Almost four years ago, I was playing soccer at the University of Missouri with my friend, Aaron Van Wormer. It was midnight, we were freshmen, and words escaped Aaron's his lips as many times as the soccer ball was passed between us. Aaron Van Wormer has always had a presence.
That night of soccer was in August 2012. And now, three months after he has graduated from Missouri and moved to Orange County, California, m
y friend Aaron Van Wormer is becoming Aaron Van Wormer. I have known him as an engineering major in Missouri who really loved soccer, and now he has die hard fans and a growing following.
Because of YouTube.
No, because of the way he is expressing himself on YouTube's platform. Nobody is more surprised by this than Aaron. "It's really unbelievable," he says. "It's honestly a blessing to have a bunch of people who support you that you've never even met.
"I mean, if I tweet that I've had a bad day, I'll get a hundred people telling me to cheer up. I couldn't ask for anything better."
So, what exactly is the power of YouTube?
Aaron started his own YouTube channel about two months ago, which already has just over 80,000 subscribers and 12 videos.
"It's a bit overwhelming," he says. "I originally started it just for fun! Then people starting buying into my channel, and now I feel like I have a chance to make a difference in people's lives, people that I can't necessarily reach through engineering."
YouTube gives Aaron a a platform to be free and to become who he wants to be while sharing their journeys with hundreds of thousands of people. Aaron still loves soccer, and he is still pursuing engineering (he has a full-time engineering job in California), but YouTube allows him to still work at entertainment if that's what he ends up wanting to pursue full-time later down the line. For now, he shoots his videos with a LUMIX FZ300 camera from his garage.
"I'd say my favorite part is getting to post whatever I want," Aaron says about YouTube. "At work, I have to act a certain way, but in my videos I can just be myself.
"Of course it'd be cool (to pursue a full-time career in entertainment)," he continues. "But I want to give engineering an honest go since I was lucky enough to have my parents pay for my school. But if in the future I could make a living off YouTube, I would love to make that a full-time thing. I'd love to act and stuff, too, but unfortunately I'm not as talented in that department."
Clarification: Aaron is not in YouTube, or a potential career in entertainment of any sort, for the money. He's in it to work hard at a positive and fun craft he could one day be good enough at to support himself and inspire other people.
When Aaron was a freshman at Missouri, country music star Luke Bryan performed at one of the school's arenas. Aaron got backstage afterward, looked Luke Bryan in the eyes and told him, "you're my man crush." Since then, he has continued to meet people who inspire him.
In mid-July, Aaron went to VidCon in Anaheim, California, which is basically a social media convention that includes YouTube. There, he met Bobby Mares—a vlogger who also has original music on iTunes. Aaron's latest YouTube video is with Bobby Mares.
The ultimate hope for Aaron is that he one day crosses paths with Taylor Swift.
Aaron is only 22 years old, and still in full engineer mode for now. But the most important thing to remember is that he wants to share himself with the world in a positive way.
"Every now and then I'll get a comment or tweet saying, 'I was having a bad day and then saw your video and it cheered me up,'" Aaron says. "I'm not sure if the person is just saying that or actually means it, but that's the goal. If I'm able to brighten just one person's day or give them an escape from whatever problems they have, then I'm doing my job."
Get to know him by following him on YouTube. Aaron Van Wormer is found HERE!