As I scrolled down my YouTube feed in 2017 to look for great college advice, I stumbled upon a charismatic Filipino who thoroughly depicted what it takes to be an epitome of a scholar. Katie Tracy is a content creator of DIY, fashion, lifestyle and educational videos on YouTube who runs a self-titled channel that she initially called alohakatiex. When I learned that she came from the same country as my family, the Philippines, I felt more fascinated with her works as well as how she serves as an inspiration to the younger generation, especially to her fellow Filipinos.
As she grew more subscribers, she was able to collaborate with YouTube personalities Lexy Rodriguez and ThatsBella as well as Harvard student vlogger Sienna Santer. Graduating as the class valedictorian of International School Manila (ISM) in 2018, Katie received the Moon Koo Lee award for outstanding seniors and became a member of the Cum Laude Society. Through her hard work and persistence in the academic scene, she is now part of Cornell University’s class of 2022. Due to my endless curiosity, I interviewed Katie on how her first year went at an Ivy League institution.
How do you manage your time to efficiently run your YouTube channel while being a student at an Ivy League college?
I just have to plan ahead to fit everything in my schedule! Before a new month, I create a schedule of all the videos I’m planning on uploading and their target dates, along with corresponding film dates. I’ve also hired a few editors to join my team and I have to coordinate with them for the production process of each video.
What do you wish you had known going into freshman year?
It’s okay to fluctuate! Whether this is in emotions, sleep, or productivity, it’s normal to be sucked into a whirlwind of college activities when you’re trying to do everything. I try to keep my well-being stable, but sometimes it’s challenging and when that arises, it’s about being strong enough to know how to cope and handle it effectively.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently to improve your experience at Cornell University?
Reach out to more TAs, professors, and mentors! But I know there was also so much going on during my first year that I was focusing on, so realistically I understand why I didn’t do this as much. Now that I better recognize the importance of these relationships, I’ll be sure to make a bigger effort to cultivate them and not ghost some of the greatest experts here.
How do you want to improve yourself this year?
I want to be even braver with things I want to learn and accomplish. I want to take more initiative and put myself out into the community to best help others nurture their creativity just as I am. I also want to protect my energy, meaning maintain a stress-free, positive space!
What is your advice to those people who are striving to be the best version of themselves?
You are doing just wonderful on your own path. Everyone goes to different places at different paces. As long as you focus on your own growth and compare yourself to who you were yesterday – not someone else who may be farther down their journey – you will learn to love yourself and grow in confidence every day.
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Featured Image Courtesy of Victoria Zhu