“You Should Be Studying,” also known as “Go Study” or “I Want You to Study Right Now,” is an image macro series based on pin-up photographs of celebrities or sex symbols in pop culture, typically accompanied by motivational captions urging the reader to concentrate on their academic pursuits. Intended to serve as a source of motivation for students, the meme has spawned dozens of variations on Tumblr, especially during the months of December and May when final exams are traditionally conducted in primary and secondary schools.
On December 12th, 2011, Tumblr user Speakington created a photo set featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Hiddleston with the words, “You should be studying,” photoshopped over each one. As of May 2014, the post has gained over 19,000 notes.
On November 17th, 2012, a single topic blog dedicated to curating “inspirational” pin-up photos was launched under the name You Really Should Be Studying. On December 9th, Tumblr user atedaryltv posted an image macro featuring the Doctor Who actor Benedict Cumberbatch, which went on to gain over 17,000 notes. In late 2012, there were at least six notable instances of the meme with more than 1,000 notes each. On May 1st, 2013, Tumblr user flox-pollimon posted a collection of inspirational “go study” image macros featuring actors and cast members from various media franchises, including Supernatural, The Avengers, Merlin and Doctor Who, which accrued over 85,000 notes within the first year. On May 6th, Tumblr user danfour posted an image macro based on a photograph of The Avengers cast, garnering more than 63,000 notes. On May 7th, The Avengers edition of the meme was submitted to 9GAG. In 2013, at least six additional instances of the meme went viral on Tumblr, with each post racking up over 1,000 notes.