Idolizing celebrities and other types of personalities is somewhat of a rite of passage for a person—no matter what their gender, age group, or generation is. You could go ahead and ask your grandmother if she ever had idolized anyone from her time, she would most likely answer you with a sweet “yes.” You could also ask your mom and, she would most likely tell you that she was head over heels for John Lennon, Elton John, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise. Ask your dad, and he would probably tell you that he admired David Beckham for his prowess in soccer.

Being a fan is all about admiration and developing a parasocial connection with a celebrity or personality. For a time, the stigma of being a fangirl or fanboy made people think that it was a sort of distraction from the motions of real life. Your parents or even your friends would tell you that your obsession with that certain group or personality is nothing but a mere distraction to your studies.

“It’s just a phase,” they would tell you.

These three K-pop stans (according to Merriam Webster, the word “stan” means excessively enthusiastic and devoted fans) will prove you wrong:

Lucci Tangpos, Cum Laude, Class of 2022

Lucci’s cause of euphoria is BTS. She started stanning the renowned and biggest South Korean boy group in 2021. It started out with wanting to simply know the names of the members.

“It started out with wanting to know them and matching that name to a face or even a hair color because, apparently, it changes a lot for different eras.”

Lucci shared that it was quite challenging for her to stan BTS while also juggling her thesis, internship and other academic responsibilities.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a hindrance to my responsibilities, but if there’s a V-Live (a South Korean live-streaming app) and I’m doing something, all of my academic stuff will be set aside for the meantime,” she shared. However, she also imparted that if there was a clash between her streaming responsibilities and university, she always prioritized her studies first.

Lucci graduated as a Cum Laude in June of 2022.

Kurt Labiste, consistent Dean’s Lister, Class of 2022

Kurt is a classic EXO-L (the official fandom name of the South Korean boy group EXO). He officially became a fan of the third-generation trendsetters in 2019, when he saw a video of EXO’s main rapper, Park Chanyeol, singing. He shared that stanning EXO didn’t hinder him from achieving academic success.

Kurt also shared that after diligently doing school work and/or projects, he rewards himself with watching EXO content (variety show guestings, their music videos, etc.) right after. He expressed how much inspiration he gets from EXO in complying with his requirements.

Kurt shared that EXO offers him comfort at times when he needs it. “Whenever I consume EXO contents, I feel nostalgic but also at the same time, inspired.”

Kurt is set to graduate in July of 2022 with Latin Honors.

Vanessa Leuterio, Cum Laude, Class of 2022

Just like Lucci, Vanessa is a die-hard “Army” (the official fandom name of BTS). She organizes BTS-centered events in Cebu, that congregate Cebuano Armys.

Vanessa shared that she started stanning BTS in March of 2020. She slowly immersed herself in the fandom when she watched some fancams, a video closeup filmed by an audience member during a live performance by a K-pop idol group, of the members. Gradually, interest took over.

She admitted that juggling studies and being a fan is no easy feat. Vanessa attended BTS’ “Permission to Dance” concert in Los Angeles and was in the middle of thesis writing. “When I travelled to L.A. for the concert, it was during the first phase of my thesis. During that time, I really worked hard, given that there was a time zone difference. After the concert, I immediately worked on my thesis,” she recalled.

Vanessa expressed how BTS changed her life. She was able to fully connect with other people and even old friends who were also BTS fans at the events she organized. “Stanning K-pop groups will comfort you on your sad days and can motivate you to be a better person than you were yesterday,” she said.

Vanessa graduated as a Cum Laude in June of 2022.

It’s no question why these Kpop stans are achievers. For one to be a fan, there must be passion and dedication, and these three never ran out of it. It’s no easy feat, but being a fan and a successful student? That’s an achievement!