So you just got home from class, and all you want to do is lay in bed on your phone and do absolutely nothing for the rest of the day. We’ve all been there. But do you ever find yourself in such a place where you’re on your phone (obviously procrastinating) and you feel yourself refreshing the same three social media apps, looking at the same YouTube channels and feeling yourself slip slowly into madness? Or you feel like you’re sitting there, waiting for new content to entertain you and distract you from your looming deadlines and responsibilities?
Well, what if I told you there was a way to productively waste time? Here are a couple of my favorite Youtube channels that are just as binge-worthy as they are educational!
Vox ~ Current Events
Vox is a Youtube channel/news site that explains current events in an accessible and fun way, and they make videos on topics that you wouldn’t typically read in the news or learn in school. Rather than spending hours trying to read every major news article in order to keep up to date on what’s happening in the world, Vox will take complicated global issues or convoluted subject matter and condense them into digestible, 3-10 minute videos (depending on the complexity of the topic). Check out some of their videos such as “The 70% Top Tax Rate, Explained with Potatoes” and “From Spy to President: The Rise of Vladimir Putin.”
Sam O’Nella Academy ~ History
Sam O’Nella Academy is a great Youtube channel for people who want to learn about historical events without ever having to take a history class. And unlike the often brutally drab History Channel documentaries that hire terrible D-List actors to reenact poorly-budgeted scenes in a corn field, Sam O’Nella animates everything into endearing, badly-drawn MS Paint illustrations. It de-corporatizes the sense of forced education and makes it seem like just another funny Youtube animation channel. One of my favorite videos of his is titled, “History’s Worst Non-Water Floods.”
ContraPoints ~ Politics/LGBTQ+
Without knowing anything about politics and economics, ContraPoints is still one of the most entertaining Youtubers on the platform. Natalie Wynn is a transgender woman whose platform is centered around whistleblowing transphobia and homophobia on the Internet, while simultaneously educating her audience on political topics centered mostly around the U.S. government and economy. Her posh vaporwave aesthetic is prevalent throughout all of her videos, and believe me when I tell you, this woman does the MOST when it comes to quality of videos. ContraPoints isn’t afraid to call people out and educate them while doing so, and she delves into deep-rooted issues in American society. The videos can be quite lengthy, but excellent content throughout. Check out “Are Traps Gay?” and “Jordan Peterson.”
Now You See It ~ Film
If you don’t know anything about film and what makes a movie good, then this Youtube channel is a great way to start learning! I swear that after a couple videos from this channel, you won’t be able to watch a movie the same way. Now You See It explores certain aspects of movies and analyzes their significance. I like this channel a lot because you start to realize things about film that you otherwise would overlook, like why some fourth-wall breaks work and why some don’t, for example. Not only is this channel educational, but in my personal opinion, the smoothe, British voiceover is so relaxing! Some of my favorite videos of his are “Stripes in Movies: Why do Some Characters Wear Them?” and “Phallic Symbolism in Film.”
VSauce ~ Philosophy/Conceptual
I definitely recommend binging VSauce if you haven’t yet. Michael is a strange, balding man who asks a philosophical or scientific question in the beginning of his videos, and explains the answer in an easy-to-understand way through examples and humorously bizarre transitions. By the end of the video, you may have the answer to the initial question, but it may prompt brand new questions that you never would have thought of! VSauce videos are truly a journey, and definitely worth watching if you want to plunge into an existential crisis. Some of my favorite are “Why are Things Cute?” and “Did the Past Really Happen?”
WiseCrack: Thug Notes ~ Literature
Believe me when I say I would not have made it through AP Lit my senior year of high school without this Youtube channel. There are over 100 videos of a man dressed in a durag, gold chain, and white tank top summarizing and analyzing the plot of several different classic literary works such as 1984, Hamlet, The Odyssey, and basically everything that was on your reading list in your high school English class. Thug Notes videos are just as funny as they are helpful, especially when you can’t be bothered to rely on SparkNotes to give you a plot summary of a book, let alone actually reading it! Some of his best videos (or just ones that I look back on fondly for getting me through my classes) are “The Picture of Dorian Gray: Thug Notes Summary and Analysis” and “The Metamorphosis (Franz Kafka): Thug Notes Summary and Analysis.”
Whether it’s simply for fun or for school, learning new things doesn’t have to be done through a book or news article or boring documentary! These Youtube channels operate in the same way that other channels do, however you are gaining a lot of useful information whenever you watch them! All of these channels are fun to watch and provide information for their audience in a compelling way, so next time you are looking for another way to procrastinate from your responsibilities, check out some of these great videos.