The Sorting Hat (SS7)

IMG_0954.JPGI’m currently writing this with the view of a lake and the buzzing of a small town in Colorado that is gearing up for a “Race to Cure all Cancer.” Law school can be stressful (are we surprised? haha not at all), so every now and then you’ve got to make time to get away and reset. This weekend, my roomie and I did just that. We took off for the mountains to just take a moment to get away from it all and decompress. It’s 49 degrees, a crisp fall morning, and perfect.

I’ve written a lot about finding your tribe at school, looking for the Hagrids, not losing hope or yourself in the law school process and feeling capable so far in law school. Today’s post might seem a little different because it’s not about how to do well in law school or what crazy things have happened to us this far, it’s going to deal with more about what to do with yourself and your past. My last post was about how we should all just be ourselves and not hide who we are and this post is more of the next step.

Here’s our recap of chapter 7:

Harry has made it to Hogwarts and through the doors to be greeted by Professor McGonagall. He suddenly feels anxious finding out that they would soon be sorted into their respective houses before joining the other students in the Welcome Feast. Harry thinks that he won’t be sorted into any of the houses, and then wonders what the school will do with him then. They walk in and a tattered old hat is placed on a stool in front of them, leaving Harry to think of what Aunt Petunia would say about it. As students are sorted, the gut feeling he won’t be placed in house starts to grow. He has flashbacks to never being picked for a team in school thanks to everyone’s fear of Dudley. When it’s his turn, he listens to the hat mull over his qualities and Harry thinks “Not Slytherin” and is soon placed into Gryffindor. After all the students are sorted, the feast begins, and harry sees more food then he ever has in his entire life. His new life truly begins, and what a good life it is.

Our theme, you ask? Reconciling the past with the present.

The main reason for my roomie and I heading to the mountains this weekend was to be able to take a break from the present and reflect on how things have been going the past few weeks. When you sit down to do that, you start to see how the past translates into the present. Whether its relationships that aren’t working out, stressing over school for no reason, or the feeling that you are on a perpetual cycle of trying to make things happen and never being able to do it. I’ve heard a lot in classes too, people who say things like, “this used to work for me in undergrad, but not now”, “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong”, “I can’t do anything I used to because those things don’t fit into my current life”.

We spend a lot of time trying to reconcile the past with our present. Harry spent thoughts on his past in conjunction with his present. Then the present always showed that things were slightly different. He was hungry and suddenly fed, instead of being left wondering if he would eat. He saw an ugly hat and people celebrated it instead of throwing it out. He felt like no one would want him in their house, and he was welcomed with a more than warm response froths now fellow Gryffindors. What if Harry had cowarded away in fear of all these things? What if he had let his anxiety get the best of him? Harry was given a choice to let the past dictate his present, or to acknowledge the past and move forward with his present.

This weekend has pointed out a lot of parts of my past that I still let dictate my present. It pointed out the parts of my life that need some change and what parts of my past that need to have their power revoked. It’s important to not let law school push you to the limits where you can’t take time to reflect about your life a little. It’s important to do self-reflection, to remember who you are and how you are reconciling your past to your present. We are on a journey of change, and self-discovery. Without taking time to relax and figure out what you really want in this life, you will lose yourself in legal terms and cases… until you find yourself stressed out 5 years later in a huge firm doing work you hate. Make sure to do a self audit every now and then, and when you do, you’ll see that the empty plate in front of you is magically filled with food all of a sudden and the possibilities are endless.

With that said I leave you with the Hogwarts School Song:

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Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

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The Journey From Platform Nine and Three-Quarters (SS 6)

Another Sunday, means another week of law school under our belts.Things finally seem to be moving along at a decent pace and might even be picking up some speed!

This week’s chapter was a bit long, but so good like always. We find Harry back at the Dursely’s house, counting down the days until he goes off to Hogwarts. When the day comes Vernon and Petunia drive him to King’s Cross Station and mock him, leaving him there without a clue where Platform 9 3/4 is and how to even figure it out. Then Harry meets the red-head clan: the Weasleys. Mrs. Weasley (a beloved mother figure) helps Harry out. Once on the train, Harry begins to make friends. He sits with Ron Weasely, and shares a ton of chocolate frogs and Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans with him (which he bought off “the trolley dear”, when he bought the entire lot). The two talk and start to get to know each other. We meet other pivotal characters like Neville Longbottom, Hermione Granger and once again Draco Malfoy. Then the most magical moment occurs: they get in boats and see Hogwarts for the first time.

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This week’s theme is all about: the journey.

We’ve been in law school for 5 weeks now and most of it has been much like Harry trying to figure out how to get to Platform 9 3/4. No one has really given us direction. We are starting to get a little worried that we’ve been tricked into believing in this whole place. Yet, we find our Weasleys (a mixture of 1L, 2L, 3L students, and professional mentors) and we finally make it onto the platform where everything starts to feel new and exciting again. The ball is no longer hidden, classes are starting to make sense, clubs and organizations are picking up and it feels like the train is starting to head in the right direction.

I have met so many interesting and unique characters on this train ride so far. This week alone I met a fellow Las Vegan who told me his story thus far and can I just say wow! I’ve written about making friends and finding your tribe in a previous post and nothing has really changed there, the tribe is the tribe, but what’s interesting to me is how odd making new friends can really be. With Harry and Ron on the train, Harry can tell Ron is ashamed of his family’s financial situation. It troubles Harry because he’s never had money and doesn’t feel like anyone should try to hide who they are. Making friends in law school, on this train ride, is very similar. The more I talk with people and get to know them, the more I realize how many people try to hide their quirks, downfalls, hardships and struggles, myself included.

We take that shame, we internalize it and then we turn around and make judgment calls about others. Ron makes an offhanded comment about Neville’s need to lose his toad because like Hagrid said to Harry in Diagon Alley, toads are not in style as a pet any longer. Another fine example of internalizing the shame of where one comes from can be seen in Hermione. Though we don’t know much about Hermione at this point, I think one can argue that because she feels a bit behind everyone else (coming from a muggle family) who has grown up with magic, she hides her shame or anxiety in knowledge. Hermione subtly brags about all the extra light reading she picked up to prepare for the school year. Yes, she is just a brilliant person in general, but part of me truly believes all her studying comes from more than just a drive to be smart.

Hiding who we are is sometimes a strategic move. Sometimes it’s necessary to move forward and start over, but it eventually does catch up with you. It may leave you feeling like an imposter, it may leave you feeling like you can’t do it, it may leave you feeling tired and burnt out. The thing is, it’s easier to just be who you are, up front. It’s part of the journey and in doing so, as we get closer to the castle, the ah-ha moment of the semester where it all really does click will mean so much more to each and every one of us.

So enjoy the journey, be you, make friends, stop feeling ashamed of who you are and where you’ve been and keep your eyes open for the Hogwarts moment of the semester… it’s coming.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

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Diagon Alley (SS 5)

Another week down… Can I just say that this week left me feeling exhausted and in need of affirmation from friends that could in fact make it through this semester? What a week!

This week’s HP chapter takes us into the actual Wizarding World, where Hagrid takes Harry to Diagon Alley to buy his school books. First we see the Leaky Caludron and meet Professor Quirrel, the latest Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Then they travel to Gringotts, where Hagrid has official Hogwarts business to attend to, but also to get Harry money out of his vault (damn did his parents have a lot of monies!). We meet a Griphook, the goblin that becomes significant in later books, travel under the city to the vaults and back out again. Feeling sick from the ride in Gringotts, Hagrid leaves harry on his own to get his school robes and unbeknownst to him, and new readers, we meet Draco Malfoy (my fav character). Harry spends the rest of the chapter hearing about a world that knows all about him, but he knows nothing about. He goes to Ollivanders to get his wand, and we find out that the wand that chooses him, also had the same core as the one who gave him his scar. By the end of the chapter Harry is left feeling overwhelmed and filled with questions…

Much like all us 1L students… and we are a month in.

Which brings us to this week’s theme: Learning new things about life and yourself can leave you feeling overwhelmed and overrated. 

Like I said at the beginning of this post, this week has been hard and for a lot of people I’ve talked to this week, they’ve been feeling the same. You would think a month in we would have figured all of this out by now, that’s not the case at all. On Friday I attended a lunch talk (for career and development opportunity credits). Walking in I was like, “adjusting to your 1L year”… lol haven’t we already done this by now? I sat down ( a little overwhelmed from class earlier) and listened to 3L students tell us the do’s and don’ts of our 1L year. Sitting in their awesomeness was difficult. They rattled off partial resumes and then gave advice and all I could think was… “damn, i know nothing”.

Earlier that day, in a class that I thought I was understanding a little (no where near complete understanding) the teacher crushed all feelings of hope. It was like being told I would never be good at this class, and in turn would fail…made for a difficult day. The week was long, the homework tiring and the classes hard…I left school Friday wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into and even more feeling like a fraud.

Then sitting down to read this chapter I found Hagrid’s advice to Harry leaving me in tears. Harry left Diagon Alley feeling like a fraud, feeling overrated and overwhelmed by all the attention people were giving him without him knowing anything about why he was famous or the magical world at all. And Hagrid said this:

Don’ you worry, Harry. You’ll learn fast enough. Everyone starts at the beginning at Hogwarts, you’ll be just fine. Just be yourself. I know it’s hard. Yeh’ve been singled out, an’ that’s always hard. But yeh’ll have a great time at Hogwarts- I did- still do, ‘smatter of fact.

I don’t want this post to sound like I’m all emotional and sad, it’s not like that at all. I thoroughly enjoy law school, it’s just overwhelming at times, and in those overwhelming moments it’s hard to remember the bigger picture. Then you talk to people (one on one, not lecture discussions of people telling you what they did) and you go dancing, and you laugh over drinks, and then you hit the books again because you don’t just give up.

So if you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, overrated or feel like giving up, know you are not alone. As 1L students we are all starting at the beginning, and as long as we stick together, be ourselves and keep on trying, we are going to make it through. We are all smart, we are all meant to be here and we will all survive… don’t believe me? Well just know Hagrid believes in you:

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Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

The Keeper of the Keys (SS4)

Here it is the second blog… your very special Labor Day treat from me to you!! 🙂

So before I get into what this chapter is about and my interpretation of it I want to first say how much I love the title of this chapter. There are so many reasons to love it! I mean we get re-introduced to one of the best characters of the series, Hagrid, who is the keeper of not only literal keys but so many key moments of the series. Yet, most importantly I love this chapter title, because I have nicknamed one of my favorite people in the Student Affairs office, the Keeper of the Coffee! If you go to DU and indulge in the free coffee in this office, you’ve met Amanda and know just how amazing she is!

Anyways, side note over, we jump into this chapter. Here we pick up at the last chapter, where the Dursleys and Harry are on this really spooky island, trying to outrun the letters that won’t stop coming to Harry. It’s the middle of the night, Harry is counting down the minutes until 12AM and his birthday. There is a huge BANG on the door and everyone panics a bit. Another THUD, and then the door falls over, revealing a giant man standing right outside. We come to learn that this is Hagrid, the man we met in the first chapter of the book. He has come to make sure Harry actually gets his letter (which he knows the Durselys have not been giving them to Harry) and to take Harry to buy his books and supplies for school. Harry finally gets to read the letter stating that he has been accepted to Hogwarts.  Hagrid is surprised to find out that Harry’s past has been hidden from him, and that harry has been lied to about who Harry is exactly. There are arguments, threats and pigtail spells casted, and in the end, Harry leaves with Hagrid, to start his wizarding life.

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There are so many themes that can emerge from this chapter, however that one we are going to analyze is: coming face to face with reality.

Each set of characters in this chapter come face to face with some sort of reality and each deals with it differently.

Hagrid comes face to face with the fact that Harry knows nothing about his parents, Hogwarts or what a wizard even is. He reacts with anger and gentleness. Hagrid takes the time to explain to Harry the basics of his past, while berating Vernon and Petunia for keeping it wrapped in lies and secrecy. Hagrid is shocked, but it doesn’t keep him from moving forward.

The Durselys come to face with the reality that they have no control. Vernon fears the wizarding world, and is now standing in the presence of Hagrid (who isn’t supposed to use magic at all, but Vernon doesn’t know that. Vernon has spent years trying to control the narrative for so many years, and now, the narrative has been pulled out of his hands. Petunia faces her past, the past she’s been trying to hide for over a decade, realizing that she cannot manipulate her life story as much as she thought she could. They both react with disgust and anger mixed with fear. They are frozen not only in their world views but also literally in their stances.

Then there’s little Harry Potter. This kid comes to face the reality that he is way more special than he has been led to believe. I would like to believe that most kids who have lived a pretty crappy life would react with more enthusiasm when finding out their a wizard. However, more realistically Harry’s reaction is spot on to how a kid would react in these circumstances. For so long he has been told he’s weird, his thoughts are dangerous, that he doesn’t fit in, that there’s nothing special about him, and so it’s not unbelievable that at this moment he says “I think you must have made a mistake. I don’t think I can be a wizard”. He is in a state of utter shock and disbelief that he can have a life better than the one he is currently living.

While this doesn’t directly tie into our lives as 1L students, I do believe it ties in to most or at least a few of our reasons for going to law school. Most people I’ve come into contact with feel they have a purpose, that they aren’t being told ” _________, your a law student” (even though at times it feels like this) and are uncertain they can do it. I do believe this time will come and go numerous times over the next three years, but I want to relate it more to why we came to practice law.

This week I had the chance to go to a Juvenile Detention Center and take a tour. We faced a reality kind of grim seeing children in handcuffs. Leaving that tour I felt torn. I understood the purpose of a place like this and the function, but I also wanted to help these kids. You see most people go to law school not because they want to be rich, but because they want to change the world for someone.

We want to be the Hagrids of the world, the Keeper of the Keys, the keys that help unlock doors for the Harry Potters. We have a desire to help people feel like their lives matter, like they can be something more and that they are something special. We want everyone to have equal lives, equal rights and equal opportunities. My only hope is that those of us who want to be the Hagrids of society, never lose that desire.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed.you-amp-039-re-a-wizard-harry-o-o_o_1266375

The Letters From No One (SS3)

Hey all you Wizards and Muggles! It’s Sunday which means it’s my new favorite day of the week, thanks to this blog! Today is a very special day for two reasons! The first… you are going to get this post and then later today… you’ll get a second chapter (thank you labor day weekend for the extra time!). The other reason is because the chapter we are covering today is where one of my favorite HP memes comes from!! And because we post on Sundays, this meme is near and dear to my heart:
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That’s right, this week’s chapter The Letters From No One is where mysterious envelopes start showing up at number 4 Privet Drive with Harry Potter’s name on them. We start the chapter with Harry and Dudley living out the remaining days of summer. Harry is still pretty much in trouble for the happenings of the last chapter, and Dudley is giving him hell with this new favorite sport: “Harry Hunting”. As school approaches we see the vast difference in how the boys are viewed once more: Dudley is heading off to a fancy private school with beautiful uniforms while Aunt Petunia is dying a whole bunch of over-sized clothes grey for Harry’s school year (is he going to jail for school?). Fast forward to breakfast one morning, the post arrives and what do we find? The first letter to Harry. Now this sends panic into the Dursley parents who like we’ve said before, know Harry is a wizard.

Aunt Petunia looks it curiously and read the first line. For a moment it looked as though she might faint. She clutched her throat and made a choking noise.

They panic thinking they are being watched and will be punished for keeping Harry in the cupboard, so they move him upstairs to Dudley’s toy room. They don’t let Harry read the letter and throughout the rest of the chapter they go through great lengths to keep Harry from receiving the letters that just don’t seem to stop coming (if you’ve seen the movie you know what I’m talking about). Vernon decides to hit the road, and when the letters are then still being delivered by the hundreds to their hotel room, he decides to hide the family in a shanty on a scary island out in the middle of the sea.

So what theme do we pick out of this chapter? That’s simple: you can’t hide from destiny.

We see Vernon and Petunia working really hard to keep up their idea of perfect normalcy. They enroll the kids in school, get their uniforms, and work hard to keep the fact that Harry is a wizard secret from him and the world. Yet, the first letter comes shattering the wall they’ve built between them and the Wizarding World.  When they don’t give it to Harry to read, when they try to hide it from him, the letters keep come. That’s the funny thing about destiny, it always has a way of finding you.

Here in the world of law school it sometimes feels like destiny is this far off mythical concept. We just completed our third week of school: our brains are tired, we are trying to plan for our futures and it feels like the hamster wheel of reading, going to class, studying and joining student organizations is speeding up. We are working hard to try and keep up with classmates because their amounts of studying and reading in the library day in and day out looks like the picture of normal law school we built in our minds before coming here. We join clubs and attend meetings adding more and more to our busy schedules because we want to keep up with everyone around us. Eventually, we will hit the moment of panic in which the Dursley parents found themselves.

You see, our plans never trump destiny. What is destiny? It’s the simple notion of the universe having a predisposed plan for you. In Harry’s case, it was being Voldemort’s enemy and having to save the Wizarding World. What kind of world would have unraveled if Harry never knew he was a wizard? How different would both the Muggle world and the Wizarding world be with Voldemort running rampant?

For most of us 1L students, it won’t be that dramatic, but our destinies will be simply the paths our careers take. Some of us are destined to take high powered jobs and change the world, others will take seemingly less important jobs that will also change the world, and some of us won’t want to change the world.  Now, I’m not saying we’ve got to not push ourselves and work really hard, but I am saying that sometimes our search for perfection, our push to always be better than the day before, our search for normalcy through comparing ourselves constantly to others and trying to keep up with them will drive us mad.

Destiny will always find us and if you meet it with open arms, following your gut instinct down its path, you will do great things in your life. It may not look like we want it to, just think of the differences in the lives of Harry and Dudley (poor, scrawny, seemingly unloved child vs. robust, bratty, overly cherished child), but each of our destinies is simply that, our own.

So really all of this is to say, if you are feeling like you have to keep up with the other 1L students around you, and it’s stressing you out, you have no time for fun or relaxing, take a step back and remember, their destiny (life path) is not your destiny, so stop chasing their path and get back on your own.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed!85d69d852a0b53ffd20c53200b3dc9d2540d9f10b60435930b841a7c9b1f40fc