The first time Nicole Rafiee made a YouTube channel in the fifth grade, she deleted it after being too embarrassed when her classmates found it.
“The same thing happened again in freshman year in high school,” said Rafiee, a junior media studies and production major. “Which is kind of ironic because now the whole goal of YouTube is for people to find your channel.”
Rafiee runs a lifestyle vlog channel with almost 150,000 subscribers.
“It’s weirdly emotional because it’s cool to look back at me in the fifth grade who was too nervous and would delete my channels every few months because I was so embarrassed,” Rafiee said. “Now I don’t have that sinking feeling in my stomach whenever I upload and contemplate whether I should delete it.”
In her videos, Rafiee vlogs about young adult lifestyle topics like mental health, veganism on a college student budget and thrift shopping for clothing. Other videos are her driving to an “anti-Valentine’s Day playlist” or bedazzling her retainer and inhaler.
She makes it a priority to be relatable, she said.
“I definitely want my channel to be very personal, but I never want to put myself in a box of what I can’t do,” Rafiee said.
Courtney Trumbore, a freshman media studies and production major, discovered Rafiee’s channel when looking for residence hall room tours on YouTube. She admires how honest Rafiee is in her videos.
“I think a lot of people our age can relate to the quirky sarcasm that she has,” Trumbore said. “Then there’s also a sense of realness behind all the humor.”
Rafiee created her channel because she needed a creative outlet while in college, she said. She uploaded her first video in September 2018 after she talked with Hannah Maute, a former Temple student who runs a YouTube channel with more than 300,000 subscribers.
“I feel like I was missing a creative aspect of my life,” Rafiee said. “I got to college and realized that completely. I really lacked that.”
Rafiee balances her schoolwork with YouTube by building her entire course schedule around her videos, dedicating entire days off from school to film and edit. For her, she loves making and editing videos because it never feels like work, she said.
Although it can be challenging at times to balance both classwork and YouTube, Rafiee finds support from friends like Jake Ropka, a junior theater major. Ropka has been featured in Rafiee’s videos and recognizes the work that goes into it, he said.
“I love her videos and she definitely does a great job at what she’s doing,” Ropka added. “She has an audience and a really interesting sense of humor.”
Rafiee wants to keep her content authentic while possibly collaborating with other channels, like bestdressed, Cody Ko and Noel Miller.
She has long-term goals for her channel but doesn’t want to put a number on it.
“I’m definitely not number hungry, but it’s definitely important for me to set goals and work toward reaching them,” Rafiee said.