Mad-Eye Moody (GoF 13)

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explantation is that I was made for another world” – C.S. Lewis

This week’s chapter Draco gets turned into a ferret. Of course, it is because Draco taunts Ron Weasley and then attempts to strike Harry while Harry’s back is turned to him. Moody strikes turning Draco into a ferret. Draco is taunting Ron about another article in the newspaper about Arthur Weasley (the Weasley father). Rita Skeeter writes the article calling Arthur Arnold. Draco mocks Ron calling his father a “complete nonentity.” The whole interaction takes place in only a few seconds with McGonagall making Moody turn Draco back into a human. Draco Ferret

The thing I found interesting about this whole interaction was the severity of Draco’s taunt. Not only does he call Mr. Weasley and complete nonentity, he then attacks the Weasley home and calls Mrs. Weasley fat. It made me think about a few key players in my life that does the same: 1) my own brain; 2) the stress of law school; 3) the anxiety about the future.

I’ve spoken a lot about my mental health on this blog, so there’s no need to unpack that suitcase again and again… but I will say: I’m working on being nicer to myself. The last two key players I will unpack though go hand in hand.

Law school can be very stressful at times. With a mandatory curve that splits the class up only allowing for a few A students at the end of the three year stretch, with our school’s bar passage rate dropping 10% this year, and with the constant push and pull of the traditional lawyering path following us around, law school and our futures can be laborious. And don’t think we didn’t know that coming in the door. We signed up for this, each and every one of us signed up knowing it was going to be a difficult task. And knowing that we are all in it together makes things feel a whole lot better.

Just this past week, I had a friend in class talk about her realization that as she inches closer to graduation she’s never actually thought of herself as being a lawyer after law school. As she said this I felt comfort because I too have never really pictured myself as a lawyer.

I met with a new mentor this past week too, who encouraged me to keep on my non-traditional law school paths.

It’s harder to get through law school if you’ve never actually imagined yourself being another cog in the legal world. A lot of people come to law school knowing that at the end of the process they are going to be a lawyer in whatever desired field they’ve chosen. I’m always in awe of these people, because for some reason I always choose the harder paths in life to follow.

Hell will always come before you grow. – Imagine Dragons

When you walk with only a few people on the road less travelled you start to feel like a “complete nonentity” in the world. You start to feel like a freak, like you are doing something wrong, like you are going to fail because everyone else seems to be doing things a certain way and you just can’t fit yourself into that box. Here’s the catch though, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in this life, sometimes you just are destined for bigger things.

road less travelledIt’s hard to see what you are destined for from the perspective of where we are seated. When you are in the midst of the mess, the hard work, the emotions, the world which tells you to conform, when you are in the midst of all of that it’s hard to see the big picture. We are all destined to do something in this world. Some of us are meant for the traditional paths of the world, meant to make an impact where we are. Some are meant to revolutionize the whole world to bring together the masses. Some are meant to make small ripples in the world through untraditional paths.

Whatever you are destined to do, you have to give your whole heart to it. You have to constantly remind yourself that through the stress and the anxieties about the future there is a bigger plan at hand, one you can’t see and sometimes cannot feel, but It’s there.

Two roads diverged in a wood and I– I took the one less travelled by. And that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost

Don’t forget that.

Until Next time,

Mischief Managed

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Aboard the Hogwarts Express (GoF 11)

220px-Taylor_Swift_-_Reputation“Ohhh look what you made me do.” Taylor Swift’s new album, Reputation, comes out in a little over a month, and man I CANNOT WAIT! It’s going to be great. Taylor Swift’s concept for this new album is taking her “ruined” reputation back into her own hands. There’s nothing better than seeing someone stand up for themselves in life, even though we still don’t have control over who lives, who dies and who tells our story. But it made me start to think a little deeper about reputations and law school.

This chapter of HP fit in perfectly with that thought! Reputations are being built or solidified everywhere! The chapter begins with an urgent house call made to Mr. Weasley about Mad-Eye Moody. Mad-Eye Moody has a reputation for flying off the handle and being a bit paranoid. Weasley is sent to go and help with Moody’s latest home incident witnessed by Muggles. The rest of the gang heads to Kings Cross Station to board the Hogwarts Express. Percy doesn’t tag along for his normal “I should really be at work” excuse. Fred and George tease Percy solidifying Percy’s reputation as a kiss-up. Once on the train, Hermione, Ginny, Ron, and Harry run into Draco Malfoy who is spouting off loudly about his brilliant father and how Draco knows this year’s biggest secret taking place at school. Hermione tells Ron to not let Draco get under Ron’s skin as Draco continues to brag (solidifying his reputation as being a haughty bragger).

Reputation: the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something.

Alastor_moodyFaculty and staff always preach reputation at the law school. Your professional identity, the small Denver community, being nice to your peers… the lectures go on and on. While they mean well, and of course they do, I think there is something to be said about reputations. To me, reputations are simple perceptions about people usually made through the lens of your own insecurities added to half-truths about the actual person. Take Draco Malfoy for example. He has a reputation for being a brat, a snotty, rich brat. Most people dislike Draco terribly. His reputation does nothing but hurt him, over and over and over again, until you get to the end of the series. Draco puts up a front, he elaborates on his stories, he lives a half-truth filled life, attempting to make things seem better or make himself seem more important so he doesn’t have to face the real him inside.

Ron hates Draco based off Ron’s perception of Draco and the Malfoy family. The Weasley family is poor, the Malfoy family is rich. The Weasley family is kind to muggles, the Malfoy family HATES all non-pure blood wizards and witches and of course muggles. Ron’s perception of the Malfoy’s was most likely built from a young age and as he started school he has carried that with him and began hating Draco due to that perception. Ron refuses to look any deeper than the reputation Ron has built in his mind of Draco. We all do it. We find someone whose actions push the nerve of an insecurity inside of us and subsequently build a wicked reputation of that person in our minds as a coping mechanism.

Law school makes us do that even more. As we are put in a high stakes, high stress, and high competition environment we start to build these beliefs and opinions about other people. “Oh that girl is a gunner,” ” oh that guy just parties, there is no way he is smart,” “oh that person is always in the library, they must be super smart.” I’ve heard these all, and I’ve partaken in building some of these reputations. We are only human, it’s what we do to avoid our real issues. images-3

But we don’t have to. We can instead work on the reputations we build for ourselves about ourselves. If we took the time to stop looking outward at the people around us, instead taking the time to look inside our own hearts and minds we could change the world. I’ve always struggled with not letting other people get to  me (much like Ron) and really wished I could just brush it all off, but at the end of the day, there is no brushing it off, because it triggers something deep inside me I need to really work on.

So the next time someone rubs you the wrong way and you start to build up an opinion about them, take a moments and analyze why that bothers you. Then decide whether or not there could be another explanation about why that person is acting the way they are.  For Draco, it could be an act to try to win the approval of a father who never chooses to show Draco love. For Percy, it could be an act to try and feel important when he lives in a super large family who just doesn’t seem to appreciate him the way he would like. For Moody, it could be a real mental issues (paranoia and PTSD) triggered by his years of work putting wizarding criminals in Azkaban.

No matter what the story, the underlining premise of all of this is to just be kind to people. Don’t talk crap about them, don’t be curt when they ask for your help, just be nice. You never know what battle someone else is fighting or has already won/lost. So be kind.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed.