Most people probably have a story behind how they figured out their career goals. Some may have figured it out since they were young or as they grew up.
For me, K-pop has brought me closer to my dreams of being a writer. Being part of a K-pop fandom helped me to realise my interests and allowed me to pursue my passion in writing.
Growing up with a love for writing
I have enjoyed writing since I was a kid and I had some confidence in it, if the number of times my essays were distributed to the cohort as sample essays were anything to go by.
I had some interest in becoming a writer, but I changed my mind a number of times over the years. I had ideas of becoming a lawyer, a businesswoman, a marine biologist and even a criminal psychologist. On hindsight, I am not sure about the latter because I can barely handle watching crime documentaries nowadays.
When I was in secondary four, an important year where most 16-year-olds decide the next step to take, I still did not have a solid goal for my future. I think everyone can relate to the pressure of seeing your friends discussing their career paths and how everyone seemed to know what to do.
Coincidentally, I started discovering K-pop in the same year. Many fans often say that they discovered their fandoms when they needed support the most.
Although it may be cliché, I share the same sentiments.
Seventeen was the first K-pop boy group that I became a fan of. They were a source of support for me.
PHOTO CREDIT: PLEDIS ENTERTAINMENT
Finding my passion through K-pop
Everyone coped with the stress of sitting for the 'O' levels in different ways. For me, being part of the K-pop fandom gave me a well-needed break from my books for a couple of hours.
I watched the variety shows my favourite K-pop artists appeared on and even learned the choreography from their new music videos. It was a stress reliever for me. I remember feeling entertained whenever I set aside time to catch up on these videos.
I even attended Seventeen's concert in September 2017, a month before the 'O' level examinations, to take some stress off my mind.
PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/ WINNY WINT HTAE
Initially, K-pop was just a form of entertainment to me. My goal was to enter a psychology course in polytechnic just because I thought it would be interesting. Even so, something was bugging me in the back of my mind about this decision.
Nevertheless, everything slowly pieced together like a puzzle by the time I had to make a decision about my career path.
It was only when two representatives from The Smart Local visited my school for a career talk that I had an epiphany.
I got reminded of the countless times I read K-pop blogs managed by fans who wrote about their concert experiences or album reviews, watched interviews of journalists with K-pop idols, and read articles written by K-pop columnists at international media companies like Buzzfeed or Vogue.
I was also reminded of how I wanted to be a writer since I was young. It cleared up my doubts and gave me an idea of the direction I should be headed in.
I realised that I wanted to have a job where I could do something I love, like writing for the K-pop column of a magazine. Likewise, I felt certain that I could also use my love for writing to talk about my interests and share my hobbies with other people.
So, I started researching related courses in polytechnic where I could hone my skills. After reading about the modules offered in mass communication, I decided it was a suitable course for me and applied for it via Early Admissions Exercise.
To my relief, I was accepted after a few weeks of anxiously waiting for the interview results.
I was looking forward to improving my writing skills while taking other media-related modules like radio production.
IMAGE CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/WINNY WINT HTAE
Expanding my career plans
Throughout the three subsequent years in my mass communication course, I have learnt more about the media industry, picked up new skills and had opportunities to put practice into play.
As I took on more modules in school, my initial goal of being a K-pop columnist has widened to being a writer for an online content platform instead.
Even though my goal has shifted slightly, I am still thankful that I was able to realise my aspirations in secondary school with the help of K-pop. The fandom not only brought me comfort during the most stressful period of my life, but it also led me in the right direction for my future.
My life would have turned out quite differently if not for this fandom and I would not be as happy as I am now: being able to write about the things I enjoy and sharing my stories with readers.
If you are in the same boat as I was when I was 16, I want to assure you that it is okay to take time to figure yourself out and seek inspiration from the things you love.
I was always trying to keep up with other people's pace and almost made a rash decision for my career path. Remember to take some time to identify your interests and passion before making the next step.
Hopefully, you will be able to find something that you both can enjoy and grow in!
BANNER AND TEASER PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/WINNY WINT HTAE AND TIRACHARD KUMTANOM VIA PEXELS
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