Editor’s note: Like Humans of New York’s “daily glimpses into the lives of strangers on the streets,” Humans of CSU tells the stories of the people who populate our campus. Written by Collegian staff and told in first person from the subject’s point of view, this series aims to make each individual on campus relatable.
I’ve been a magician for around three years, so I’m always putting on an act, I guess. It makes day-to-day things just really easy to do, like this right now, by getting yourself out of your comfort zone and doing things you wouldn’t normally do. I feel like I’ve shown myself that so many things are possible.
My YouTube channel is called /beatthesystem, and the system is just whatever is holding you back. Not, like, “beat the system,” like break all the rules, but, like, what I try and do is have people give me ideas on how I can beat … something that they’re struggling with and I can show them that it’s possible.
It started from watching other YouTubers do pranks, kind of similarly to what I do. I want to make mine a little more unique and my own. I don’t just want to copy what they’re doing. Some of my inspiration would be Roman Atwood or Vitaly. Those are kind of larger prank channels on YouTube, but then there are a lot of other channels, like how to pick up girls and how to boost your confidence. Doing stupid things kind of builds your confidence.
Magicians would also do prank videos on YouTube, and … it seemed like there was a lot more content and things for me to try to do rather than sitting in my room and practicing magic for three hours a day. I mean, I am a natural introvert, but if I do magic or something, it just gets the ball rolling for me to get out and be social.
There are people who are stressed out, and I understand that more than most people. I don’t really tell many people, but when I was in seventh grade, my father committed suicide, so that was kind of a rough patch in my life. I spent close to two or three years just not talking to anyone. I would go home during lunch just to play video games and I would never talk to my mom. I would just stay in my room and stay away from people. That’s when I was inspired, because on YouTube I found enjoyment in these pranks and stuff — when they’re meant for good fun.
It’s really crazy the reactions you get doing magic. Say I’m at a little get-together with a few friends. I can get a napkin and rip it up and make it seem to fuse back together. Or what I would do is card tricks. That’s kind of how I built my social life, I guess. But I didn’t want people to know me for doing magic. I wanted people to know me for me — like, who I am as a person. Then I kind of progressed on to, “Oh, I’m afraid to talk to girls. How about I do stuff to talk to girls?” Magic was sometimes the answer. I could show a girl a card trick and say, “If I find your card, I get a kiss,” or something like that. (It worked) all the time. Sometimes only a kiss on the cheek, but yeah. Just, like, having a bit of fun, I guess.
I’m not trying to do YouTube to make money. I’d rather use it as a means to inspire other people … because a lot of my friends ask me for help and how they can do things that I’ve achieved. I’ve seen them succeed in the same things that I’ve succeeded in, which is pretty cool.
I kind of stopped doing magic after a while. I try to pursue my hobbies until I get as good as possible. I wasn’t any David Blaine or anything, but with everything I could do, I could get great reactions.
I’m training for “American Ninja Warrior” right now. It’s a TV show where they have this obstacle course that you have to finish in a certain amount of time. It’s kind of like “Wipeout,” but it’s something that you really have to train for vigorously and be prepared. From what I’ve done through magic and trying to do social experiments, I’ve learned just to be myself. It’s really hard not to care what people think, but after a while … you go through so many phases. You’ve just got to take chances, and you can include that in every aspect of your life.
Collegian Staff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.