The Writing on the Wall (CoS 9)

What a week it has been. From school events and field trips to an inauguration, this week has been exhausting… but it’s also made me really think about the world we live in and how law school is starting to change that world view. A lot of people come into law school with a positive view on life. We think we can enact change in our careers. We aren’t necessarily in it for the six-figure salaries (which are always a perk), but we feel like we can make a change of more worth than any huge dollar amount. The thing is, we don’t always leave law school feeling that way. It’s the end of the first semester, and I can admit that at times I’ve lost that positivity, that purity of being on this journey to change the world and not much else.

But I have more hope after this week than any other week in this journey.

In our chapter of Harry Potter this week we find the Golden Trio with Mr. Filtch, Dumbledore, Snape, Lockhart, and McGonagall. They had just found Mrs. Norris petrified, and the words “The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir, beware” painted on the wall. Lockhart ushers everyone to his office to discuss what has happened. Harry fibs as to why they were all in that specific corridor at that moment, ashamed that he is hearing voices no one else can hear. As the weeks pass, Hermione has started investigating the Chamber of Secrets by reading books, asking professors about it in class, and then leading the trio to talk with Moaning Myrtle. The school is buzzing with fear, despair, and intrigue as to what the chamber of Secrets could be and to the identity of the heir.

In this chapter we see a lot of emotions flying around Hogwarts. One of the key moments is when Harry, who hates Flitch most days, feels extremely sad for Flitch and Mrs. Norris. When Harry should be upset because he is being accused of something he didn’t do, he takes a step back and realizes that in this moment someone else is hurting. It’s easy to become apathetic. It’s easy to point the blame away from you and lash out at others. It’s easy to forget that people are hurting on both sides of a confrontation. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in being upset that you forget to look at the big picture still. Yet, the key is to keep your eyes open for little glimpses of Pure Emotions.

People show up in different ways all the time. In moments of despair, people my act frantic and out of character, and it’s because they have no other choice but to act in this manner. In moments of fear, people may point fingers, shy away from confrontation, or even get angry. In moments of feeling inadequate, people may lash out or overcompensate. In moments of feeling apathetic, people may withdraw or become “lazy”. Every time a person changes how they act, it’s based on a pure emotion. Harry saw Filtch upset, frantic, and hurting. Harry only had a glimpse of this when he decided to look for it and process it.

The second semester of law school changes how people act and interact not only with each other and professors, but with their dreams and ambitions. Grades, competition, and fears start to tear people down. Law students start to become tired, start to feel inadequate, start to feel the need to overcompensate, or start to feel the need to push themselves even harder because staying at the top is hard. Our main focus though doesn’t need to be on grades and competition, but truly, our main focus needs to be on the human side of the law. It needs to be on what makes us human, what makes each other human and how we still want to have an effect on humanity.

If the women’s marches all around the world yesterday proved one thing, it’s that we need to remember that we are fighting  not each other, but together. We all have a responsibility to each other (one that should not be taken lightly nor abused by others) to fight for one another. So this week, whether you are in law school or not, look around you and see the human next to you for a moment. Take a step back and look at their behavior and reflect on it. Maybe that human next to you needs a word of encouragement, maybe they need a hug, maybe they need affirmation or maybe they just need someone to tell them a joke. Whatever it is, remember this is why many of us came to law school… to make a difference in the human lives all around us.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

 

 

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The Deathday Party (CoS 8)

So we’ve gotten a little behind on the posting/reading schedule and for good reason! Classes have resumed. It’s weird to get back into the swing of things.  In undergrad a new semester simply just meant figuring out what building to go to and then figuring how much sleep you could get in class or how much reading you could go without doing. (And believe me, I slept plenty in classes… probably would have done better if I hadn’t)

Law school is different. You get a new class schedule, have to figure out the syllabus, have to see how much reading you are going to be required to do, have to figure out how much detail the professor will want, figure out how to take notes for the class, what the teacher wants, what the teacher doesn’t want, which teacher is going to cold call, which teacher just wants discussion, how many tests you’ll have and so on and so forth. It’s a whole new schedule or class, sleep, workout and study. And the thing is, for the first week you sort of feel out-of-place.

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Which leads us to the story of the Golden Trio of Harry Potter:

Harry, Hermione and Ron attend Nearly Headless Nick’s Deathday party (a party celebrating the anniversary of his death) instead of going to the Halloween Feast. They get to the party hoping there would still be good food and fun, yet once they get there they realize they are the only ones who are living and not dead. Worst of all, they find out there is no food for them to eat, just a bunch of rotten food for ghosts to pass over and maybe “taste”. As they stand around at the party they see the different ghosts of the school and Hermione makes a comment about Moaning Myrtle, which of course the pesky poltergeist of the school then tells Myrtle causing a scene. They leave the party and Harry hears the voice int eh wall he heard a couple of nights before, and as they rush down the hallways, Harry following the voice, they find a wall painted in blood stating ” The Chamber of Secrets has been opened, enemies of the hair, beware.”

Harry, Hermione, and Ron go to Nick’s party out of respect for him and out of curiosity. But when they arrive, they start to regret missing out of the feast they are used to with their fellow students. They feel out-of-place.

The first week of the second semester of law school feels similar. Last semester we had formed study groups, gotten down routines, saw people regularly and by the end of the semester felt like we knew what we were doing each and every day. Then finals hit followed by winter break, and now returning to school, things feel really out-of-place. It’s an adjustment getting back into a routine with different study habits and assignments. Everyone is split in new ways, not necessarily bad ways, just new. As we head into a long weekend and have a chance to  catch up and get our bearings heading into the next week of classes we should start to feel a little more secure in where we are and what we are doing.

In the chapter Ron laments going to the party and suggests that if they left they may still be able to get pudding up at the feast… this upcoming week at school, I’m looking forward to the pudding (my old study habits and routines) and hope you are too!

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

 

P.S. May you Rest in Peace Alan Rickman… You will always be our Snape!

Mudbloods and Murmurs (CoS 7)

Happy New years from the Wizarding world of Law School to you! It’s been a terribly long winter break. I know 3.5 weeks doesn’t seem long, but when you go to class 5 days a week and have nothing but time consuming reading and assignments, 3.5 weeks away are definitely way too long. What’s even worse is that we are waiting for grades, which should be posted tomorrow. That’s right, we’ve gone a whole semester without any real indication as to where we stand. We’ve gotten small insights into where we might be, but tomorrow should tell us exactly where we are. The scariest part is that relationships are already changing (because that’s what happens when you get thrown together with a bunch of people you don’t know and are trying to figure each other out over the course of a semester), and getting grades threatens to tear some relationships apart. Grades become a status indicator (if and when we let them)…

And HP Chapt 7, status is making things a bit confusing for our golden trio.

originalRecap: Harry is woken up by Oliver Wood to go to a sunrise Qudditch practice where Harry is followed by Colin, this pesky kid who just wants to take Harry’s picture and have him sign it still. The Gryffindor Quidditch team works to keep their eyes open through Wood’s incessant talk to drills and plays. As soon as the team embarks on an actual practice the Slytherin’s show up with a letter from Snape saying they can practice eon the fields to train their new Seeker, Draco Malfoy (whose father incidentally bought the whole team brand new brooms). An argument ensues between Hermione, Ron, Harry, Draco and the two teams, and Hermione is called a mudblood. Ron tries to curse Draco where he will throw up slugs, but Ron’s broken wand malfunctions and instead curses Ron. The trio scurries off to Hagrid’s hut where Harry asks what a mudblood is exactly. He learns that it is a a derogative name given to a muggle born witch or wizard by horrible pure blood families.

14980790_743331435818979_6484132883521494097_n-2You see, even at Hogwarts status is a huge indicator of where you stand. While this doesn’t have to necessarily deal with their grades and is more like the pedigree their families hold (which can sometimes be a status indicator in law school too), it is a way of separating people by class. Our grades coming this week threaten to do the same to all of us, because there are already cracks there based on perceptions of people’s intelligence. Which sucks because we are all smart. We all got into law school, and as someone pointed out to me this past week Joe Biden (our current vice-president for only a little while longer) didn’t graduate in the top half of his class and look where he is sitting now.

But then again it’s human nature, we constantly feel the need to classify each other, to compare ourselves against others, to make ourselves stand out, and to make ourselves better than other people. It’s something we can’t shake off no matter how hard we try or how much we say we won’t change to be that way. We always end up losing people over silly things like grades, perceptions of intelligence, and hurts. But remember this, you are no better than someone else based on status. Hermione may have not been a pure blood witch, but she was smarter than everyone else in her class. Harry may have had (unwanted) fame, but he still had voids in him that nothing and no one could fill, and not to mention that whole part about being hunted by Voldemort. Ron may have been a pure blood and poor, but he belonged to one of best, dysfunctional, loving families in the world.

37d82475a1c7298df7a272d7cddb7c00So while we await grades tomorrow, and then spend the next few weeks walking around in a stupor, judging each other, letting our heads either become big or our hearts break, remember all the good you still have. Don’t let these grades confuse happiness and success… Success is finding happiness and finding happiness is success. Hermione had her great friends, Ron and Harry, beside her to pick her up when called nasty names and judged for her blood status… who are you going to let pick you up when you are down, and better yet, where is your happiness rooted?

May the odds be ever in our favor tomorrow.

 

Until next time,

Mischief managed