For the past month Space2Uplift has merely focused on UK creatives, but this month we have decided to branch out and open up an international section of our online magazine. What a better way than to start it off with an individual whose hard work and dedication is very relevant to the current situation at hand with regards to studying and motivation. This is the story of Kaotharat Balogun, a 3rd year medical student based in Ireland who has reached over 100,000 followers on TikTok through starting a daily 8 hour study livestream.
Since starting university, Kaotharat has always enjoyed the feeling of being able to study in a group setting. Seeing others studying motivates her and stimulates her focus. At times when she is not in university she tends to join group video chats with her studymates to motivate each other, particularly on the days prior to a huge exam. However the outbreak of the global pandemic changed everything for her. Firstly she was unable to meet with other students in university libraries and their video chat calls slowly reduced given that they all had differing timetables.
“I saw my work ethic decrease drastically and I wanted to change that. I saw online that a lot of people would record themselves whilst studying to prevent themselves from going on their phone. I decided to try it out one day and it really helped.” – Kaotharat
Initially Kaotharat’s audience consisted of majority medical students as she would only post medical school content back then. Hence whilst doing a random live stream she mentioned the idea of a study live stream. One of her followers further advised her to start a study live stream to help them focus as well. This marked the start of her well-known “8 hour study live sessions” which commenced during mid-December 2020 as her exams started to approach.
If you are someone who knows about Kaotharat’s study lives then you will be aware of her constant perseverance throughout the course of the 8 hours. Most of her followers are curious as to how she stays motivated to study for such a long period of time. This is a common question that she gets during her live streams. Kaotharat describes her study stamina as a phenomenon that she has been building for quite some time, it stems from her goal of becoming a doctor. Interestingly, she deems that it is not her motivation that aids her study stamina rather her self-discipline. She quotes “discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments” – a quote that she stands by.
Kaotharat tends to get hundreds of viewers whilst filming a live stream, at times these numbers can reach up to 900. But does the digital presence of the audience during her study lives really serve as a source of motivation? For her it definitely does:
“There are days where I don’t want to get out of my bed or study but I know I have people counting on me daily to broadcast my live stream so they can get their work done too. Having that responsibility gives me the motivation to work hard so my viewers can achieve their goals. It is a win-win.”
Space2Uplift constantly strives to uplift creatives by recognising their various achievements. What has Kaotharat’s biggest achievement been so far since starting her study lives? Among many she has gained over 80,000 followers in a matter of 3 weeks, her current following stands at over 100,000. Further, she recently started a discord server which accumulated 1400 students in the space of 2 days and continues to be on the rise. However the principle achievement for her is “helping my viewers grades improve drastically and helping them see the beauty and joy in studying. I get so many DMs daily of people informing me of how they went up by 2 grades since they started watching my study lives and that honestly fills my heart with joy.”
As much as her success has come with positive experiences, success also comes with many negatives. For Kaotharat that has been dealing with hate on tiktok. Due to the nature of the app, it enables anyone to join her lives and for some users her livestream may appear on their “for you page” – a suggested feed. On various occasions she has been subjected to hateful comments from tiktok users. I was intrigued to find out her views on the hate she has received and how she deals with it:
“Yes, unfortunately since I stream for so long, it is inevitable that my stream starts to pop up on people’s for you page that are not particularly interested in seeing people study. This led to hate and sometimes racist comments on the live stream chat. I am quite a sensitive person, so it took awhile for me to learn to ignore the hate and just move on from it. I realised the amount of people I am helping outweighs the hate/trolls.”
Given the current pandemic and its effect on education many students have found it difficult to stay consistent and motivated amidst the uncertainty. But for Kaotharat the pandemic has not had such a huge impact on her degree as a 3rd year medical student apart from missing out on a few placements. Hence that way she believes that she can not necessarily afford to fall behind as the stress that that would entail is scary to her. The responsibility of having people depend on her to study everyday has aided her in accomplishing this.
As a role model for many students across the world many would believe that Kaotharat is always motivated and hardly deals with procrastination. When I asked her about this preconceived idea she replied:
“No, I am not motivated all the time. When I find myself lacking motivation, I just try to remember how privileged I am to be studying medicine in the first place. It is something that my younger self worked so hard to get into and I just don’t want to let her down. Younger me was studying religiously to get into medical school and she deserves her hard work to pay off. That is the one advice I would give to people lacking motivation, just remember why you are doing it in the first place!”
Her final and very important message is as follows – “One thing I would like to say is I know the pandemic can be extremely hard on student mental health and it is okay to take a step back from everything, pause and take care of yourself. Your mental health always comes first!”
Interested in following Kaotharat’s journey?
TikTok, Instagram and YouTube – medical_kat
Written by: Claudia, founder of Space2Uplift
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