As someone who has always thrived off academic validation, StudyTube was my safe haven throughout secondary school and sixth form. It provided the perfect balance between entertainment and productivity. It allowed me to relax from the monotonous routine of revision for GCSEs and A-levels, while also explaining the best ways to achieve my goals.
One of my favourite StudyTubers of all time was Jack Edwards. I found his video approach laidback and comedic in comparison to his peers. I also related the most to his academic journey. We did similar A-levels, like me he was rejected by the University of Oxford, and we both took English at undergraduate degree level.
However, after I completed my A-levels, I took a gap year to live in the United States. When I came back to start at the University of Birmingham, we were in the middle of a global pandemic and, to be frank, studying was the last thing on my mind. Naturally, I forgot all about Edwards and the StudyTube world. That is, until he appeared on my TikTok For You Page.
I was shocked, to say the least. Two seemingly alternate universes had collided in front of my eyes and it made me wonder. Now that Jack has graduated from Durham University, what is he up to?
A refreshing vulnerability
The first thing I assumed is that he would be doing a Master’s degree. However, a quick scour through his YouTube thumbnails disproved that theory. Aside from writing his dissertation in a week, Edwards’ final year at university saw him release his first book, The Ultimate University Survival Guide: The Uni-Verse. It is supposedly ‘a complete, unfiltered university handbook’ that gives Jack the opportunity to ‘impart his wisdom to other potential freshers.’
On a bleaker note, during his final year Edwards did apply to do a Master’s in English Literature at Oxford University. Unfortunately, he was rejected a second time. His video informing viewers about this difficult time in his life was heart-breaking to watch. But I think his vulnerability is so welcome in the otherwise perfect StudyTube world, where creators appear to constantly succeed. It can feel alienating to anyone who does not fit that mould.
Jack moved to an apartment in Camden, London, where he stayed for the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was during this time that he rose to fame on BookTok with short clips of him reviewing and recommending books to read for different purposes.
Alongside this influencer side venture, Edwards is working as a research assistant in the publishing industry, with a specific focus on non-fiction books. Essentially he gets to read for a living. Every bookworm’s dream! He is currently living in Paris and working remotely. Why, you ask? Well basically, because he can, so I guess the real question is why not?
It seems Edwards is doing well. Not only given his new European lifestyle, but also because his YouTube videos are sponsored by different branches of the BBC, including iPlayer and Sounds. Furthermore, he has his own stationery brand: Ink Outside The Box. It features a range of products from notebooks to academic planners. He recently announced that he is also working on a new fiction novel, which is bound to make a killing given his fan base. In other words, Jack Edwards is doing well.
Undeniably he has faced lows, such as breaking up with his girlfriend and having to delay his life-long dreams of completing both a Master’s and PhD is English Literature. However, in the grand scheme of things, Edwards is leading a life of success that I think many undergraduates aspire to.
With his infectious smile and personality, I cannot help but become an avid fan again and watch his journey over the next few years.