Owl Post (PoA 1)

There is something I find absolutely magical about starting a new book (and it’s not just because this is Harry Potter either). The beginning of this book is perfectly timed with the beginning of finals season and the end of the 1L year. I sat down to read and write today listening to one of my absolute favorite musical compositions in the world: October by Eric Whitacre 

In middle school and high school I played the flute (and sometimes other instruments) in band. I loved when we would play complex musical pieces like this one. Every instrument had its own crucial part to play. Every time we started with a new piece we would sight-read it, meaning as an ensemble we would get the music and just attempt to play it together, not knowing how the notes worked together, how each line created a piece of the story, how important the crescendos and diminuendos were… we would just play, hoping we would all at least stop together.

It never sounded amazing on the first run through. So we would try again. We would practice at home. We would work with our section leaders and each other to better our parts. We would come back together and play it again and again, working to see the big picture, to paint the musical storyline through each note and each rest. We would work together, we would listen to each other and I swear we would bond through the piece.

Now I played sports, was on student council and did many other team oriented activities, but there was something about band that made me feel like I belonged. Ever since then, when I gave up on a dream of playing music, because school and work became more important i’ve worked to see music in other aspects of my life. When I listen to music, or attend musicals I can literally feel the music in my heart and see the music in my mind picking out each individual instrument. A lot of the time my soul longs to be sitting in the front row on a stage with the conductor in front of me and clarinets and trumpets behind me simply getting lost in the creation of a beautiful symphony for the audience to listen to and indulge in. Yet, that was a dream of the past.

Sitting down to read this week’s chapter of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban I turned that piece of beautiful music on, looking for inspiration once again. There within that chapter, I didn’t find a theme. I found music. Like sitting down to play a composition, writing a book takes bringing the right notes and rests, the right crescendos and diminuendos together. J.K. Rowling composes a beautiful opening chapter. She juxtaposes Harry’s past two summers with the one at hand. She paints humbleness through the letters sent to Harry on his birthday. She paints thankfulness through Harry’s thoughts about his friends. She paints wonder through the simplicity of Harry’s interactions with the Wizarding World. Yet, she also still paints a hunting doubt and wincing moments of foreshadowing through minute sentences hidden in Harry’s thoughts and treasures. Writing, reading and playing music can all be hard to do when the material is fresh, the excitement boiling over and the insecurities lingering nearby.

Reading this chapter, listening to music from my past, and trying to prepare for the finals ahead made me think of how difficult journeys can be. Harry is having a typical summer, a summer vacation that he hates and spends longing to now be back in school, the place he feels like he belongs. He sneakily does his homework at night as to not invoke the fury of the Durselys. He awaits to hear from his friends. He lives out his present in hopes that his future will be better. He dwells for small moments on the past, revisiting the school year before, looking forward to the school year ahead, all whilst knowing that Voldemort is still out there looking to kill Harry at any moment. He feels full when he hears from his friends, and he feels alone when he does not. Every summer is like playing the same musical piece, one he knows good and well until the end, when school is about to begin, then he starts sight-reading a brand new piece.

This past year, moving away from home, getting back into school, having to make new friends while trying to keep old friends, living with someone and learning how that works when I’ve lived alone for 4 years, not working then working, and learning the law and how law school works in general has been like one giant sight-reading exercise. There are section leaders and peers that come in and out of this exercise to help, but no one consistently throughout the whole process. The sections of flutes and trumpets and percussion have cycled through so many people and the second you think you’ve got it down, a few key players, soloists or full sections get sick and take leave.

Law school is the giant orchestra that never comes together to produce one song. There are too many rogue soloists, there are too many paid musicians who come in for an hour and leave to go be with their real friends and family, there is a lot of heart but it is all given to other motivations. No one is truly in it for the good of the music, for the heart and the soul full of passion.

After every huge piece, when we would perfect it, when we would accomplish something huge, as a group we would beg for something new, something harder to tackle as a group. The music, the challenge, the passion became addictive… the thing is we knew we couldn’t do it without each other. Band wasn’t always glamorous, we fought like families do, we were friends most of the time and enemies at other times, we hated seeing each other all the time, but missed each other when it had been too long. We were up before the sun together and still awake together hours after it went down. We wanted to kill each other at times. We were a family though, fueled by a love of music and a longing to create it together.

Law school can be that way at times… until finals. Everyone loves and hates each other up until finals… then we all leave each other. When the music gets challenging we dip out. We leave, lock ourselves away, stop communicating to most people, only talking to and reaching out to those key individuals who are on our level, who are part of our smart study group, those we deem worthy of our time. We cast away those instruments that were essential to us when we were no longer struggling.

Harry felt alone most of his summer. He realized that Ron attempted to reach out and then went on vacation and probably told Hermione not to call harry since Ron’s attempt went so poorly. Harry spent most of the summer feeling like an outcast again… until his birthday. Around 1 AM on his birthday everyone wrote to him, sending him gifts.

As we go into finals, as we sight-read a new piece of music together before heading off to let the music go dark for the summer, I think it’s important to take a moment and assess what’s truly important: the music we play together or the music you play alone. For me, there was nothing more nerve-wracking than playing a solo while every one else rested silently… I loved being part of the music, the build to end, with my peers. It’s where I felt I belonged. Hogwarts is where harry feels he belongs with his peers. Going into finals… where do you feel you belong?

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

The Heir of Slytherin and Dobby’s Reward (CoS 17 & 18)

One word: Ego.

There is so much innocence in childhood. You are full of dreams and radical notions about the world. Unfortunately, ego comes along and steals a part of that innocence. Now most of the time we think of ego as someone being big-headed or feeling entitled, but it can go the other way too. Either way, ego becomes a key player in how we relate to the world.

Ego: a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.

hp2bThis week in HP we are finally finishing Book 2!! Yay!! Harry has made it into the chamber of secrets to find an unconscious Ginny on the floor. Long story short, Tom Riddle (aka Voldemort) preserved himself in a diary, enchanted Ginny and is stealing her life to become real again. Harry gets mad, a basilisk fight ensues. Fawkes (Dumbledore’s Phoenix ) flies in, brings the sorting hat (which holds the sword of Gryffindor) and Harry defeats the giant snake! (YAY!) Harry saves Ginny, finds Ron and Lockhart and makes it back to Hogwarts. Harry and Ron tell the story of that nights events to Dumbledore, McGongall and the Weasley parents. Dumbledore awards Gryffindor points, everyone is happy and then Mr. Malfoy (daddy Malfoy) arrives to talk with Dobby behind. Harry, outraged by seeing how Dobby is treated by his master, he tricks Mr. Malfoy into giving Dobby a sock and setting him free! THE END!

Here we see ego all over the place. Tom Riddle had one of the biggest egos, preserving himself in a journal (which we later find out is a horocrux so he therefore killed someone to preserve himself). Dobby, as a house-elf has a timid ego. He is considered lesser than all others, so therefore acts as such. Mr. Malfoy, being the pompous man he is,  is another example of a huge ego.images-6

Our egos are shaped by the world around us, the messages west about ourselves and internalize. And in law school you encounter every type of ego imaginable. The key is learning to work with every type of ego while growing yours or minimizing it at the same time.

For those who find themselves in Dobby’s shoes, it’s a matter of working to grow your ego, to find your self-esteem and self- importance. This includes standing up for yourself, doing what you want or carving your own path.

images-7For those who find themselves in Mr. Malfoy or Tom Riddle’s shoes, it’s a matter of readjusting your views of the world. Seeing how your actions fall upon others and affect them.

Ego can be useful, but too much or too little can be harmful, especially in law school. So take a moment and reflect on where you fall. And comeback soon for the beginning of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

Aragon and The Chamber of Secrets (CoS 15 & 16)

If there ever were two chapters of Harry Potter to describe law school, these would be those chapters.

aragog-chamber-of-secrets-illustrated-editionIn these two chapters, Harry and Ron follow the spiders into the Forbidden Forest. There they meet a GIANT spider named Aragon. Aragon tells the story of how Hagrid brought him to the school and cared for him until Tom Riddle turned Hagrid in (the last time the Chamber of Secrets was opened) and Aragon went to live in the Forbidden Forest. After Ron and Harry learn that Hagrid is innocent, they attempt to leave the spiders’ nest only to attacked by all of Aragon’s sons and Daughters. They only manage to escape because the Weasley family car, now wild, emerges from dark and races Harry and Ron out of the forest.
In the next chapter, McGongall announces that the mandrakes have matured enough to turn them into a potion and wake up everyone who has been petrified. The teachers are ecstatic thinking that the nightmare will be over and one of those petrified will tell them who is causing all of their troubles. Harry and Ron visit hermione in the hospital wing, where they find a crumbled up paper dealing basilisks in her hand. After talking to Moaning Myrtle (the first student killed by the basilisk) they start to piece the puzzle together. images-5Things turn for the worse though and the school is in a panic going into finals, and it’s not because finals, but because a student has been taken into the Chamber of Secrets. Harry and Ron spy to overhear that Ginny is the student now in the Chamber, and that Lockhart has been chosen (mainly through his bragging) to go and rescue her. They run up to Lockhart’s office to warn him about what he faces in the Chamber, only to find Lockhart packing his bags to flee. Lockhart discloses that he is a fraud. Harry and Ron force him to go into the Chamber of Secrets only to find themselves soon separated, Harry continuing alone and Ron staying with a memory hoped Lockhart.

This week’s theme: help. Harry and Ron find many people and things that help them in their worst moments, and in law school it’s important to also find things to help you!

The first year of law school is winding down with less than 7 weeks to go, and the closer we get to finals, appellate briefs being due and oral arguments, the more it feels like walking into a giant spider’s nest. Tensions are high around every corner and relief feels no where in sight. We also have that extra stress of figuring out classes for next semester and interviewing for summer jobs.

enhanced-17831-1405608304-5It definitely feels a little overwhelming. Finals looming over us, and everything still left to do feels a little like jumping down the secret passage to the Chamber of Secrets. But amongst all of this there are so many trusty sidekicks alongside us as we go through this journey. I started this semester by starting therapy at the Health and Counseling center on campus. It’s always a vulnerable moment to admit you have some issues you want to talk out, or that you need some help. I’ve posted on here before that I have General Anxiety Disorder. It’s not an easy disorder to detect since its all internal but it does manifest itself in different ways. For me, I plan because then I have a semblance of control over the situation. I also rehearse every conversation or answer numerous times before raising my hand or approaching someone. There are so many calculated moves because of my anxiety. Asking for help isn’t an easy thing to do either because of the implications behind it.

Most days in law school I feel like a fraud. Not to the extent of Gildeory Lockhart, but pretty close. it’s just part of law school, or at least that’s what they tell us. When you go to school with engineers, mock trial award winners, debate champs, military veterans and so many other people who have very different backgrounds, it’s hard to keep your head up and feel like you should be there. At the end of the first semester I felt a little lost, a little deflated, a little tired and very stressed. The adrenaline was wearing off and I wasn’t sure if I could continue… but then I asked for help. over the past few months it’s been amazing to talk to someone who really reminds me of why I’m in law school. She’s like having a Hermione to help guide you through the obvious things in front of you! I may not be some amazing award winning, always been on the tract to be a lawyer, beautiful minded law student, but I am a very accomplished person. I’ve started and ran my own business, I’ve managed a multi-million dollar store, I’m a published author and so much more.

It’s easy to get lost when you are faced up against some seriously stressful situations, but when you let others help you, when you allow the car to drive on it’s own and you start to trust yourself, law school becomes a bit easier to manage.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP!

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

Cornelius Fudge (CoS 14)

Oh it seems I have lost track of time and blog posts over the past few weeks. Here we are again though ready to tackle both the law school and the magical school worlds again. This week’s theme is indecisiveness.

To catch everyone up a bit, Gryffindor is gearing up for their big Qudditch match and second years are preparing to pick classes alone for the first time at Hogwarts. In this chapter someone has trashed Harry’s dorm stealing Tom Riddle’s diary (which Harry found and magically saw Tom’s past thoughts which convicted Hagrid of being the one to open the Chamber of Secrets years ago). Fast forward and the Qudditich match is cancelled with the news that Hermione is currently in the infirmary after being petrified and is now awaiting a mandrake potion to be woken up. Harry and Ron go off to Hagrid’s Hut (against school rules of course) and are welcomed in only to have to hide as the Minster of Magic and Dumbledore come knocking on Hagrid’s door. Hagrid is taken to Azkaban, Luicis Malfoy arrives declaring the school board has decided its time for Dumbledore to step down for now with all of these attacks at Hogwarts, and Ron and Harry listen intently as Hagrid tells them covertly to “follow the spiders.”

Now how does indecisiveness work into this chapter? Easily, Hermione is out and with her being the brains of the operation Harry and Ron are now left to make their own decisions on what to do next in solving this magical crime mystery. Cornelius Fudge shows indecisiveness in trying to decide if Hagrid is indeed the perpetrator and if Dumbledore should be forced to step down. Never mind that the entire 2-6 year students are trying to figure out their class schedules for next year, do homework and decide whether leaving their dorms to go to classes is a good idea or not seeing as they could be petrified or killed at any minute.

The chaos in this chapter feels a lot like law school right now. While I would love to sit here and complain about all the work we have to get done and the decisions we have to make I want to give five easy tips on how to make hard decisions in the context of law school:

1) Deciding between going out or studying

Let’s make this one easy. Answer these questions:

  • Do you have a ton of homework that must be done by tomorrow? (No- take a breather and go out for an hour maybe; Yes- GET IN THE LIBRARY AND DO YOUR DAMN WORK ALREADY)
  • Is it Wednesday and you’ve gone out the past two nights? (No- You may go out for a short amount of time, as long as the previous question was a no too; Yes- YOU REALLY NEED TO GET IT TOGETHER HERE)
  • Is it Friday and you have a brief due Monday (that you’ve barely started or it looks like a blank page in Word)? (No- take a break, you’ve got all weekend to do homework; Yes- ARE YOU KIDDING ME? STAY IN, SIT AT THE COMPUTER WITH NO PEE BREAKS OR SNACKS, YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO MOVE UNTIL IT IS HALF DONE)
  • Do you have money? (No- THEN WHY ARE QUESTIONING GOING OUT WHEN YOU ARE LITERALLY MAKING NEGATIVE MONIES; yes- alright, go ahead)
  • Are you on the verge of a nervous breakdown? (Yes- GET OUTOF THE HOUSE NOW AND GO HAVE FUN; No- then see all other questions)

2) Deciding classes for next year

Go to all advising events you can get your hands on and if all else fails just take the other required courses next year. Just don’t stress about this. It’s scary and it seems like everyone else has their business together and hows what to take, but it will be okay!

3) Deciding what to do for summer

GO WITH YOUR GUT. Don’t listen to everyone else and read all their social media posts about how awesome it is that they got a PD/DA job for the summer or they are working at a firm or for a judge. Do what you want to do. Follow your passion and screw everyone else.

4) Deciding which Organizations to be part of

Alright, listen here, they say don’t join more then one student org your first year… just listen to them. You are already going to be tired and overworked… DON’T ADD MORE STRESS THAN NEEDED… but if you are like me and don’t listen to that advice, find about 2-3 organizations you like and then don’t complain to anyone when you have a lot of extra work to do because of them since nobody cares and they warned you.

5) Deciding what assignments/ readings are priority

I didn’t think this would ever be a problem, because hey you want to read for every class… BUT YOU SOMETIMES CANNOT DO THAT. I am by no means saying you should just show up to a class completely unprepared, you should at least try to skim the cases or look them up. But sometimes you have to not finish all the reading, or not go into detail because other classes are taking priority. Try your best to be prepared but don’t stress yourself out to the point of not sleeping or eating or seeing your friends. If it’s not going to be graded, and you haven’t skipped it consistently and you aren’t on-call, take a breather and relax. Skim the reading and head to class.

With that all said, law school doesn’t have to be full of hard decisions or indecisiveness (which occurs if you are like me and in a stressful situation). You can do this!

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed.

 

The Very Secret Diary (CoS 13)

In this chapter of Harry Potter, we see steadfast determination all over.

The chapter begins with Hermione recovering from turning into a cat while doing homework. Harry is determined to figure out how a diary he found works. Tom Riddle (the phantom diary owner from the past) is determined to tell his story through magicking the diary. Everyone is determined to solve the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets, while attempting to keep the status quo alive.

 

And as I am crunched for time this week due to the sheer amount of assignments due all I am going to say to all of you law school students out there:

STAY DETERMINED.

If there’s one thing I struggle with and constantly have to remind myself is to stay determined. And you should too.

until next time,

Mischief Managed

 

The Polyjuice Potion (CoS 12)

In the last blog post I wrote a little about how I am learning that I am not just a creative, but that the logic side of life (math and science) are also things that I enjoy. I’ve actually learned a lot about myself since coming to law school. Being away from the home I had for 25 years, not working to the extent I use to and being immersed in the new academic world can revel a lot about who you are and/or were. Growth is inevitable in life, but what’s more important is being able to see who you are now so you can one day see clearly who you were…

Chapter 12 beings with a trip to Dumbledore’s office. Harry is escorted to the Headmaster’s office at the end of chapter 11 after being found at the scene of the crime where another petrified student has been found. In Dumbledore’s office Harry asks the Sorting Hat if he was placed correctly, hearing only that Harry still would’ve been good in Slytherin. He then turns his attention to a bird int he corner that looks like a “half plucked turkey.” The bird soon catches on fire and turns to ashes. Harry freaks out a little as Dumbledore comes into the office. Dumbledore explains how Fawkes is a phoenix, a bird that burns and rebirths from its ashes. he talks about how these birds can carry heavy objects, have healing tears and make wonderful loyal pets (all foreshadowing for later). Hagrid barges in and tries to prove Harry innocent for the petrified student. Dumbledore says he already knows Harry is innocent but asks Harry if he would like to tell Dumbledore anything in regards to the school happenings. Ashamed of the voices in his head, Harry says no. Later in the chapter, the Golden Trio uses the Polyjuice potion and head out to get info from Draco, who proves to not have too much new information about the Heir of Slytherin, other than the fact that he is not the heir.

tumblr_o5e5a1lhr71vp2995o1_500To me the most interesting part of this chapter is the small paragraph about Fawkes the Phoenix. Phoenixes are mythical creatures that show resilience. They are constantly shedding their bodies and emerging from their ashes to be new creatures (on days referred to as Burning Days). Yet their abilities to heal, carry heavy loads and remain loyal all stay intact. Coming to law school felt like a Burning Day of sorts. It was a time of rebirth. I left almost everything behind in Nevada to move to Colorado. Left my career to go back to school and felt like I was becoming a new person. The only thing is, I didn’t really leave everything behind.

Going through the first semester of school showed me that maybe I didn’t really understand myself back home in Nevada. I thought I knew myself pretty well, but in all actuality I was more acquainted with who I thought I should be, rather than myself. I thought I was strictly a creative. I played instruments, wrote a novel, painted for fun at times, put together elaborate bulletin boards at school and took pictures on a fancy camera for fun. I did anything I could to prove to myself that I was a creative person… and only a creative person. I told myself that the reason science and math were hard was because I wasn’t meant to be a science and math person but a creative person.

I loved to tell myself these little lies instead of facing that maybe I was trying to be something I wasn’t. When I got to Colorado I tried doing the same thing here too, except this time was with hiking. I’m not a huge outdoors person, I’m a let’s make a good meal, read a book, take a nap, watch tv stay indoors person. Yet, there’s this idea that when you live in CO you are an outdoors person, so that’s what I told myself I was because I moved here. What a tiring lie to try to tell yourself. Then it came to law school… here I told myself that I was meant to be the best, meant to be a leader and nothing less… haha… when the stress of trying to show that I was super smart and the best became too heavy to carry I started to feel burnt out and as if I was a fraud. I found myself asking the question: “was I right to be here?” (much like Harry asking the Sorting hat if he had been placed correctly).

This past week though was like having another Burning Day, another chance to start over and stop lying to myself. The most important thing I have learned at law school is that you don’t have to have a plan. You don’t have to tell yourself who you are going to be or how things are going to work out. You also don’t have to follow a certain path or be a certain person. You can be you, and unapologetically you. If you don’t know who that is, law school will start to show you who you are piece by piece. To be in law school you definitely have to be resilient though. You have to be able to make it through a “Burning Day” and rise from the ashes, maintaining certain abilities and traits that make you magnificent.

tumblr_mbp0t0g9fz1qmymtwo1_500The moral of the story: find out who you are and let yourself change organically. Don’t force yourself to change, don’t force yourself to be something you aren’t meant to be. Allow yourself to change when the time is right. Watch the slow progress happen and enjoy the ride. Law school will try to force you to change your being quickly, but hold onto what you believe in your soul… you’ll thank yourself for it later.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed.

 

The Dueling Club (CoS 11)

Man things have been crazy here at Wizarding headquarters (aka law school). In the past two weeks we have had Water Review write-ons, classes, student org elections, and so much more! It’s been busy, busy, busy, but here we are again with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

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This time around Harry, Ron and Hermione have decided to go full throttle with creating the Polyjuice Potion that will allow them to get secret information from Draco Malfoy about the killings of mudbloods at Hogwarts. They create a distraction to steal their final ingredients from Snape’s supply closet and get the potion going. A few days later a new club is announced at Hogwarts, The Dueling Club, ran by Professor Lockhart. As the students pair off  and start dueling Draco sends a snake onto the platform. Harry trying to yell at the snake to not attack another student speaks in another language (unbeknownst to him), Parseltounge. He soon learns of this new ability from Hermione and Ron. They tell Harry how bad it is to be a Parselmouth because it is known to be a dark magic, associated with the Heir of Slytherin. People start to treat harry different and he overhears them talking about him. Not knowing why he has this ability, or much about it he gets angry and storms off, stumbling upon another student (the one he tried to save from the snake) petrified in the hallway…

This chapter’s theme is being different.

Sometimes being different has its perks. If everyone was the same class and life would be very boring. Yet, being different can also have a big downfall too. People are wired to not like what they do not understand. For Harry, being a Parselmouth was an unthinkable and horrific trait for him to have, at least that’s what the outside world told him. When he overheard the Hufflepuffs calling him the Heir of Slytherin and talking about how he could be an even more powerful Dark Wizard than Voldemort, Harry sort of snapped.

images-3Being different in a high stakes game is difficult. Trying to express your opinions becomes difficult. Trying to explain how you want to do something non-traditional in a society composed of nothing but traditions becomes intimidating. Being different is frowned upon at times in law school. (And I too have taken part in this looking down upon people for their never-ending curiosity… it’s hard not to look at people who are very different from you and judge them slightly). The thing is, law school and the law world could use a few more creative people, a few more people willing to be non-traditional, and a few more people to challenge the status quo. The problem is that we don’t allow for creativity to always flourish in our studying because we see others putting in a certain type of effort and we feel the need to keep up.

Law school isn’t built for creative people. Law school is sometimes marketed as a place for everyone, and sure creative thinking is encouraged, but it’s not really given a place to grow. Creative people tend to move a little slower, mulling over ideas, drawing them out, structuring them in ways that don’t make sense to the logical eye at first… but law school is about deadlines, structure, and logic.

images-4I’m personally a hybrid, stuck between two worlds the logic and the creative. I love to be creative, to create new things, new structures, new worlds and stories… yet on the other hand I love to work inside structures and deadlines. I grew up thinking I was not good at math or science, yet I loved the ideas of science (astronomy, chemistry,geology) … now being in law school I am starting to learn that I just might have been more inclined to the logic side of the world than the creative side…and that’s the beauty of the world, both logic and creativity can co-exist in one place, person, or subject matter. The key is to bring them together, and for those of us who are “different” from the model law school student, need to reconcile these worlds with one another. Let’s make law school creative again.

Create new ways to tackle the law. Look for innovative ways to bring the law and society together. Let’s find creative solutions to today’s problems. Let’s find creative ways to break down barriers in politics, law, and social problems. All it takes is people not conforming to traditions for the mere reason that they simply exist and have always existed. Sure, in Harry’s case being a Parselmouth was known to be a ‘dark art’ but at the end of the day, the end of the series, Harry is a hero, not a dark wizard. Dare to be different. Dare to change the stereotypes. Dare to be creative in a non-creative world. Dare to be different and never let society change you.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed