Student Showcase: Yelena Zylko

Welcome to our final showcase of the month!

We’ve been running our Tiktok for a while now, and have noticed that there are so many trends that are constantly going viral in the student hemisphere. One of the most popular have been the ‘things in my student uni house that just make sense’ trend, where students showcase the weird and wacky quirks of their accommodation. One of the most popular videos on that trend thread was made by Sussex Uni Psychology Student, Yelena Zylko, whose house had more than a few odd parts to it.

We spoke to Yelena about the trends of Student TikTok, but also some of the dangers of the app, which is still very much in its infancy stages of censorship.

Hype: When did you first get involved with TikTok and why?

Yelena: It was the first lockdown and like everyone else, I was just extremely bored. When the app was first gathering momentum, I did it as a joke, making videos about all sorts. At the point of our viral video as a house, none of my other videos had blown up at all really. One day I wanted to jump on the trend with my housemates, because there’s quite a lot of elements of our house that are different and strange, like our bathroom that’s so small you can’t close the door! Overnight it just blew up completely!

Most of my feed is also very student related, so there’s this ‘Hopeful’ trend that’s going on at the moment, where students say ‘Oh I’m definitely gonna do this today’ then the frame freezes and it says something like ‘She did not do the work that day’, which is definitely comforting when you’ve also got 0 motivation. In a way, coming onto the app makes you feel better about yourself, cause so many people are posting their embarassing stories/student woes and so on.

Hype: Were there any specific trends or accounts that got you into actually creating content on the app?

Yelena: I just saw loads of random things coming up on our feed. I honestly got inspired by the ‘things in our uni house that just make sense’ trend originally. There was one from a student in Nottingham, which was very stereotypically British with its humour and comedy. That’s something we tried to mimic. We got loads of comments from Americans saying ‘what’s a uni house?’, so I reckon it was British sarcasm and comedy that mainly got us going with the TikToks my house and I made. It’s just ‘yeah we live in these conditions but it’s funny’.

It definitely took a bit of convincing to get my housemates to get involved. When it blew up, everyone was very keen to do a part 2, which was funny.

Hype: So what was the most inconvenient thing in that video for your house?

Yelena: My bedroom is the one with the only access point to the garden, so for me personally that’s probably the most inconvenient. Its now warmer, so a lot of time is spent in the garden. Also, the bathroom which is tiny, is hilarious. Only one person, if that, can fit in the room at the same time. We can get around it, but it is funny how you can’t even close the door and have to sit with your legs out whilst you’re on the loo.

Hype: Tiktok is still such a new platform and more and more people of all ages are downloading it. Have you seen anything that you deem as controversial on there, or not appropriate for certain audiences?

Yelena: As with any social media app, there’s content on there that isn’t necessarily universal, and it’s an app that lots of young people use. I don’t know how they monitor age restricted material on there, whether it’s the algorithm or something else. I know there’s sexual content, where people gain following in that way, which obviously isn’t appropriate for people who aren’t of age. There’s also assault, eating disorders and mental health content, where people are admirably sharing their stories, which may be triggering for some people to see, because I think it’s difficult to monitor with their type of app. There’s definitely a danger in that sense, because I don’t think you can always tell that someone who is sensitive to that content will put the phone down if they see it. It’d be nice to know whether they are attempting to do something about that.


You can find Yelena on her Instagram and Tiktok. To watch her viral uni house video, you can click here.

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