Maddie Schrader is putting up big numbers this season. She has contributed seven goals and three assists, which places her fifth on the Marist women’s lacrosse team in points. However, her most impressive numbers have been accrued off the field, where her TikTok page has amassed over 46,000 followers and 2.9 million likes.
The junior from Princeton, New Jersey, saw her TikTok page explode early in 2022 when one of her vlogs gained significant traction, registering over 300 thousand views. Schrader welcomed her newfound supporters, who have shown her an outpouring of positivity.
“I was definitely happy,” Schrader said. “They support me on any video, which I appreciate.”
Schrader’s community, affectionately known as her “Jims,” has impacted her life tremendously since embarking upon her content creation journey. Whether she is making a video on her way to class or shaking hands with her opponents after a game, Schrader is always ready for a “Jim!” callout.
“Every team we’ve played this season, there’s been a Jim on that team,” Schrader said. “It’s crazy, the connected world of lacrosse.”
“I think a lot of my followers are lacrosse players, and a lot of them live the same life as me, so they enjoy watching me doing the same thing every day while still being funny and not being tied to lacrosse all the time.”
Despite Schrader’s increasing platform, she doesn’t feel pressured to make specific types of content. The supportive spirit of her Jims allows Schrader to stay true to her nature when creating content.
“My favorite thing is this community I’ve created,” Schrader said. “I could be doing anything, but as long as I’m being myself, people just want to see me for who I am, which I love.”
Such a supportive community has made Schrader’s experience as an Internet micro-celebrity extremely enjoyable. Having an abundant following on social media can often be paired with toxicity, but this has not been the case for Schrader.
“I completely love every second of it; it hasn’t become a burden at all,” Schrader said. “Sometimes I get in my own head, like ‘They don’t want to see this,’ but they’ve never been bored of the content.”
While Schrader is embracing her TikTok fame, she is not letting it take precedence over other priorities. It is surely easier said than done, but Schrader has impressively figured out the balance between her commitments at Marist College (or, as she calls them, the “three pillars”).
The first pillar, of course, is schoolwork.
“My number one job here is to get an education and to be the best student I can be,” Schrader said. “School comes first.”
After education comes lacrosse.
“I’m also here to be the best lacrosse player I can be and to always give 100%,” Schrader said.
Once her schoolwork and lacrosse responsibilities are handled, Schrader focuses on content creation.
“I see [content creation] as a cherished thing in my life, and I’ve worked hard for it,” Schrader said. “So as long as I keep those pillars even and my content isn’t coming before school or lacrosse, it hasn’t conflicted.”
Schrader has sustained her social engagement for months now, and it’s becoming impossible to avoid the prospect of content creation being a career. As a junior, Schrader has the luxury of another school year before she has to make that decision.
“I’m lucky I’m not graduating now and being like, ‘Alright Mom and Dad, I’m just going to do TikTok after this,’” Schrader said. “But I think long term I want to take this and run with it as far as I can.”
This is not to say Schrader has given up on pursuing other fields. As a communications major, she is still seeking internships and networking opportunities to have a safety net if content creation doesn’t pan out. However, Schrader is also aware that the landscape is changing, and being a social media personality can be a sustainable profession if handled the proper way.
Social media marketing has never been more relevant. Brands are constantly seeking ambassadors to connect to younger audiences, and Schrader could fill that role for someone.
“Content creation is a real job these days,” Schrader said. “Brand deals and social media marketing are a thing, so it’s nice that I have another year at school to continue to grow my following.”
Marist has been an early beneficiary of Schrader’s influence. On more than one occasion, she has received inquiries about the school from followers.
“A lot of people ask me about Marist and want to come, so I’ve been a tour guide/mentor to a lot of people,” Schrader said. “People have told me “Marist is my number one choice because of you!’”
Marist has a bona fide asset on their hands in Schrader. Athletics are often used as a vehicle to draw interest from prospective students, but this is an entirely new angle. Schrader’s internet prowess is engaging an entire subset of students that may not have heard of Marist otherwise. While we know of Schrader’s three pillars, perhaps a fourth one for recruitment is due up next.
As the lacrosse season winds down, Schrader has a big year ahead of her. She is one of four rising seniors on her team, meaning a larger leadership role awaits next season. Off the field, Schrader will seek to continue to grow her following and establish herself as a full-time content creator.
If Schrader’s content creation journey to this point is any indication, her Jims will be supporting her every step of the way.
Edited by Sam Murphy and Andrew Hard
Photo from Jonathan Kinane