‘I downed a whole bottle of Absolut in freshers’: YouTuber Luke Birch on uni life in Lincoln

‘You can hear more than you might want in Cygnet. But location is elite.’

If you attend the University of Lincoln you have definitely come across a video or two by Luke Birch. Luke is a 22-year-old Film student who has recently finished his degree at Lincoln and is one of the most prominent faces in the ‘Studytuber’ world of British YouTubers.

Over the past eight years, Luke has accumulated over 26 million views on his channel with over 260,000 subscribers. The Lincoln Tab spoke to Luke Birch about his time at studying at Lincoln.

What were your favourite things about studying here at Lincoln?

“Studying at Lincoln was incredible. I loved how modern the campus was, I loved my lecturers, I loved my flatmates and course mates. Above everything though, the library was my absolute favourite part of studying at Lincoln. Sure, the Cathedral is cute, but the library just had such an authentic vibe to it – I just fell in love with the library the second I stepped foot inside it.”

Do you have any memorable moments from nights out in Lincoln?

“Who doesn’t have a memorable night out in Lincoln?! There were certainly some crazy nights (especially in Fresher’s Week). I do remember downing an entire bottle of Raspberry Absolute Vodka – even the name makes me gag – before a night out. When my flatmates & I got to SuperBull, I felt the inevitable …the need to throw up. I begged my flatmates to leave with me, but credit where credit’s due, we had just got inside after waiting in line and they weren’t willing to go anywhere.

“To add to the chaos – for some bizarre reason – that night was one of the only nights where a ton of students in Lincoln were chatting with me. We would talk about my YouTube videos, some people wanted to grab a picture. Whenever I meet anyone who has something nice to say about my channel, I always love talking to them for hours and getting to know them, their story, their degree. But in this instance, I needed to get out of there. I managed to run home, lock my door and vomited all over myself. I was so tired that I just left it to simmer until the morning after. It was a mess. Never again.”

What is your funniest uni memory?

“It probably took place in March of second year. I was lucky enough to bag a sponsorship with an airline who flew myself and two of my flatmates out to Malaga for a weekend, all expenses paid. It was absolutely bonkers.”

How did you find managing both your Youtube and uni work?

“It was actually quite manageable. Being in the StudyTube community on YouTube, more often than not, I was able to film a Day In The Life or Study With Me video so I could hit two birds with one stone. I could make a YouTube video out of doing my Uni work. This was a great way to not only conserve time, but also because I’ve found that people love Study With Me videos. I was so chuffed that just by me recording myself studying, someone, somewhere, might have found it useful in some way to their own studying.”

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to pursue a YouTube career whilst being at university?

“The best piece of advice I could offer anyone who wants to start a YouTube channel whilst at uni is to not care how you are perceived. Sadly, there can still be so much judgement from people on campus or in the student community when you put yourself out there. You just have to ignore hateful comments. Always remember that the pros outweigh the cons. I always used to think, ‘so what if people on campus make fun of my videos?’. Just remember the positive impact your videos could have on other students (some of which I was lucky enough to meet) as well as the fact that YouTube can become your career. I was able to make money all throughout my time at Uni, as well as network with so many industry experts. Even if your videos get 2 views, keep at it. YouTube is an amazing thing to put on your CV. ”

How does it feel being recognised in public/on campus?

“Always so strange.  I get so awkward and nervous. But every single person I’ve met on campus has been so incredibly kind and I’ve actually become friends with a lot of people from meeting on campus too.”

What was it like living in Cygnet Wharf during your first year?

“Cygnet was wild. It was brand new in 2017, so that was nice. The location is perfect and my lively flatmates made every minute exciting and fun. The biggest con of cygnet is the noise. I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights I had because the walls are paper-thin. You can hear more than you might want in Cygnet. But location is elite.”

What is your advice for the 20/21 freshers?

“Make the most of every second. It’s cliché, but the Lincoln experience comes and goes before you know it. I travelled a lot during my second and third year, so I had even less time in Lincoln that I would have liked. I also wish I would have explored Lincolnshire a little more when at the Uni. I should’ve taken advantage of some of my friends having cars and taken more road trips around the county. It really is beautiful.”

As a vocal LGBTQ+ voice in Lincoln, what more can and needs to be done to improve access?

“I think striving for greater access is so incredibly important. I wish I would have got more involved with the LGBTQ+ society at Lincoln, but with studies, YouTube, and a long-distance partner it proved too difficult to fit in. But I am aware that they do some amazing work to make Lincoln a more inclusive place. I’d like to see more LGBTQ+ events for both current and past students (emphasis on the latter because I’d love to come back to Lincoln). I think the best way to create a more cohesive and diverse learning environment in Lincoln is to learn about our differences.”

Okay, some quick fire questions: The Swan or Tower Bar?

“Swan, Swan, Swan.”

Snog, marry, avoid: SuperBull, Union, Keller?

“Marry SuperBull, Snog Keller, Avoid Union.”

What’s been the hardest thing about leaving Lincoln?

“Definitely leaving during a global pandemic. Not being able to bid my friends, housemates and lecturers goodbye. It just feels so incomplete, there’s no closure there. I still feel like I’ll be heading back to Uni after the summer (especially because Graduation has been postponed). As much as Lincoln at times did seem like the epicentre of all stress in my life with essays, it was the place that brought me to my lifelong friends. I love the city so much, and I really didn’t get to say goodbye to that either. No last spoons. No last Greggs trip. No last Waga. No last night out. Not to be dramatic, but it really is devastating.”

What is your advice for people part of the LGBTQ+ community joining Lincoln who may be worried?

“Don’t be. Easier said than done I know, but Lincoln is a really inclusive place. Sure, it’s not the futuristic place queer youth dream of where everyone is equal, and you don’t have to feel uncomfortable at your own Uni because of how you identify. But nowhere is. At least yet. Still, I always felt welcome in Lincoln. There is an amazing LGBTQ+ community in Lincoln, there is a gay bar, there is an ever-growing pride celebration. No matter your sexuality, you will feel welcome at The University of Lincoln.”