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

The Rogue Bludger (CoS)

During orientation we were told that after the first semester of school you would lose stamina, the adrenaline would wear off, and during second semester of the first year we would find ourselves slugging through to make it to summer. This wasn’t a false statement. Second semester feels little easier, we now at least have gotten through the first sets of classes and tests, but the dynamics have changed.

Grades came out. People started to divide themselves into groups. Classes had new seeing charts. People kept or disbanded their study groups. Everything is slightly different. While change is usually scary, it’s not that bad actually. Change has helped us all grow little by little. I’ve started to notice moments from the semester before where I too it on myself to take care of others who were struggling more than myself and have made changes to make sure that it doesn’t happen as much. I’ve started to take note of the people who balance me out and make me take a break. I’ve started to notice where I was a little too careless, a little too ‘que sera sera’ in my decisions…and i’ve started to change all of those things too.

In the Wizarding World we find the golden trio wading through a ton of carelessness too. The chapter begins with Harry, Ron, and Hermione getting Professor Lockhart to sign a slip granting them permission to check out a book from the restricted section of the school library.  After getting the book, the three hide in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom and look up the polyjuice potion that will change them to look like a few of the Slytherins so they can get Malfoy to tell them about being the Heir of Slytherin and the Chamber of Secrets. Hermione acts out of character, willing to break the rules in lieu of letting muggle-borns be killed off.

The next day is the big Quidditch match: Gryffindor v. Slytherin. The match begins, and trash talk ensues. As Harry flies around trying to find the golden snitch, he is suddenly being chased by a rogue bludger. Finding it odd and dangerous the Gryffindor team wants to end the match, literally afraid this harmful ball will kill Harry. Harry says no, refusing to let the team lose to Slytherin. They resume the match and harry sees the snitch. Flying after it, Harry reaches out for it and his arm is struck by the blunger, breaking it. He soon after catches the snitch, crashing to the ground. The crowds cheer at his triumph win, while the qudditch team rush to his side to make sure he is okay. Professor Lockhart arrives and refusing to let Harry go to the infirmary attempts to mend Harry’s arm. hpLockhart instead turns Harry’s arm into jelly, making all of the bones disappear. Harry goes to the infirmary where he spends the night. Dobby appears explaining why Harry should leave Hogwarts and admitting to bewitching the bludger and sealing the platform to the school train. As Dobby disappears, another student is brought into the infirmary, petrified.

In this chapter, quite a few of the characters act carelessly. Hermione throws out her rulebook for a good cause. Harry lets pride blind him into entering into another dangerous situation that could take his life. Lockhart trying to look good evaporates the bones in Harry’s arm. All of these characters show that we all have moments of carelessness. As humans we tend to act careless when blinded by something else. The real issue outside the underlying emotion that causes our carelessness, is what we do about it later.

As I wrote at the beginning I noticed a few times where last semester, blinded by a deep desire for people to like me, I acted carelessly. I put others before myself. I sometimes went out instead of forcing myself to just do an hour’s more work. I didn’t take care of myself, and it didn’t make me feel good at the end of each day. When in law school, being careless might work for some, but for people like myself, being careless is a mask for a bigger problem. And so, we change. I’ve started being selective in the times I hangout or study. I’ve started being selective about who I study with or pair myself up with. I’ve started putting my needs ahead of others, and have taken the time to reflect on what I want. jk-rowling-harry-potter-meme

When you find yourself not getting the results you desire, you have to take time to reflect on what went wrong and then devise a plan to change and track the results. Don’t be more careless, be little more careful with yourself and your time. You won’t regret it.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

 

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

 

 

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