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YouTube vlogger Hannah Maute talks about transferring to York College and more

Hannah Maute is pictured in front of a lake and mountain with sunglasses

It’s a pretty simple video. In it, Hannah Maute sits in her car in a Target parking lot. She chugs a grande iced tea from Starbucks. Then, she unloads. She’s leaving Temple University and transferring to a new school, she says, looking directly into the camera.

For the next 10 minutes, Hannah talks about her struggle to find happiness at Temple, her mental health, and why leaving is the right choice for her. It’s the kind of conversation most people would have with family or close friends, but Hannah is not like most people.

After uploading it to her YouTube channel, Hannah’s video was watched more than 151,000 times. That was last spring. This fall, she began her first semester as an Integrated Marketing Communication major at York College of Pennsylvania.

A creative outlet

Hannah started her first YouTube channel when she was just 10 years old. Her parents wouldn’t allow her to show her face on camera, so she made videos of her American Girl dolls. She taught herself how to shoot video using a simple point-and-shoot camera and learned to edit on Windows Movie Maker. “I don’t think that even exists anymore,” she says laughing.

When she entered middle school, she deleted that channel — it wasn’t cool to be playing with dolls anymore, she thought. But, she continued to feel a pull toward that creative outlet. It wasn’t until her first year at Temple that she felt comfortable enough to put herself out there again. And this time, she was in front of the camera. It was terrifying, at first, but the drive to create outweighed her fears. “I just wanted to do it so badly that I kind of didn’t care what people thought,” she says.

The response was better than she’d ever dreamed. Quickly, she gained a following of subscribers that has grown to more than 200,000. She vlogged about college life and her struggles with anxiety, as well as lighter topics such as what new school supplies she bought to start the school year.

Of course, there were haters, but they were in the minority. “The amount of positivity that I get outweighs any negativity by a mile,” Hannah says. “My following is so kind and supportive.”

It was with that knowledge that she made the video announcing her intention to transfer. She wanted to be honest with her followers and help destigmatize transferring. “It’s okay to make a positive change for yourself if you feel like you’re in a position that you’re not happy in,” she says.

Finding her happy place

Hannah only started at York College recently, but already she’s more comfortable there than she ever was at her old school. “I love it here,” she says. York College’s small campus has allowed her to meet one-on-one with academic advisors and faculty. “I’ve had a better experience forming relationships with faculty members and I really, really like that because I feel like I have people on my side,” she says. 

Already, she’s applying what she’s learning in her Integrated Marking Communication classes. “I’m learning these things in the classroom, and I’m able to implement them when I’m working with brands,” she says. “It really helps me to reinforce what I’m learning and helps me to understand what I’m doing in class.”

The evolution of Hannah

Hannah isn’t satisfied with the status quo. “I’m always growing and evolving and changing,” she says. She’s moved from filming with a point-and-shoot to a mirrorless camera with a mini-tripod. Her biggest leaps have been in editing. She now works in Final Cut Pro and has developed her own editing style over the years.

It’s not easy as it might seem, though: she spent four days editing her last video. But creating work that she’s proud of makes all the time worth it, she says. Her last installment of “What’s in my Backpack” got over one million views, and she continues to talk about her anxiety and other struggles she faces.

She hears from her followers all the time how much they appreciate seeing her experience things they have, too. “I like my followers to know that I am a real person, and I feel the same things as them and struggle all the time like most people do,” she says. “It’s helpful and reassuring to know that you are not alone.”

Hannah’s not done growing. She continues to push herself in her vlogging and in her schoolwork. She’s got two years left at York College, and she plans to make the most of it. “I don’t know where this is going to take me, but I just have faith that I’ll figure it out,” she says. “I always have.”