Making friends in law school is hard. Last year when we started everyone was new so everyone wanted to make new friends and find their “family” that they fit in with. Orientation through the first semester became a trial period. It was an interesting time where everyone was friends, everyone wanted to hangout ALL the time and everyone seemed to get along. But that changed come finals and the beginning of second semester. Suddenly, the groups were made, the friendships solidified, and reputations created. It appeared that if you didn’t hangout with people all the time, you didn’t know the right things to talk about in conversations, if you weren’t smart enough, if you pretty much didn’t meet a group’s qualifications you were left to wander around alone.
Out of that madness I realized that I wouldn’t be invited to my small section group’s girl’s nights, that if I wasn’t around for a lunch invitation people wouldn’t invite me (and by around I mean standing with them in the moment, even if we had just discussed them coming back after class, no mention of lunch), that no one would invite me to their study group since I was clearly not competition and that’s apparently how certain study groups were formed, and that I would have to initiate all hangouts if I wanted friends. Eventually all of us misfits became friends. We studied together. We stopped and talked to each other in the halls. We made lunch plans together, and we made friendships out of our similar outcast status. These became my people…and this week, another group of my people came to town…a few of my friends from home.
This week’s HP theme is “Revisiting Who You Are.”
These two chapters pick up with an invitation in the mail addressed to the Dursleys and covered completely in stamps. The invitation is from the Weasleys asking if Harry might be able to join them for the Quidditch World Cup in the coming weeks. Of course Uncle Vernon is mad about this invitation, but after a long debate and the mention of Harry’s Godfather, Sirius Black escaped convict, Vernon agrees Harry can go. The Weasleys make arrangements to pick Harry up at 5pm on Sunday and are late when trying to get through the fireplace (using the Floo Network) which has been boarded up since Book 1. The two families meet, the Weasley twins leave a trick toffee for Dudley who then winds up with an enlarged tongue and the Durselys are hysterical trying to deal with Mr. Weasley, the state of their living room (covered in ashes and debris) and Durselys new issue.
I love these two chapters because they combine old with new. They combine the constant need for the Dursely family to be seen as normal. Uncle Vernon is worried that the Weasleys will drive up in long robes and pointy hats and that the neighbors will see this and think differently of the Dursely family. Yet, the Weasleys come using the floor network and no one outside the house has a chance to judge the Dursely family.
Dudley is terrified of being given another pig’s tail and attempts to hide, and of course the Weasley twins decide they are going to play a trick on Dudley anyways, solidifying his reasons to be scared. Dudley doesn’t suspect a thing because no magic from a wand is used on him, just the simple use of a toffee.
Ron and Harry have learned to stifle their laughter instead of busting out laughing at the sight of Dudley.
But my favorite part is when Mr. Weasley scolds the Dursely family for not saying goodbye to Harry when Harry says goodbye to them. The Durselys have never been made to show any sort of compassion or even consideration towards Harry. To Harry it’s no big thing, but to Mr. Weasley its not okay that the Durselys treat him this way and he asks for them to change it, which is new to Mr. Dursely who never gets told what to do. Having old friends come to a new town that you’ve made your new home can be sort of scary at first. Then add the layer of law school and never leaving the university area, it can be a little sad realizing you haven’t explored much of your new city. One of the most interesting parts of the nights though was seeing my old friends connect with new friends by chance on the street. Having my old friends, Ben and Paige, my true friends, around made what would have now been an extremely awkward chance meeting with this friend on the street on a Friday night downtown a funny coincidence. Paige and Ben made it fun, Ben asked anyone he met that I knew all about their law school journey and future while Paige tried to get everyone to go dancing with her.
Having friends from home in town makes the hard times, the times where you feel like a misfit, where you don’t feel good enough to be here with your peers, feel long gone. I have so many friends back home that I miss SO MUCH. They are some of the most amazing people. My friends back home understand when you have a rough day and lash out (they don’t like it and may take a few days to let you cool down). They want to hangout, they invite you to things even if you are going to talk about nonsensical things they don’t really care about. I mean I can’t tell you how many times we’ve listened to what Gary has heard on NPR that morning or some random Celebrity Gossip Tonya is following this week, or about some musical Lyn and Nick are into this month or about some very strange Harry Potter facts that I know.
The thing is, having old friends in my new city has been amazing. It’s been one of those experiences where you remember who you are. You no longer fret about whether the people like you in this new place but remember you have friends and family all over the world who love and adore you, who care about your well-being and not your grade point average or class rank. There are people in my life who want me around and don’t want me to have to initiate every hangout. There are people in my life that others don’t see.
So, my challenge to all you law students and non-law students alike, look around you and attempt to look through those friendship walls you’ve built up. Look at the people outside your inner circle and try to see them in a new light. Sure, you don’t have to be friends with everyone, but you could at least attempt to tear down the reputations of people you’ve built up in your head. You could invite someone to lunch with your group even if they are weird or you don’t really want to hear about their views onto world. You could get off your high horse and invite someone new to your study group. You could stop viewing the world as your friend group vs. everyone else. You could realize that everyone around you is human… including yourself and everyone is doing the best they can with what they have.
But even if you don’t, because 9 time out of 10 we don’t branch out, we don’t try new things, we don’t want to have to change (myself included), know that those people will be okay. Those people you ostracize and send away because they said no to invites when they truly had work to do, or that had a few rough months and lashed out hoping you’d take them in and help them, those people have good people in their lives who will stand up for them the way Mr. Weasley stood up to the Durselys for Harry. For me, the people who love me unconditionally, the people who will stand up for me when the rest of the world seems to much me away… the people who have seen me through rough patches… those friends can never be replaced. Those friends are the people I cherish more than anyone else in this world. Those are the people I wish that would move here or move closer, because those are true friends.
Making friends in law school is hard, but when you make new friends who remind you of your friends back home… things tend to be a little easier, and boy am I glad that I found the other “misfits” and friends that remind me of those I have in my corner of the world a few states over.
Until Next Time,