By Alice Fournier
You know when you really feel like doing nothing at all, but at the same time you’re too stressed to be able to enjoy doing nothing? Let’s procrastinate effectively together, shall we? I’m doing that just now writing this article, in fact.
I’m a master of procrastination, but I do so in an inspirational manner, meaning I make sure that whatever I waste my time with is not actually wasting it. And that, my friends, has one name: YouTube.
Some of you might remember my 2018 article on period dramas (another way of procrastinating usefully); well, this time I’m taking you through very diverse channels of learning, all the while lounging in full burrito-mode under the blankets.
- Li ziqi
Quite literally the best thing you will ever do for yourself at UCR is to subscribe to this very relaxing channel. Li ziqi walks you through her seasonal routines in rural China, deep in the mountains. I discovered it by complete accident, and I’ve been hooked ever since. She never ever speaks in any of her videos, letting you enjoy the quiet sounds of nature as she takes you with her foraging for mushrooms, wild lotus and fresh fruits. She’s also a pro at making your mouth water with incredible traditional Chinese dishes, which she makes from scratch more often than not. I know nothing about China, let alone traditional rural China, and whilst I highly doubt I’d ever be able to replicate any of the things she does, it’s a very agreeable way to enjoy a study break, or a late-night insomnia (been there, done that, will 10/10 put you to sleep).
- Snake Discovery
Who likes snakes? I sure do! Now, venomous snakes maybe not so much… However, this channel offers insight into the life of two snake-breeders from the US and their ever-growing collection of snakes. My personal favorites are the hognoses, just because they are absolutely adorable. Yes, adorable snakes are a thing, I swear. If you’re into wildlife, particularly our reptile friends, I recommend watching their videos. With breeding season coming to a close, they have several on new clutches hatching, or new enclosures, as well as more educational videos on how to take care of snakes (also known on this channel as danger noodles, in case you wanted to know.) On the topic of wildlife, I’d recommend Chandler’s Wildlife as well, based in Florida, a lot more epic-inclined (dude tackled an alligator), and super nice to watch if you’re into more dangerous species.
- English Heritage
As an Art History major, I obviously love to lose myself in various nooks and cranies of the historical and cultural side of the Tube. English Heritage provides educational videos on life in Victorian times, the evolution of make-up in various centuries, or their series “Tales from English Folklore” which I love. It’s very typically English, a little awkward by moments, but all the more accurate and enjoyable for it!
In the series History-yes-please, I present to you CrowsEyeProductions, hands down one of my favorite YouTube channels to get lost in whenever I see fit. Which is mostly when I should be doing something else but cannot be bothered, let’s be honest. It’s a similar brand to English Heritage, but more laid-back, with shorter videos, so ideal for study breaks. I personally would recommend their series “Photoshoot Diaries” and “Tell Them of Us”. The latter is the moving tale of one English family during WWI, whilst their two sons are at war, with the big question being: will they return? It’s based off of actual letters, which makes it even more poignant.
- Baumgartner Restoration
Some of you may be familiar with this one, since it’s quite famous. When I need something calming, yet intellectually and visually engaging, in the background whilst I try to understand what exactly the words of my reading even mean, it’s a go-to. The amount of mastery of so many different skills never fails to astonish me; and I truly did gain that much more admiration for the behind-the-scenes of museum exhibitions. With the renovation project Operation Night Watch happening this summer at the Rijksmuseum happening live, I thought it would be a nice addition to my list.
- Sailing La Vagabonde
Interested in sailing? I mean I never was, I get sea-sick, and yet their weekly videos are my absolute favorites. I think it mainly comes from the fact that my life is wildly uninteresting, whilst theirs changes every day depending what part of the Bahamas they’re anchored in. Yet, they’re very familiar with the dangers and ups-and-downs of living on a catamaran the whole year round (with a baby!), and are not shy in showing their subscribers and patrons what they’re all about. I cannot recommend them enough, and I’ve even considered becoming a patron myself, that’s how much I enjoy learning from their down-to-earth, determined, and positive mindset.
I hope you’ve found something to interest you in those dire times when you’re desperate notto study, but also willing to notturn your brain and sense off completely. For those of you who are still not convinced by any of those, always remember: broadening your horizons and interests is a very healthy thing!
Alice Fournier, Class of 2020, is an Art History and History major from Aix-en-Provence, France.
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