Caught in an angry argument with my boyfriend, I hung up the phone in the middle of the conversation and found myself chanting to the chorus of Jennie Kim’s “Solo.” 

빛이 나는 솔로
빛이 나는 솔로
I’m going solo lo lo lo lo lo
I’m going solo lo lo lo lo lo

Jennie Kim, Lyrics to Solo

Even though I was an emotional wreck and had no idea what she was singing about, listening to her proudly reclaim her “single” status while declaring it that she was just going solo was so inexplicably empowering to me. It’s like a mix of badassity, fierceness, and independence all women should have.

Since then, I am happy to report, I have patched things up with my boyfriend. But I continue to listen to “Solo” whenever I needed a boost in self-confidence like before I prepare to give a big presentation or meet with a new client. “Solo” has officially become a staple on my playlist.

So in celebration of Blackpink’s fairly recent US Concert Tour, I wanted to dedicate this blog post to Jennie Kim. Thank you for giving me a big dose of empowerment when I most needed it and I can’t wait to explore Jennie’s story and see how it will look like if it was written in the form of a scholarship essay.

For all Blinks out there, I hope I do you proud as I chronicle part of Jennie’s life and for everyone else, I hope you read on and learn how to write your own killer scholarship essay!

DISCLAIMER: I based the majority of this hypothetical scholarship on research I conducted on Jennie Kim’s life. But since I wasn’t able to directly interview Jennie Kim (maybe one day I will though!), I don’t know how accurate everything is. So take everything for a grain of salt! I am only writing this for educational purposes.

Suggested Essay Outline

Before I dive in to share my tips on how to write this scholarship essay, I would advise Jennie Kim (and anyone else that has a unique story to share) to use this outline to structure your essay. I don’t have enough time to go through each section individually to explain how you should write them, but this outline should help guide you through the writing process.

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    TIP 1: Drop a Bomb Story at the Beginning of the Essay

    As I was thinking about this tip, the image that keeps popping up in my mind is that of Jennie snacking on popcorn as she sits on a giant, bedazzled military tank in BlackPink’s music video Ddu-du Ddu-Du with the lyrics “we are pretty and savage” echoing in the background.

    Jennie’s badassity in that scene is exactly the type of energy that we want to kick off this essay with. Start the essay by dropping a bomb story about the experience you want to write about in the very first paragraph. And when I say the first paragraph, I don’t know mean introduce it in the last sentence of the first paragraph. Drop it from the very first sentence. Or even better, drop it at the very first word. Bombard the essay with so much depth and emotion from the get-go that you catch the reader off guard.

    Since this essay prompt is about an experience that has influenced your development, I think Jennie should write about her experiences training under YG Entertainment from the age of 14. This is an example of how she can start the beginning of her scholarship essay.

    No other time did the world feel so mean and coldhearted than at the end of each month when we each received our monthly evaluations. The entertainment company’s CEO, YG, the producers, and other artists regularly watch and evaluate us.

    As trainees, we all had to perform a solo song, group song, and a dance song. We had to choose our own outfits, the matching clothes for our group, select our performance songs, and design our own dance choreography. It was a lot to do every single month, but there was no room for error because there was always the threat of being eliminated. 

    All of us girls from the age of 12-16 all had the same dream: to debut and become a successful recording artist and performer in Korea. Everyone’s fate was different. Some girls I trained with left after a month and some were let go of after 3 years. There was no guarantee that any of us would make it to the finish line.

    TIP 2: Explain how the Experience Impacted Your Development

    After leaving your readers jaw-dropped and captivated by your story, spend the next section of your essay explaining how the experience impacted your development.

    When you are thinking about the impact this experience had in your life, you can think about it in a variety of ways:

    • How did this experience influence your life?
    • Was it a good influence or a bad influence?
    • How did you change as a person because of this experience?
    • What did you learn?
    • How did that experience change the course of your life? (future goals, dreams, family relationships, etc.)

    But before you start writing, there is one more thing I want to make super clear. When it comes to the influence an experience had in your life, it can be either positive or negative. Not all significant events in life that change who we are start out as positive experiences. Often the experiences that influence us most are the ones that were deeply painful, sad, or distressing. So don’t be afraid to write about the negative experiences that you have had.

    BUT…always end your essay on a positive note. Either find a way to turn the experience into a positive one or find a way to explain how the experience taught you to become a better person.

    In Jennie’s case, I think her trainee days with YG were very formative in her development as a person as well as an artist and it created a foundation for the person that she is now.

    Watching some of the closest girls that I trained with get regularly cut from the trainee program left a lasting impact on me. From the tender age of 15, I knew that this industry was cutthroat and the competition was vicious. No matter how hard I worked or how much I wanted to fulfill my dream, there were no promises that I would be able to make it.

     In the most brutal, childhood-ending way, I learned that I could only count on myself. If I wanted to maximize my chances of success, I had to take all of my training into my own hands and actively push myself to be better. I had to be more motivated, more determined, and more demanding of myself to succeed.

    And with that, I ferociously threw myself into the training, practiced until I ached, and learned to grow a thicker skin as I listened to criticism and feedback from my mentors. Every little extra ounce of effort mattered as it could be the thing that will help bring me to the finish line.

    TIP 3: End Your Essay by Explaining how you Will Apply Those Lessons to Your Future

    If you take a quick look at the last two tips I have given you, you may discover a pattern. The way that I have structured this essay capture your story in chronological order. We have covered how to write about your past and past/present. Now before you conclude your essay, we want to turn your attention onto the “future tense” of your story.

    Past- The Significant Experience
    Past/Present- How the Experience Influenced Your Development
    Future- How the Experience Will Impact Your Future

    The best way to end your essay is to write a quick recap of the journey that you have been through and then explain how you will apply the lessons you’ve learned to your future.

    You essentially want to be able to say, “This is what had happened to me years ago. This is how it impacted me since. And this is how I chose to allow it to influence my future.”

    When it comes to wrapping up Jennie’s story, I think she can recap the lessons that she learned while explaining how those lessons will help her achieve bigger goals in the future.

    Years of grueling training and hard work finally paid off when I debuted as a member of the girl group Blackpink in August 2016. Within a short four years, we became the first and only female K-pop group to enter and top Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart as well the first female K-pop group to have four number-one singles on Billboard’s “World Digital Song Sales chart. And for the first time since I was a trainee, I can finally look back at my hard work and feel proud of my achievements. The journey that I went through was beyond difficult but it has helped keep my grounded and taught me to be appreciative and thankful for the opportunities that I have been given, especially since they did not come easily.

    While I feel that I have achieved a part of my childhood dream, I think that this is only the beginning. I feel a responsibility to carry on the dreams of all the trainees before me, to give back to the fans that have supported me, and to continue striving towards my bigger dreams with the same dedication, appreciation, and love that I had when I was still a young 15-year-old trainee at YG.

    “fire_01” by alienpig1113 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0
    “3_JENNIE” by alienpig1113 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0
    “STAY-02” by alienpig1113 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0
    “Jennie Kim at Pyeongchang Music Festa on October 28, 2017” by DaftTaengk is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.