Being a K-Pop idol in itself is not easy. Many current and former idols have opened up about the grueling schedules that they have to face before and during promotions—all the more if they’re students.
One of the most famous student-artists is fromis_9‘s Jiheon. She previously set up a livestream that showed her studying for five and a half hours straight. It quickly went viral as it showed her intense focus and dedication to her studies.
In an interview with Weverse Magazine, she detailed the hardships that she had to go through to balance her school and celebrity lives.
Actually I thought a lot about giving up along the way. Doing this and our team activities at the same time was really hard.
Jiheon was a student at Jeungpyeong Middle School until she moved to the School of Performing Arts Seoul in 2019 for her high school education. She began earnestly studying for the College Scholastic Ability Test, the national test for graduating high school students, in 2021.
She was also busy preparing for fromis_9’s “Talk & Talk” comeback. It was so tiring to balance the two, she often teared up, massaged her eyes to keep the swelling down for shoots, and then continued studying without pause.
There was some of that during our ‘Talk & Talk’ promotions. I came home after the first broadcast and started to study and the tears just wouldn’t stop. First was regret at how I didn’t like the way I looked on the screen for our first performance, but I still had studying to do, meanwhile I’m falling asleep, I’m stressed out so I’m gaining weight and that’s playing havoc with my eating habits, and even while studying I’m doubting myself saying, ‘Am I doing the right thing?’ The next day my eyes were super puffed up on stage.
Jiheon could have easily chosen to take a break from school or to postpone the CSAT. Instead, she wanted to take responsibility for her choices and prove that she could be both a student and a singer.
Whenever I said I’m preparing for the CSAT, so many people would say, ‘You already have a job as an idol, do you really need to do this?’ That made me think I’m going to show them I can carry this to the end and not give up on the choice I made, and what they said actually spurred me on.
Thoughts about not having enough time often went through her head. Besides preparing for their comeback, K-Pop idols like her often post vlogs, sit down for interviews, hold fansigns, and more.
There was a rush of activities a month before the test and there was a lot of pressure. I thought, ‘I have so much to do, will I be able to prepare enough?’ and I was worried that all my work until now would be for nothing. I also know that people will focus a lot on the outcome, so I wanted to meet those expectations too.
Jiheon was able to finish successfully with “not bad” results after the CSAT was held on November 18, 2021. Like going through withdrawal, she did not know what to do to relax after no longer needing to study.
It’s a weight off my shoulders because I worked hard and the results aren’t bad…I had practice and promotions after the CSAT too, but I didn’t know what to do with my downtime because I used to spend it by squeezing in some studying. All I did last year was study, practice and work. Suddenly it feels like something’s missing.
She’s now determined to spend her extra time experiencing things that other 18 year old girls would do: “Now that I’m an adult, I think I’ll start knocking off things I couldn’t do before one by one, like getting a driver’s license.”
Jiheon debuted as a K-Pop idol at 14 years old after securing 8th place in Mnet‘s Idol School, becoming fromis_9’s maknae.
Check out fromis_9’s latest comeback, “DM,” below.