Last February 10, Julie Villafuerte went viral in Twitter after graduating with honors, along with other accolades, from De La Salle University-Manila. Her tweet – as of this writing – has garnered more than 670 comments, more than 20 thousand retweets and more than 40 thousand likes.
What made it viral? She is a proud EXO-L and Carat, who still managed to graduate with flying colors. We got in touch with Julie (@jacvillafuerte), a graduate of Political Science, and asked her how she did it.
KStreetManila: How did you react out when you found out you were graduating with honors?
Julie: It felt surreal, because I was never an achiever back in high school or in elementary. The first academic award I received was the 2nd Honors Certificate during my first term in DLSU. For me, that was one of the best awards I got because it was my first. I never really aimed to be part of the honor students [list] when I first entered the university, but when I got the 2nd Honor DL Certificate, I realized that “Oh, kaya ko pala.”
K: You managed to be part of the Dean’s List for eight times, awarded Best Thesis in Political Science and graduated with honors. Incredible! Please share to us your study habits.
J: As for my study habits, I don’t think this one’s something to be proud of because it’s very unhealthy. Given that I am a hardcore fan, I had to choose between dropping K-Pop and sacrificing sleep. In the end, I chose the latter. As a result, I had to cram everything the night before we pass the papers/assignments. I’m a student who works best during ungodly hours so a cramming a paper at 3 a.m. has always been my thing. If the deadline is set at around 5 p.m. onwards, I usually do my tasks or review on the day itself. I’m pretty sure most of the students — fan or not—could relate because we all have mastered the art of puyatan. So until now, I still suffer from insomnia. (It’s hypocritical of me to say this, but please don’t do this. It’s unhealthy.)
However, I’d like to suggest that if you’re trying to aim for a good grade, always be confident especially when it comes to speaking. Recitations could pull your grades up somehow, and even a small change on your grade can make a huge difference.
I’d also like to use this chance to thank my thesis partner, Georgia Fernandez, for everything because I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to achieve all of this (especially the thesis) if it weren’t because of her.
K: We saw that you are both a Carat and an EXO-L. What drew you to be a fan of both groups?
J: The first K-Pop group I stanned was EXO and that was during my 3rd year in high school. My friend forced me to watch the EXO pre-debut teasers and hell, I got into it the moment I saw Kai. I Jongin-ed and I was never able to Jong-out. I used to hate K-Pop and its fans. There were times when I say, “Why do you even listen to music that you don’t understand?” but here I am – a trash for Korean men.
Seventeen came into my life only during the Don’t Wanna Cry era. Who wouldn’t be a trash for them after seeing THAT music video right? I low-key stanned them starting then and just recently, I stumbled upon the the Hip-Hop
Team’s Trauma then boom, I became a full-time Seventeen trash as well.
During my years of stanning K-Pop, I tried to check on other groups, too, but there was just really something about EXO and Seventeen that I couldn’t find in any group. I couldn’t exactly pinpoint the reasons why I love them but one
thing’s for sure, I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
The old K-Pop-hater me is long gone and I am more than happy to leave that to my past.
K: Most people think that liking K-Pop is a distraction to studying. What can you say about this?
J: For people who can’t properly manage their time, it is indeed a distraction. Back then, it was a distraction for me, too. There were times when I failed to review for an exam (which ended badly) because of fangirling and all, but I was able to get back on track without the need to drop my faves. With that being said, I suggest that you must always make sure to discipline yourself. Everything that’s too much is bad, remember that.
Once you’re able to turn that distraction into an inspiration, good things will come. The worst thing in life is having to regret not doing the things you could’ve done. Time won’t wait for you; it will move on whether you’re ready or
K: Are your parents also supportive of your K-Pop endeavors? How about your classmates
and professors? What do they say about you liking K-Pop?
J: They are! My parents are very supportive of my K-Pop endeavors. Every once in a while, they let me go to Seoul to fangirl there. They gifted me huge bookshelves to fill with my albums and merchandise. At times, my dad snickers at me whenever I go gaga over my faves in front of him for good laughs but overall, they are really supportive. My parents are both into business and they are happy to know that I’m able to make a business out of fangirling. I’ve been running an online EXO K-Pop shop since 2013 and somehow, it helped me fund my K-Pop collection.
Fortunately, my classmates and professors are also supportive. I used to bring my EXO dolls in class and one of my “terror” professors even held it during one of our sessions. (It was funny that he even named them!)
K: How do Seventeen and EXO inspire you to study excellently?
J: The main reason was I wanted to prove to my family and to everyone that if done right, being a fan would not hinder me from achieving my goals. There are times when I’m having breakdowns about school and I found my safe haven in the form of their videos. A good laugh caused by the people you love is one of the best remedies to stress and pain.
K: What are your plans now that you have graduated?
K: Please share a message to other young people who are both juggling between being a fan and being a student.
J: When I was in PICC for my graduation, I went in the middle of the hall and held up my Eribong and Caratbong proudly. Graduates, parents and the other guests were looking at me. They probably thought I was doing something childish but I didn’t care. I stood there, proud of having brought these lightsticks to the hall where I graduated because both groups were there with me during my highs and lows. I wanted to bring them with me during my special day because I couldn’t have done this without my inspirations.
My point is, people tend to judge K-Pop fans (I used to be one of them) but don’t let that dishearten you. In fact, use that as a motivation for you to strive hard so in the end, you could wave your lightsticks to their faces and say, “I did it while listening to the songs I couldn’t understand!”
Being a fan doesn’t require you to be a hardcore one. Just always do both in moderation. Too much studying is not good, too. It’s fun to have a life outside school. Don’t forget to reward yourself whenever you achieve something,
may it be big or small.
Interview by Cheska De Ocampo / Photos provided by Julie Villafuerte