YouTube has become a staple form of entertainment in any media-invested individual’s life.  With copious links posted on Facebook timelines and Twitter feeds, the video-hosting platform is commonplace on any computer screen or bookmarks bar.

But, among the cat videos and Ice Bucket challenges lie YouTube channels with devoted content, scheduled uploads and enormous subscription bases. Even further buried are the channels of aspiring students, hoping to pursue greater knowledge and experience in the video production scene amidst their class schedules and with minimal, low-budget equipment.

Sophomore communication major Jared Vandewater was first inspired to begin making YouTube videos after watching popular YouTuber Shay Carl’s effort to make video blogs, also known as vlogs, every day.

“I begged my mom for a flip cam, and received it on my 16th birthday,” Vandewater said. “I immediately begun my not-so yearlong journey to make a video every single day.”

Continuing to make vlogs as he entered the eighth grade, Vandewater took a junior high school video production class.  It was there that he fell in love with the editing process.  His vlogs turned into a webshow with recurring characters until he became less interested in investing time into his productions. Eventually the show became weekly and , in the end, obsolete.  Even after halting his show, Vandewater was known as “the kid who made YouTube videos” to his peers.

“That’s always kind of stuck with me, and I think it’s helped me piece together the kind of person I want to be and the passion I want to pursue,” Vandewater said.

Vandewater plans to create a new webseries entitled WalrusBelch.  He has already started filming and stockpiling episodes of the series and hopes to begin scheduling and premiering them in the near future.

“So far, it is hard to find time between work and stuff, but I really want to make this happen, so I’ll find a way,” Vandewater said.

Junior communication major Holly Hovis gained an interest in video after creating small animations when she was 12.  Since then, she’s been pursuing filmmaking in any way that she can, both at work and in classes.

“YouTube has been a part of my life for a long time. It’s a good escape from reality with an endless amount of possibilities,” Hovis said.

Hovis likes YouTube because of the creative community that it inspires. It is generally hard to pick out the passionate commenters and community memebrs in the sea of comments that accompany each video. But, they can be easily found at events created specifically for YouTubers and their audience members, including the Playlist Live and Vidcon.

Hovis recently attended Playlist Live and created a documentary about her experience for her own YouTube channel, HollyZombii.

“I’ve seen firsthand the laughs, the tears, and just the general effect YouTube has had on different people, and it’s mind-blowingly incredible,” Hovis said, describing the atmosphere at Playlist Live.

Using videos made for her film classes and those made on her own time, Hovis hopes to start posting videos more often on her YouTube channel while pursuing filmmaking academically.

“School always comes first, which is probably why I don’t produce as much content as I’d like,” Hovis said.

Looking at the content creators of YouTube as a whole, Hovis finds that a passion for filmmaking and creativity drives most media personalities.

“Everyone is so down to earth, and it just seems so clear to me that these people use YouTube, not for the money, but because they love what they do and see it as an opportunity to better the world,” Hovis said.