The Worst Birthday (CoS 1)

15037358_10154083719496538_8890789124630671730_nWell, there hasn’t been school in like a week and how odd that is for me at least. Thanksgiving break brought about a chance to relax and to enjoy our family and friends. Well… at least for some… a lot of people spent their breaks preparing for next week.

Before we get into what that looks like we first need to recap our first chapter of the second Harry Potter book! (Disclaimer: we are going to speed through this book… it’s my least favorite… so there will be two chapters a week until the end of it!)

Recap: We return to Number Four Privet Drive with Harry and the Dursleys. Harry is spending the summer back with his aunt and uncle, forced to keep all of his magical stuff to himself and locked away. Uncle Vernon is getting ready to have guests over for a big dinner and for some business talk. Everyone is preparing, rehearsing their lines, going over their moves and how they will greet, flatter and usher their guests around their home. And of course, Harry is to be hidden upstairs acting as if he doesn’t exist… on his birthday, of course.

Theme: As tribute to both Uncle Vernon and Final Exams starting this next week, this week’s theme is preparation!

In this chapter there are a few different types of preparation presented. You have The Uncle Vernon, The Dudley, The Aunt Petunia and The Harry Potter. The best part is they all relate to the different types of studiers I’ve seen this past week.557245bb7b0d0457bf20a7884eef4409

The Uncle Vernon: This type of studier is someone who plans every moment up to the exam. They study all the time in the days before the exam. They are independent, crafting their own study methods and advise others how to also create their own study plans. They make sure they take every past exam, work in study groups and then even harder when alone, have a meticulous outline full of all the info, and are at the school everyday studying (unless it’s a holiday then they study at home). These are the driven ones, the students who are going to stress out until they know for certain they are going to win big! They are devoted to their goals and want everything to fall into place, and will work till it does.

The Dudley: This type of studier is someone who lives under the motto: “I get by with a little help from my friends.” These are your charmers, your study group kings and queens, the people who are challenging others to help them learn. They are the smart cookies who work smarter, not harder. They work in groups to round themselves out and study with whoever they can find. They are devoted to helping others and themselves. The perfect mixture of charisma and devotion.

3dc3359c87bdd62aa4b6e6943b9633beThe Aunt Petunia: This type of studier is someone who sticks to the advice they were given by others who have gone before them. They keep to a laid out plan, following a strict plan of attack. They are quiet about their plans, about their outlines, and about what they do or do not know about the exam. They keep to themselves studying just the right way.


The Harry Potter:
This type of studier is someone who barely studies at all. They keep to themselves, hide away in a world of procrastination, have no part in the plans of others and tend to barely study. It doesn’t mean that they are slackers by any means. They just tend to stay hidden away until it’s time for the big test, working on not stressing.

Now you can be a mixture of these different study/ test-prepping types or just one, but either way it’s time to get our butts in gear and start getting ready for those first semester final exams!

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

 

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The Man with Two Faces (SS17)

 

 

a9a8641a1010bba71601d4b79c5f69ab39924787f204b2e35a6efbe85aca3884Chapter recap: Harry emerges into the room where the stone is hidden to find Professor Quirrell and NOT Snape as he thought. Dun Dun Dun… Voldemort is attached to Quarrel’s head.. he’s trying to get the stone from the Mirror of Erised… Alas Harry gets it, Quirrell tries to tough Harry, Quirrell’s skin starts to burn and blister… Harry passes out and wakes up int he hospital wing to Dumbledore sitting at his side. Dumbledore explains a whole bunch of things to Harry, they have the end of the year feast… Dumbledore awards Gryffindor more points and they defeat Slytherin for the house cup and everyone goes home… END OF THE FIRST BOOK!

Theme: Unveiling the Truth

28995f02e461564e9897a1f6fb183af2So, as the last chapter blog states… I’ve learned a lot about what tests are coming for me in the future. Here’s what I’ve learned, with a little backstory to start:

Before coming to law school I worked as a Store Manager for Starbucks for about 2 years. It was one of the hardest things I ever did. I was always stressed and felt frustrated and angry. I never wanted to go to work, felt anxious and out of place all the time. Then I quit and went to law school. For a while I was bitter and felt like a huge failure since it seemed that every other manager I knew could keep their composure and liked their job. In law school my panic attacks became fewer for a while, and I started to feel relaxed and confident (somewhat) again. Yet, the fear of failure, the fear of not being able to actually keep up with everyone else still haunted me (and well still haunts me). I’ve been known as a person who skips from one project to the next, from one day dream to the next, and from one aspiration to the next. When things get tough, I tend to make an exit plan so I don’t have to face failure. I always feel less competent than my peers, and have very low self-esteem. Law school has not let me escape that just yet, instead it’s made me face a lot of the issues I’ve been running from.

What are these issues? well here’s a list of them:

  • Fear of money
  • Fear of being selfish or arrogant
  • Fear of wanting a higher lifestyle than I grew up with
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of never having a family
  • Fear of doing the wrong thing
  • Fear of hurting people’s feelings
  • Fear of not amounting to anything

Haha, I’m not using this blog as a way to make people feel bad for me, instead it’s a way to hold myself accountable. These are all things I know I will be facing in the next few years because law school teaches you more than just the law.

“The truth.” Dumbledore sighed. “It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”

Law school has this funny way of making you think about life differently. Whether it’s talking about morals and values or discussing the repercussions and next steps after an election, law school helps you learn how you truly feel about the world. I’ve had professors who have changed how I want to approach food law a little differently. I’ve had professors who have literally made me not want to practice certain parts of law. I’ve attended lunch talks that were inspiring. 4452db315567cf9d2bd65417646ac0c9I’ve joined organizations that combine my favorite things about both the law and community. I’ve learned a lot about interacting with people through my peers. I’ve learned that things are not always what they seem and people are ever-changing before your eyes. I’ve learned that I need to change my views on money and how I interact with it. But most importantly I’ve learned that I have to give myself a break and stop acting like every hang-up in the world is the biggest failure of my life.
They say the first year of law school is the hardest, and they don’t lie. What they don’t tell you though is that the first year of law school tests you in more areas of your life than just the law parts. I’m excited to see what happens next, and I’m even happier to report that I’ve returned to Starbucks part-time, no longer bitter or ashamed of my time as a store manager. 1f704d48cee34df2e0a63b597819f17dFacing the truth, facing yourself and facing your fears are all part of life… and for me, it took removing myself from the world I knew, entering into the world of law to find out that things aren’t as bad as they seem… even if at times I still make a big deal out of nothing.
And don’t despair… just because this book is over doesn’t mean we don’t have more to go! This Sunday we move onto Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets!!

 

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

Through The Trapdoor (SS16)

Well, the end of the semester and the end of this Harry Potter book are happening at the same time!!

ad57fc19970727becfe180d540bde536Today marked the final day of classes and papers due! Now if only final exams were cancelled too… but alas starting next week we have three weeks (one final a week) of exams!! If only we were at Hogwarts…well at least not in Harry’s first year…

Because picking up where we left off Harry, Hermione and Ron are taking final exams! As they stress through exams and studying and more exams, the thought of the sorcerer’s stone still lingers in their minds. The Golden Trio works to figure out the missing pieces. Once they find out that Snape (who they think is the person trying to steal the stone) knows how to get past Fluffy, they try to tell Dumbledore. Unable to get to him, they rush off to try and keep Snape from the stone.  They end up having to solve logic puzzles and other various tests used to defend the stone. Ron uses his chess skills, Harry uses his quidditch skills and Hermione uses her logic powers to get Harry into the room where the stone is hidden. Each one of them uses their own skills to pass the tests made by their very own professors.

All this talk about tests and exams brings us to this week’s theme (which seems redundant by now): tests.

44b5e585b7471bf36328359f07242379This semester has been full of tests… while not physical exams for most of us, we were tested in a variety of ways.  We had personal tests: making new friends, learning new places, figuring out how to balance school, the bar and life, and figuring out how much fun we could have. We had scholarly tests: creating new study habits, figuring out how many things to write down that each teacher said, learning how to brief cases, and write legal memos or letters. We had social tests: learning what professional wear meant, how to act professionally and how to network. There were so many new things to learn and we aren’t done yet.

But reflecting on everything we’ve learned I think that the one thing I’ve learned the most is that I have a lot growing left to do emotionally, mentally, professionally and socially. How so?? Check out the next chapter’s (the last chapter of the book) blog. 

The Forbidden Forest (SS15)

…and the further we travel into that dark, dark forest where the light slowly gets snuffed out we start to be consumed with more fear and anger and darkness.

In this chapter of Harry Potter, Hermione and Harry have been brought to Prof. McGonagall and Neville has also been found out of bed. All of them lose 50 points for Gryffindor, are lectured by Prof. McG, and sent to bed. Everyone is disappointed in Harry the next week or so for him losing enough House Points to put Slytherin in the lead for the House Cup. He is vilified and treated poorly for his actions. On top of that he also still has to go to detention which is with Hagrid traveling into the Forbidden forest to find injured unicorns. In the forest he encounters a cloaked figure that is killing the unicorns and drinking their blood. A centaur, against the ways of its kind, saves Harry from he figure and lets him ride on its back to safety, telling Harry about the severity of killing innocent creatures and warning him about the dangers to come.

You have slain something [unicorns] pure and defenseless to save yourself, and you will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips.

There’s a lot that happens in the Forbidden Forest. Right now in our world it feels scary, like we are heading into the dark Forbidden Forest uncertain of what we are facing inside. We know that innocence is being killed and we just can’t seem to  wrap our minds around why. There are some creatures in the forest that seem to not care. They seem to just want to let the cards fall where they may and let fate unfold. They anger us. They make us uncomfortable. They unnerve us to the point where we want to lash out at them. Then there are those who show compassion. Those who make us believe we can still change the fate of our world, that we can keep the cards from falling into the wrong places.

The key is to keep looking for those little sparks of light. Those people who are still clinging to hope and fighting through the despair. We need to hold onto the idea that nothing is written in stone, there is nothing that we can’t change. We need to make sure we are working to protect the innocent and creating a better world.

If today you are still feeling scared, you have every right to feel that way, but know you don’t have to live in fear because there are millions of people who will fight for you. If you are feeling unimportant or disposable, know that there are millions of people who will fight for you. Turn around and head out of that dark dark forest, look for the light and keep walking towards it. You are not alone, no matter how much it may feel that way at this moment.

Harry found help in the darkness, and you can too. Don’t let the fear, anger or sadness keep you from fighting. Our future as a nation is not set in stone. “The planets have been read wrongly, before now, even by centaurs. I hope this is one of those times.” (Firenze)

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Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

Norbert The Norwegian Ridgeback (SS 14)

Grieving, mourning, handling loss… the past week has been a week where I have seen so many people (including myself) handle devastation and heartbreak in a variety of ways. Reading for this week’s post was interesting. I sat down thinking that maybe I would try to read two chapters to help us push through the remaining 4 chapters of the first HP book and start the next one. I didn’t think I could produce two blog posts on the news of the week and law school, but alas, I was wrong. So this is post one for today, and chapter 15 will also be posted. I am not looking to argue either side, I am not going to write about what is right and what is wrong. I am not looking for people to get nasty and try and tell me I am wrong or right. I am simply working out my thoughts about this past week for the first time in writing, and I am asking that people are polite and understanding. If you can’t be those things, then please stop reading.

Recap: We find the golden trio starting to study (or at least Hermione pushing a study agenda on the other two) for upcoming exams. They see Hagrid suspiciously int he library getting books about dragons and decide to find out what is going on. They discover Hagrid has a dragon egg that he got in a nearby town from a stranger. When the egg is hatching Hagrid sends notice to the three and Draco Malfoy catches wind of what is happening. The three go to meet the hatchling and are followed by Draco who finds out about the dragon. Hagrid soon realizes that keeping a dragon, which is growing quickly, in a wooden hut isn’t the best idea. Ron and Harry make arrangements to have Norbert (the dragon) transported to Romania where Charlie, Ron’s brother, can take care of it. Upon taking it to the meeting place for pick up by Charlie’s friends and successfully getting Norbert securely into their custody, Harry and Hermione are caught by Filtch.

This week’s theme: Dealing with Grief.

Unless you’ve lived under a rock this past week you know that in the US the presidential election has caused a lot of turmoil. There are a lot of hurting people. There is a lot of fear and hate being spread around a broken country widening the divide of ideals. When I sat down to read this chapter, hoping to find something meaningful to say, something uplifting, all I could do was fixate on the heartbreak of having to let go of something you so dearly wanted. A lot of people who were rooting for Hillary Clinton to be not only the President of the US but also the first woman President of the US, and as the results rolled in this past Tuesday night,  a lot of people were left hurting.

Hagrid always dreamed of getting a dragon and when he finally got the chance to have one, there were many factors outside of his control that forced him to give up on that dream. It wasn’t an easy choice to make, for a while he tried really hard to keep holding on, to keep Norbert and not have to let him go… and then he was faced with the reality that he had to let him go, he didn’t have another option.

The grieving process isn’t easy. Hillary supporters put their faith in her platform. We worked hard to get people to vote for her. We believed in her message. We truly felt like she was qualified (with some minor hiccups…which are typical of anyone to have) for the job. We didn’t want to believe that Trump’s statements would be condoned by people. We truly believed that Hillary would be the next president and send a message to the people that anyone could be President of the US. We were inspired by her… and then Trump won the election. I went to bed knowing it was going to happen, and woke up terry eyed when it was true.

My grieving process was a call to action. Being sad and angry were not the steps I wanted to handle, so I didn’t. I made the decision to keep moving forward with my dream to make a difference in the world and not let this hold me back. The hardest part of grieving in your own way is realizing that everyone else is grieving in their own way too. For some people it’s attending protests. For some it’s trying to protect their families from maybe being deported. For some it’s arguing with people on Facebook. For some it’s smiling and trying to deny that anything is wrong. For some it’s crying and hugging and seeking support.

Whatever it is, to grieve is to heal. While we don’t know what the future will turn out to be exactly, right now we want to grieve our loss. There is nothing wrong with wanting to grieve, unless your grieving makes you sink low, so low you are down to the level of your opponent. Name calling, race blaming, and other insults are not going to help fix our problems going into the future, if anything it’s going to lead us further into darkness…

Nicolas Flamel (SS13)

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This week’s post is going to a bit of a personal one. It’s going to tackle the issue of mental health and law school through a single character of this week’s Harry Potter chapter and my own struggle with mental health issues. For the longest time I struggled to understand why I thought and acted the way I do. About 1.5 years ago I ended up going to a therapist and discovered that I suffer from GAD (General Anxiety Disorder). Now to a lot of people (my old self included) having GAD is kind of like a cop out for having a messed up brain. It sounds like it everyone has this disorder and that it’s just something therapists tell you to make you feel better about your messed up reactions and strange interactions with people. It sounds like it’s something they tell you to make you have something to blame when you are irrational or overwhelmed with stress. But I ensure you it’s more than that.

For example this week I had an anxiety attack at a huge event with tons of lawyers and opportunities to network all around. To most people I just looked angry or irrational and overwhelmed, but on the inside it was like there was a war raging. I wanted to walk into this crowded room, put onto brightest smile, talk to people, laugh with my friends and then do the volunteer job I was given, but I couldn’t. I stood there petrified, my chest was tight, the room felt small, my eyes felt watery, and my brain started to nit-pick everything. It actually started before we got to the place in general and that’s what usually happens. Panic sets in, then nit-picking begins, then the overwhelming shame of not being like everyone else enjoying this event sets in, and then it all becomes too much and then it’s time to withdraw from the crowd and obsess over how you screwed up.

Looking back on my life, I don’t know exactly where anxiety became a part of me, but it’s been that way for as long as I can remember. Last year it was getting better. I refuse to go on medication for it (not that I judge those who do take medication for it) and try to really tackle it with other methods like exercise and nutrition. It was working, I could start to see where I was being irrational or tame the obsession of over analyzing an attack afterwards but in law school it’s really hard always stay a few steps ahead of my anxiety because law school creates more anxiety with every assignment and class.

In this week’s chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone while Harry, Ron and Hermione search everywhere to figure out who Nicolas Flamel is and how they can keep harry Safe during the next quidditch match (where Snape, who they think is trying to steal the sorcerer’s stone which is hidden in the school, is refereeing) there is another character who is fighting his own battle. At the beginning of the chapter we find Neville Longbottom stumbling into the Gryffindor common room, his legs stuck together with a binding curse. Hermione undoes the curse and the golden trio starts telling neville how he should fix his bullying issue with Malfoy. Hermione tells him to tell McGonagall and Ron tells him that he needs to stand up for himself more. This of course overwhelms Neville who snaps back and tells them that he doesn’t want anymore trouble and he definitely doesn’t want to be told he isn’t brave enough to be in Gryffindor by not standing up for himself. Harry, the odd voice of reason here, reassures Neville that he is worth “12 of Malfoy” and is braver than he thinks. Later they head out to the quidditch match and while Harry is out playing, Draco starts with his bullying of Neville and this time Ron in the stands. There Neville repeats what Harry said about him being 12 of Malfoy and Ron cheers him on, thus ensuing a fight where the two boys attack Draco, Crabbe and Goyle.

Neville embodies this week’s theme: standing up for yourself.

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Neville is one of those characters who will go through a major metamorphosis throughout the series. Rowling doesn’t give us much to work with in understanding why he is so timid in this book, but as the series goes on and we discover more of his story, we will start to see him not only grow but be understood better. I love this chapter because Neville and I share a lot of the same sentiment in how we view ourselves. For me, my bully is the anxiety that lives with me, constantly there to remind me I’m not as brave or smart or capable as others, for Neville he has Draco and sometimes even his friends (who don’t seem to do it on purpose). I’ve noticed though that in law school it’s not always something like an anxiety disorder that bullies people into similar thoughts. A lot of times it’s something as simple as self-doubt, stress, worry and just feeling lesser than our peers.

It’s easy to get bogged down by mental health issues and start to feel like a fraud. Neville feels like he maybe shouldn’t be a Gryffindor, and I know for myself and countless others a lot of 1L students feel like they shouldn’t be law students at all, that the school made a mistake in allowing them to attend. The key though is to start believing the opposite. When Harry tells Neville he is worth 12 of Malfoy and Neville believes it, he stands up for himself. He may have ended up getting a little too confident in trying to take on Crabbe and Goyle, but he stood up for himself and the seed of confidence was planted.

For me, after feeling like a failure in controlling my anxiety at the Law Stars event and then in a lot of my conversations and interactions after that, I found a little confidence in getting back a paper. If you remember a few blog posts back I told everyone I received one of the lowest grades in my class on a paper (that grade being an 8.4/10). This week we received our second memo back and I was almost in tears at seeing a 9.5 as a grade. Now it’s still not the best (which my perfectionist mind loves to remind me), but it’s progress and progress that give me enough confidence to go forward into the final few weeks of the semester knowing that I’m not a fraud and can handle this. It helps to quiet the bullying voice of my anxiety that keeps trying to keep me from doing great things. It helps me stand up for myself.4645bd8df0f245e1e71515fb05359f27

The key to standing up for yourself is to cherish the little triumphs. Whether it’s making great networking connections, seeing progress in classes, feeling like you understand a topic or just being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, whatever it is cherishing those moments can help you take steps forward to overcoming the doubt inside, the stress in front of you and the things trying to pull you back. Mental health is a very key part of law school, and a lot of people don’t talk about their issues. A lot of people put on a front and try to remain strong and confident in front of their peers because of the competition between us all. The thing is, not being able to talk about and share your mental health issues or experiences makes the world a very lonely place, especially when you start to find out that a lot of people around you, the ones you are hiding your problems from have the same problems and can fight the bullies alongside you. Neville would have never stood up to Draco and his goonies had Ron not fought with him and Harry not given him the nugget of courage to do so.

Mental health issues shouldn’t be something we are ashamed of, because they are part of who we are. If we shine a light on them, talk about them and share our experiences (triumphs and defeats) with others we gain more people fighting in our corner with us. There are no better triumphs then being able to face your bullies with your friends beside you. I know that I couldn’t make it through this semester without people cheering me on and pushing me forward when I just want to quit. Face your fears, face your bullies and keep moving forward with the people who care about you.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed