Jessica Holsman graduated from Deakin with a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology. She used the study skills she learnt at university to create her successful YouTube channel Study with Jess to help other students with their study.
Q&A with Jessica Holsman
Can you tell us about your time at Deakin? Is there anything you especially remember?
I had a really positive experience at Deakin! I remember coming home from orientation day absolutely buzzing with excitement! I made a great group of friends during that year and we all really supported one another throughout our degree. I also was fortunate enough to learn from some fantastic lecturers and tutors who made a huge impact on my overall grades. In particular, I am very grateful to my two supervisors at the time; Professor Nicole Rinehart and Nicole Papadopoulos who taught me so many valuable skills and took me under their wing while I was working on my thesis.
What has been your journey since finishing your course? Briefly outline your career path prior to your current role.
It's been a very eventful few years since graduating from Deakin University! I always envisioned myself pursuing a career in psychology and following in the footsteps of my wonderful supervisors. At one point, I thought I would end up practicing as a clinical psychologist, as well as working as a lecturer and researcher. I soon realised however, that this was not the right fit for me and that my passion lies with being an entrepreneur and running my own business. Looking back, I am very grateful for the numerous skills I acquired during my time at Deakin University, because I can see how they all play a significant role in the current work I am doing. Since graduating from my psychology degree, I launched my own line of educational stationery called 'Educationery'. The line consists of a range of planners and books with different templates and study tips to help motivate and inspire students to study effectively and live an organised life - something I definitely had to put into practice throughout my degree! I also started a YouTube channel called 'Study With Jess' which now has 350,000 subscribers and 14 million views! Originally, it started as a study skills channel, providing tips and advice to young students, however over the past two years I have broadened the content to include a focus on well-being, inspiration and general advice and support to teens and young adults. Most recently I have also released my debut study skills book 'The High School Survival Guide.'
Managing Director at Educationery. YouTube Content Creator for Study With Jess & Author of The High School Survival Guide
What has been the biggest influence on your career?
I don't think I can pinpoint just one factor that has had the biggest impact on my career. Rather, I think it has been a combination of several factors. My academic journey and dedicated teachers have certainly helped instil in me a love for learning which no doubt has influenced the direction I have taken with my business. I also believe that without the ongoing support and belief that my parents, partner, extended family and friends, I may not have persevered through the challenges and setbacks that are inevitable when running a business. I also take a lot of direction from my viewers and fans when it comes to the type of content that they want to see on my channel.
Have you always wanted to pursue the kind of career you have embarked on? If so, when and how did you realise?
It was only a short time after I graduated from my degree at Deakin University that I realised I was heading for a change in my career pathway. I had a vision in mind and knew that I wanted to become a positive role model for young teens and adults and that social media was the best way to spread my message. Growing up, I never imagined that I would one day tell people that I was a professional YouTuber or run my own stationery line (I've always loved pretty stationery and used to get particularly excited for back to school shopping!) because social media is still quite a new concept and YouTube has only been around for 10 years.
What advice would you give graduates wanting to pursue a similar profession?
My advice would be to firstly to remember that all of the skills you learn in university, and throughout school, are transferable. It doesn't matter what you learn, everything at some point will prove to be worthwhile and assist you along your journey. Never feel as though your studies were a waste of time because in years to come, you will realise just how valuable they really were! I also think that when it comes to wanting to start a business that it is vital to have a clear vision in mind. It's so important to have a specific goal to work towards, but also a goal that is grounded in purpose. For myself at least, I know that my work is a vehicle to spread my message. It gives me the ability to help others and make a positive impact. It also pushes me and gives me the freedom to exercise my creativity. At the end of the day, you need to know why it is that you want to work in a specific field. Having a clear vision and finding purpose in your work is what will get you through the challenging times and help you work through any self-doubt, frustration or fear to achieve your goals.
What do you believe Deakin University has shown you/given you as a person?
Deakin University definitely nurtured many of the skills I use in my current work. I don't think that my organisational or time management skills would be anywhere near where they are now if it wasn't for my further studies. It also helped me to enjoy and appreciate my opportunity to learn. I used to be quite grade focused and found myself getting stressed easily, however I remember on many occasions having talks with my teachers and tutors who reassured me. I think that their belief in my abilities is what really helped me to succeed and go on to have a greater level of confidence in my skills.
What are your passions outside your work?
I love to set aside time each week to practice yoga and also go and take a dance class. I feel like physical activity is the best way for me to get out of my mind and quiet those racing thoughts. An entrepreneur's mind rarely stops running!
Is there any advice you would give to a person who is starting out in your career?
I think it's important that you find a way to set yourself apart from others. Specifically, when I think about social media, it is saturated with accounts that cover every area possible. You need to be able to ask yourself 'how can I add to this area and what do I have to offer?' Ultimately, as long as you are being true to yourself or being your authentic self, no one else can copy you. It took me quite a while to finally feel comfortable to be myself in front of the camera but as soon as I did, I realised that my content became a reflection of my beliefs, values and passions and I saw my channel transform into something very unique which cannot be copied.