How would the soundtrack of your life sound like? What songs will be playing in the background of your life as you look back on the life you lead? What songs have been there for you through the toughest moments of your life?

For me, one of the most impactful songs in my life is BTS’s “Dope.” Even though “Dope” is a fast-beat and playful song, the lyrics are incredibly meaningful.

And most importantly, this song accompanied through my final year in college, which was not a regular senior year by any stretch of the imagination.

For an entire year, I toiled away at my 80-page honors thesis while juggling a full load of classes, and trying to launch my first company in both China and the United States at the same time.

It was a grueling, emotionally-draining, and precarious time – but also a time of tremendous growth and character.

No other year in my life has been met with so much scrutiny and harsh criticism at the same time that I received unquantifiable amounts of love and support.

All these years later, I am unsure about how I should feel I reminiscence about the stressful and high-pressured days in that final year. But one thing is for sure, I am unbelievably thankful for BTS to have released the music that they have.

It helped keep me company throughout this period of time in my life and it still brings me back flashbacks every time I listen to “Dope.”

OK 우린 머리부터 발끝까지 전부 다
쩌 쩔어
작업실에 쩔어 살어 청춘은 썩어가도
덕분에 모로 가도 달리는 성공가도

Ok we’re dope from head to toe
Over half of the day, we drown in work
Even if our youth rots in the studio
Thanks to that, we’re closer to success

BTS, Lyrics to “Dope”

Because of my appreciation for BTS, I was very eager to write a blog post about them. But instead of writing it about all of them, I decided to write on J-Hope today, who with his namesake has brought a tremendous amount of optimism and hope in my life.

So this blog post will be dedicated to exploring J-Hope’s life and presenting it in the form of a scholarship essay.

Hopefully, it will entertain you guys as you learn more about J-Hope’s life while also picking up some tips on how to write a killer scholarship essay.

DISCLAIMER: I based the majority of this hypothetical scholarship on research I conducted on J-Hope’s life.

But since I wasn’t able to directly interview J-Hope (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.

Scholarship Prompt

Describe a time when you demonstrated leadership abilities outside of school.

Suggested Essay Outline

Before I dive in to share my tips on how to write this scholarship essay, I would advise J-Hope (and anyone else that has a leadership 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.

Section 1: Pick a “Dope” Leadership Story to Write About
-Pick a top-notch leadership story to write about
-Write sure that the story is concise, easy to write about, and clearly demonstrates your leadership abilities
Section 2: Explain How You Stepped Up As a Leader
-Share the inner dialogue you went through when you decided to step up as a leader
-What did you do? How did you convince other team members to believe in you?
-What did you lead them to do?
Section 3: Did you succeed as a leader?
-What was the outcome of your leadership abilities?
-Were you able to help your team overcome all major challenges?
If so, how did it look like when you guys succeeded?
Section 4: Leave a “Mic Drop” for your reader
-Leave a memorable last sentence or message for your reader

When it comes to this type of scholarship essay, there is only one “bulletproof” way of writing a bomb essay. And that is to select a killer leadership story to write about it.

Picking a good story is not only half the battle, but a good story will also basically write itself without too much effort and will help guide you in laying out the rest of your essay. 

As you sit down to mull over which leadership story you want to write about, try to keep these qualities in mind:

  • Presents a Clear Problem that You Need to Help Solve:
    The leadership story has a clear challenge that requires you to help solve.
  • Requires teamwork:
    The leadership story is not a story about how you overcame obstacles on your own, it’s always about how you help lead a team of other people to defeat the challenge.
  • The Story is Concise:
    Even though the challenge may be multi-faceted, the story is generally straightforward and easy to tell without having to explain an excessive amount of background information and characters involved. You don’t want a story that turns into 100 other little background stories before you can get to your main point. 
  • Had a Profound Impact on You:
    The leadership story needs to be meaningful to you and played a big role in influencing your leadership style.
  • Bigger Implications:
    The leadership story is bigger than the story itself, its impact can extend to other areas of your life, career, and the people that you want to influence in the future.

When it comes to J-Hope, I think one of his most memorable leadership stories is about how he helped lead BTS members through some of the most difficult times before and after they first debuted.

The early days of our seven-member Korean boy-band, BTS, were wrought with difficulties.

It was a time when you woke up every day praying that today will be the day that things finally turnaround for us, but then only to be greeted with yet another complication on the journey to our musical debut.

Bit Hit, our management company was a small firm with limited resources and often struggled with finances. As a result, before we even debuted, the cutthroat entertainment industry was already dismissive of our concepts and music.

The pressures continued to mount as each of us knew that our dreams may end before they even began.

The weight of our futures hung in the balance as raced against time to prepare for our debut. But we were far from where we needed to be and to make matters worse, our dance choreographies demanded incredible energy and athleticism.

Not to mention, it also required all seven of us to dance in absolute unison with a surgical precision that was a standard in Korean entertainment.

One of my favorite BTS performances of all time is when they sang “DNA” at the American Music Awards (AMA) back in 2017.

Not only was it beyond incredible for BTS to be the first-ever Kpop group to perform at the AMAs, but their song, “DNA” was also a show-stopper with swoon-worthy lyrics:

우리 만남은 수학의 공식
종교의 율법 우주의 섭리
내게 주어진 운명의 증거, 너는 내 꿈의 출처

Our meeting is like a mathematical formula
Commandments of religion, the providence of the universe;
The evidence of destiny given to me You’re the source of my dream

BTS, Lyrics to “DNA”

What I really like about these lyrics is that they are creative in describing how ingrained a feeling is.

Instead of just saying, “I felt it in my gut and it felt right,” they turned to singing about mathematical formulas, religious commandments, laws of the universe, and their DNA to make a point.

Similarly, you want to make sure you are equally creative when you explain how you stepped up as a leader. Here are some questions that you may want to answer in this section:

  • How did you step up as a leader?
  • What leadership qualities did you demonstrate?
  • How did you lead your team?
  • How did you convince your team to believe in you?
  • What type of leader do you think you are?
  • What insights did you gain about what it takes to be an effective leader? 

Here’s how I think J-Hope can write about his leadership style and abilities:

Seeing how much my other teammates struggled and knowing that we only had one shot at fulfilling our dreams, I decided that it was time to step up as the “dance leader” of the team.

From the moment I chose my stage name, “j-hope,” and became an official member of BTS, I knew it was my responsibility and duty to support and help lead my team to success.

So to reach our goals, I actively motivated and cheered on my team. I knew we had a long way to go but I took it upon myself to push us towards our ultimate goals. For nearly three months, we filmed the choreography for one of our first songs, “We Are Bulletproof, Pt. 2” every single day. 

I carefully monitored our progress and even with the smallest discrepancy between the angles of our bodies, our timing, or even the slightest flicks of our fingers, I rallied the team to try again.

The grueling sessions wreaked havoc on my body. I sustained several injuries and on occasion, I even collapsed in practice. At one point, I even accumulated so much blood and swelling in my feet that I had to get them drawn out.

Even so, I continued to be relentlessly optimistic and supportive of my teammates. Failure was not an option for neither me nor my team.

As you near the end of your essay, take some time to write about the outcome of your story. Explain how your leadership skills helped the team overcome the big obstacles and share some details to illustrate how that looks like.

You can also talk about your grander leadership goals for the future or the challenges that you hope to be able to help tackle in the world.

And then before you end your essay, make sure you leave a big “mic drop” moment for your readers.

Or in other words, leave a memorable last line or message to your reader that is so powerful that they are likely to keep thinking about it even after they’ve moved on to reading someone else’s essay.

Now that’s a real swag right there. #swagalicious

This is how I think J-Hope could write his final few paragraphs:

And thankfully, all our efforts and hard work paid off. Our debut was a major success and within a short 7 years, I continued serving as the dance leader of BTS and helped lead the team to several world records.

We became the very first Kpop group to top the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 Awards and also the first Kpop group to spend 1 year on America’s main album charts. We are the best-selling artists in South Korean history and also the fastest group since the Beatles to win four number one albums in less than two years.

Even with all the success we’ve had, I continue to see myself as the same person I was before we debuted. I am intent on helping to lead BTS to even bigger and greater things in the future.

But along this journey to fulfilling our dreams, I’ve also discovered another responsibility. In 2018, I debuted my first mixtape titled, “Hope World” to help lead and spread hope and joy to those struggling in an unjust world, especially for those that find solace in my music.

It’s not even a grandiose type of peace that I am trying to provide, just a small shard of peace for someone, somewhere in the world that desperately needs and deserves our support.

And there you have it! I found J-Hope’s story extremely inspiring and it was a real honor to write about him!

Make sure you leave a comment for me down below and let me know which celebrity you’ll like me to write about next!



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