local hiking destination a few weekends ago. Let’s be honest, I was basically a happy hermit before starting my YouTube channel. But now I not only love adventure but I crave it. Not for the views or the subscribers, but for myself.
YouTube taught me that even the smallest of memories is important
One of the best parts of having a YouTube channel and vlogging about day-to-day life is that I can go back and look at them later on down the road. While I didn’t get the actual proposal on camera, I was vlogging the day we went to NYC and I got engaged. That is not only something that I will be able to watch for years and years to come and remember those emotions, but also my future children and even their children will be able to watch. I get to capture some of the most exciting moments of our lives, from wedding planning, to my fiance’s final years at West Point because of YouTube. Memories are often fleeting and we rarely see their significance until they’re just fragments weeks and months and years later.
YouTube taught me that I am stronger than my anxiety
I have struggled with generalized anxiety disorder my entire life, before I even knew that the anxiety I was feeling wasn’t normal. It affected every aspect of my life, from my job to my social life. When I hit publish on my first YouTube video, I was terrified. I was so nervous that I would get comment trolls (to this day, those have only come from a reaction video I had to the 2016 election) and just generally encounter negative people who didn’t even know me. But the exact opposite has happened. I’ve grown closer with the people I love and made even more friends and acquaintances because of YouTube. It has taught me that I can face my anxiety, I can overcome it and even help others who are struggling by sharing my story and even just my daily life.
Overall, YouTube has taught me a lot about myself and my abilities. While it always takes some time to learn something new, I highly suggest that everyone challenge themselves to get out of their comfort zone. Never in a million years did I picture myself with a YouTube channel, let alone absolutely loving video creation and even igniting a passion for videography. So go out and challenge yourself today to do something outside of your comfort zone because you’ll never know what you’ll learn about yourself!