Soompi’s 17th Birthday: Dear 17-Year-Old Me…

Seventeen years ago on March 27, 1998, Soompi was born. Like anything that grows, it did not look like what it looks like today. From a small, forum community, it has grown into a media network of millions. It has had its moments of ups and downs, some growing pains, and great encouragement from its community to keep improving and expanding. Seventeen years old is an awkward stage in life for human beings and even for an online site where you’re not fully grown but you’re not a kid, either. It’s a point in your life where you are old enough to have to start making some big decisions and to regret some of the ones you already made as child. If one had the ability to communicate with or travel to the past, it’s basically the perfect age to go back to and give some sage advice.

So we asked some of our staff members and the founder of Soompi, soomp, what they would tell their 17-year-old selves, with all the wisdom they have now about Korean entertainment. Would they advise their younger selves financially so they can make millions in the future or would they warn their teenage fangirl/fanboy selves to avoid some groups while chasing others? Our staff members wrote up little letters to their 17-year-old selves that were sometimes wise, sometimes encouraging, and sometimes snarky, but most of the time, full of regret. Check out their letters to their “17-year-old me” and also share your own little letters in the comments below!

Note: We won’t reveal the exact ages of our staff members, some of us would prefer to keep that under wraps ;), but we were all 17 some time between the early 1990s to as recent as 2013.

Dear 17-year-old me,

You don’t know me and I don’t really know you anymore, but listen up. You know that $2000 you got recently that you were going to spend on stupid things like a new computer? 

Go take that money and buy some YG Entertainment shares with it, then keep buying YG shares for the next year. Then sit on that mountain of slightly meaningless paper for a few years. Why? Because in a few years, a man pretending to be a cowboy with a horrible fashion sense is going to turn the world into Gangnam paradise. At that point, your mountain of paper is suddenly going to turn into a money supernova. Then once you get to my age, you can finally buy that new computer you didn’t buy 10 years ago and a puppy as well. You like puppies, believe me.

(Note: Don’t take financial advice from a random shifty gentlemen proclaiming to be a future you, especially if you happen to be a girl.) –lordbordem

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Other girls will break your heart, but Han Ye Seul never will. –The Real CZ

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TVXQ will come back, so don’t cry too much.- kiddy_days

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Don’t be embarrassed about learning and practicing K-pop dances in your room because this wonderful service called YouTube will blow up, and K-pop cover channels will seriously be a thing.

 Also, it may seem like no one else in the world (i.e., high school) shares your fascination with Korean entertainment, but just you wait! College will happen, the world will open up, and you’ll meet an incredible amount of friends (through Soompi!) who share the same passion. –KisforKARENx3

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Don’t become too invested in Sulli, she’ll let you down over and over again… Seriously, you will regret getting into Sulli, because you will end up uselessly defending her through all the rumors, all the terrible movies and drama….. –ddangha

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When given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be seated next to Dongwoon‘s mom during a BEAST performance and she offers you a chance to meet them in person, take advantage of that time to talk to them more instead of standing there speechless (LOL). But I applaud you for not scaring them away by holding the overly crazy fangirl inside. –deedeegii

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Hey remember when you called EXO lame? Lol you’re going to regret that when you go loco over them in the next few months.

Btw, maybe tone down on the 2 a.m. YouTube searches for concert cams, etc. –ck525

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Don’t stay home hoping to watch r.ef on “Korean Top 20” music chart on weekends; you should be hanging out with friends instead!

P.S. I saw them in person filming an MTV in Singapore next year , but I couldn’t recognize them at all until a news story was published in the papers =_= –Rebby

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Don’t be too invested in TVXQ, you’ll end up sobbing all over your keyboard. –small_smiley

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Buy stocks for YG and SM when it becomes available. For SM, don’t sell when EXO debuts even if it dips really low, but sell after “Overdose.” For YG, a song called “Gangnam Style” is going to make you rich. Also, go to Korea, find a boy named Choi Minho and imprint on him so that when he becomes a legal adult he will already have been madly in love with you. While we’re at it, become a gambler. Italy wins the 2006 World Cup in over time. The Ravens beat the 49ers in 2013. Also, in 2014 you can get the perfect bracket if you remember that Dayton beats Ohio State, Mercer beats Duke, Memphis beats George Washington, and Connecticut wins with a victory over Kentucky. You will be a billionaire and can just buy Minho if imprinting didn’t work out. –CallMeN00NA

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GIRLS’ GENERATION CONCERT TOUR. Make sure you attend on or before 2014 instead of telling yourself, “Well, I couldn’t get the tickets this year so I’ll just wait for next year.”

Otherwise, you will be banging your head on the desk for ages to come. –melkimx

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Don’t feel guilty about watching K-Dramas and variety shows. It’ll actually be useful later. –kokoberry

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It’s okay to go to school for Korean studies. Don’t worry, even though your parents will be super paranoid about you being jobless for the rest of your life. You will not only discover K-pop but also, somehow, get an awesome job. And, rather than choosing MBLAQ over BEAST when they both debuted just choose BEAST right from the get-go so you don’t have to keep telling people that you were a fan starting three weeks after their debut. It’s embarrassing. –knims

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Do something constructive over the summer. Those random Asian music videos on the international channel are awesome, so start learning Korean earlier. Also, learn to code because cell phones will have “apps” in the future. (Insert long list of future popular apps and their descriptions). Also, don’t start a blog, it will be a terrible idea. –Sylphid

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Don’t stop writing that fanfic because maybe one day you’ll want to become a screenwriter. –crystalcove

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So you want to learn Korean? Don’t bother with the Chinese characters. Turns out most of your Korean friends don’t know them either. Just memorize the characters for “woman,” “man,” and “nothing,” and you’ll be set to read pretty much all the news article titles you come across in the future. P.S. You’re going to forget the rest anyway. –ilmare42

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You won’t believe this, but your faithful watching of Choi Jin Shil dramas on VHS and Hyun Jin Young on “Gayo Top 10” will prepare you for a ride that’ll last longer than you’ve been alive. The Internet is a wonderful place, but try to step away from the computer every once in a while and remember to make some friends IRL. One day, there will be a site called Urban Dictionary where you can look that up. –soomp

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There’s more to come for Soompi’s 17th birthday celebration where Soompi isn’t the one to receive gifts *hint hint*, so stay tuned! Happy 17th birthday, Soompi!