The Dark Mark (GoF 9)

loyaltyThis semester I am taking Legal Professions, an ethics course required by the school. It’s an interesting class, full of the dos and the don’ts of the legal profession. Being in a clinic too, I get real clients to apply these rules to while still in school. Loyalty to the client is one of the most important things we’ve learned thus far. This can come in so many forms: confidentiality, competency, diligence, and ensuring there are no conflicts with other clients.  Loyalty is a huge part of the legal profession. You want to be loyal to your clients so they feel comfortable giving you information so you can advocate for them in the best ways.

This chapter of HP is all about loyalty, from being loyal to breaking loyalty.  After the World Cup game there is quite a commotion in the area. Mr. Weasley goes to investigate, sending the children out and into the forest for shelter upon his return. A group of amoral wizards, the Death Eaters, were terrorizing a muggle family and causing chaos in the campgrounds. The Golden Trio get separated from the other Weasleys and end up alone in the forest. Roaming around int he dark, Harry loses his wand. While hiding out in the forest they witness the Dark Mark being conjured by a wizard nearby. Before they can see the wizard’s face, they are suddenly attacked by wizards from the Ministry of Magic. They attempt to explain who conjured the dark mark and are absolved when a Ministry Wizard finds Barty Crouch’s house-elf holding Harry’s wand, under a bush near where the mark was conjured. This amiable elf is maligned by the Ministry members. They find Winky (the elf) guilty and Barty Crouch decides the best punishment would be to set the elf free since she could not follow directions or remain loyal to him. She pleads with him, stating she’s been loyal to him this whole time, but nothing works, Barty makes his choice.

main-qimg-5d03a32812606297eb4113bea39f0cbaIt’s funny what the breaking of loyalty can do. In the legal world it can create so many problems for a lawyer. From losing the client’s trust, to being disciplined for Professional Rules of Conduct violations, to even being disbarred. Everything we do as lawyers is looked at from a loyalty standpoint. We are forever responsible of making sure our actions are not adverse to our past clients and present clients needs. We must keep confidentiality at all times (unless under the enumerated exceptions found in the rules) and must work diligently on all client matters.

And while our clients could totally just present us with clothes (metaphorically speaking of course) and set us free, as Barty says he will be doing with Winky the house elf, there are times when the Court won’t allow for that to happen. If you can’t get out of your representation and your client feels like you haven’t been loyal to you or you now feel like your trust has been broken by the client, this can lead to some extra stressful days in your work.images

Being loyal is the foundation of any good relationship, whether that is friendships, parent-child, employer-employee, teacher-student, significant others, or lawyer-client. Once that loyalty has been broken and trust no longer exists, things can get pretty ugly. It may seem like a no brainer to most people, but learning about the extent of the damage in the legal profession makes this feel a little scarier every day. And I thought just the Bar exam would be the scary part!

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

 

 

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The Quidditch World Cup (GoF 8)

This post we are doing something a little different: we have a guest writer! I asked my friend Jessica Cordero, a 2L at the University of Denver, to write a little something about finding passion in law school and how sometimes that passion can bring out a competitive side she didn’t know she really had until then.1618565_10156514455540573_2412351853380138579_n

Take it away Jessica:

“When I got into law school, I was just excited to be a student. It was not until Derby Days that I realized there were 309,48,528 ways of being a law student. I signed up for more information about a few, mostly to get swag, but was only really interested in one.

There was something exciting about doing a whole run through of a trial that only occurred the 1st year of law school. One shot opportunity. Hazily, I filled out the information sheet filled with a montage of sepia-tinted memories of being in speech and debate in grade school. It would be similar, right?

Wrong. There were expectations and a sudden urge to be competitive. Even though I was unbelievably out of my comfort zone integrating into law school life, I didn’t mind putting in the work to learn what would eventually lead me to be a part of a nationally competitive trial team at the graduate level.

I never thought I was capable of having a “passion.” I tried a few sports and hobbies throughout the years, but I am somewhat of a dabbler. But I have realized being drawn to a specific activity is exactly how passions are born. They call to you. Being surrounded by people you admire tends to make you a better person. You don’t mind practicing for hours to be a real competitor in the loop, you don’t care about lost Saturdays, and you don’t worry about game day: you anticipate it.” (THANK YOU JESS!!)

QuidditchWorldCupGame Day is here for two of the wizarding world’s best quidditch teams as they face off in the Quidditch World Cup! Harry watches in awe as these two teams go head to head in a competition. Harry watches Krum, the epitome of a seeker, perform a perfect fake out, injuring the Irish seeker, his antagonist in the game. The gang also has an encounter with Barty Crouch’s eccentric house elf, Winky, in the stands (someone who becomes important in the next chapter). The match ends with Krum catching the snitch, but overall losing the game. The crowd turns on Krum with great animosity. Harry and the gang gets a chance to meet all of the players at the endow the game and then heads back to their tent.

Jessica’s story is a great depiction of how law school works. Most people come into law school uncertain about their future paths but by 2L year a majority of students become adamant about being a trial lawyer or a transactional lawyer. Trial Team students are hard-working, they put in long hours for their passion! Much like Quidditch players. Harry watches these professional players pull off tricks and plays he’s only heard about or seen attempted in practice. Harry’s passion calls to him in that moment, much like Jessica’s did when she joined STLA during our first year of classes.Quidditch-World-Cup-harry-potter-vs-twilight-17930427-500-201

You may not come to law school with a passion in mind, and don’t fret about this! Passions sneak up on you. Passions derive from inspirational moments. Passions are created when you try something new, something outside your comfort zone. Passions are found in the strangest of places. So keep your eyes out as you go through law school! You may stumble onto your passion without realizing it!

Thank you again to Jessica for taking the time to write for this week’s blog!

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

 

Bagman and Crouch (GoF 7)

One of the biggest events of the year at the law school is Law Stars. Its a night where lawyers, alumni, and students mix and mingle, award four people prestigious awards and eat a delicious dinner. Last year I got to attend for free, usually these tickets cost about $250 a person. Being part of Student Ambassadors means you attend without paying. Instead, as an Ambassador you either check people in or usher people to their seats. It’s one of those events where networking is abundant…unless you have a panic attack before dinner.

Screenshot_-_10_3_2013_,_7_36_24_PM.pngIn this chapter, the gang has all arrived at the Quidditch World Cup Finals campgrounds. Harry is in awe of the mix of people he runs into as Ron, Hermione and Harry walk around. They see people from school and their families while also seeing key individuals who work at the Ministry of Magic. Getting water takes forever as they stop to make small talk with people throughout the area. On their way to the actual game, they run into two key people Ludo Bagman (who is the director of this event and commentator for the game) and Barty Crouch, Percy’s boss at the Ministry. Percy reacts to seeing his boss in the most Percy way. Percy “idolizes him.” As for everyone meeting Bagman who is wearing a jersey a few sixes too small, the Twins jump in on a bet with Bagman regarding the game.

This scene reminded me of networking. Percy is so starstruck with a desire to make a good impression that to the others who know him he looks like a nut. The Twins, on the other hand, have bigger plans in mind and make bets with Bagman to further those plans, not intimidated by Bagman’s position at all.

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My Networking face 

Everyone has a different reaction to networking. In law school networking is one of the best ways to get a job whether you are in the top 10% of the class or not. During my 1L year we were given ample opportunities to network. It all began during orientation. Scheduled into our packed week was a networking night. Even though I work in the service industry, the thought of making small talk with strangers is something that makes me nervous.

Growing up in a lower income family during high school and growing up as a military brat until middle school, I was taught to not speak until spoken to and even when spoken to I’m afraid to say the wrong thing. We didn’t learn the art of small talk at my high school. Social skills of lower income schools cannot compete with those skills acquired from better educational institutes. My family never held great dinner parties with business partners. Fancy words, great conversation topics, and the art of being politically correct were not part of my childhood. My mom tried to teach us manners and how to be polite. Somewhere along the line, maybe as a survival tactic, I became sarcastic and very blunt.

Even after years in the service industry, I was called the cynical barista aka the soulless barista. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I just don’t want to make small talk. Small talk feels forced and fake 99% of the time. It’s a means to an end. It’s used to fill a void, to kill dead air. Nobody really cares what you think about the weather and if your barista asks you that at the drive thru window, it’s because your drink isn’t ready, there’s probably someone new on bar, and the barista need to distract you so you don’t get mad. the other part of small talk that kills me is having to ask so many questions while listening in what is probably a very loud room for the answers. It’s so hard to hear what someone is saying when there are 100+ people making small talk in a medium sized room. I sometimes just have a hard time hearing people standing next to me in a quieter room. Trying to hear someone and then following up with questions when you only hear half of what they were saying is draining.

IMG_0002Networking at large events for me is painful. It can cause panic attacks. I can come off impolite and insincere. Now, sit down over coffee, one-on-one with me, invest actual time and I’m there, fully engaged, only slightly nervous. Now don’t get me wrong, at most large events I can make myself network, I just hate the way it feels.

For a lot of people networking at any level comes naturally to them. Some people have been groomed to talk to people their whole lives. Some people just ooze charisma. Those are the people I am jealous of at events. They have interesting stories to tell, they care so much more about PC topics (and less about Harry Potter, Taylor Swift, Pop Music, and Foodie topics — all which I care about immensely).

Last year at Law Stars I had a panic attack. There were so many people in such a small place, I felt as if I wasn’t going to make a good impression, and I put a lot of pressure on myself. Since that night, I have worked hard to overcome my networking fears. I no longer feel starstruck by the important people that come through the law school. Instead I respect them and see them more as aspirations. It takes some of the pressure off. No longer am I trying to impress them, instead I want to learn from them. Networking isn’t always just about making connections that will help you rise in the ranks, it’s also about making mentor/mentee relationships. It’s about learning from people who have been in your position for years. It’s about realizing that one day soon, these people around you will be your peers.

If there’s one big difference I’ve seen in myself from 1L year to 2L year it’s that I have grown more confident in my position. I’ve come a long way from graduating 3rd in my high school class, a class at one of the worst high schools in one of the worst school districts in the nation. I have a long way to go, but that’s part of the learning process here at law school. And boy is there still a lot I hope to learn by the end of my journey here.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed.

 

Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes and The Portkey (GoF 5&6)

We are a month into the new school year, and boy has it been a wild ride already. Being in a clinic, taking two classes, being on a law review, running a student org, applying for summer jobs, and helping out on a national food law board. The work can be tiresome, but all in all its been very rewarding thus far. However, there are times where I wish I would have taken a little more time off this past summer than I did. Since finals in May I have gone non-stop. After finals it was preparing for Italy and my externship for when I returned, then it was Italy, then Externship and working as a part-time barista AND all of my Italy finals, and then it was school and moving. There haven’t been many chances for a nice long breather, which we all know (or at least should know) is important for one’s mental health.

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In these chapters of HP we return to the Burrow (the house of the Weasley family). The twins are scolded for their actions at the Dursleys and their new venture the Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes. The family is chaotic and loving as usual and Harry welcomes the nice break from his depressing summer with the Dursley family. Everyone is home at the Weasley house including Charlie and Bill, the eldest sons. The next day Hermione, Ron, Harry and the rest of the Weasley clan head out to a portkey to the Quidditch World Cup Finals, one of the biggest events in the Wizarding World, a welcome break before school starts.

Everyone in these two chapters all welcome a much needed and exciting break from their regular jobs and lives, everyone except Percy, who is working away on writing briefs supporting a change of laws regarding cauldron bottoms. To me, Percy represents our average law student. While everyone else is out having a good time, enjoying each other’s company, Percy is worrying about his work. Well, more than just worrying, Percy is obsessing over getting his work done.

This summer I found myself torn between being a Percy or the rest of the family. With so many things on my plate with an externship and the abundance of school work, I would pass up on chances to unwind and hangout with friends, obsessing over my work. Obsessing in law school is almost a normal occurrence. It’s a learned trait of 1L students who tremble with fear and stress. It’s a trait that we carry with us into 2L year at a somewhat lesser degree but enough to keep people on edge. It’s a dangerous behavior at any degree though.

Portkey_PM_B4C6M1_BootPortkeyToQuidditchWorldCup_MomentObsessing over the work you have to do, having nothing else but work to fuel you can lead to some major issues in your career and life. This past summer there was a New York Times Article illustrating the addictions that can come with the legal profession. The amount of stress law school can have on a person can follow them into their careers. Constant stress can lead to drug use, alcoholism, or other destructive activities. Obsession over work leads to a need for perfectionism which leads to stress, stress leads to a need to escape which leads to destructive behaviors.

As the Harry Potter books progress, one of the things we see if Percy’s loyalty to his job and obsession over his work cause issues for him. It’s something I hope to keep an eye on as we go forward.

The key however is to make sure you are taking breaks. Make sure you are carving out time each week to truly sit down and relax. Make time for friends, events, and relaxation. Make time to laugh, to cry, to watch a movie and destress. Find a way to unwind and get out of your work obsession. You’ll thank yourself later. IMG_0116

As for me, since school has started I have been to numerous BBQs, a baby shower, two concerts and enjoyed time with my friends from out of town. I have made time to unwind each week and enjoy life a little more. I may not feel 100% stress free or rested, but I do know I have the start of a healthy balance between work, school, and life these days. So take a look at your life… where are you lacking balance? Figure it out and make the necessary changes, your life will thank you for it later!

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

Talons and Tea Leaves (PoA 6)

Being in a foreign country is amazing. From the sights to the food to the immense challenges of having to learn a whole new place, being away from home opens you up to brand new experiences left and right. While there are many similarities in each culture, there are vast differences that sometimes make you uncomfortable (both in good ways and in bad ways). The key to dealing with being uncomfortable is watching how you react.

A_real_life_Hippogriff_from_Harry_Potter_exists_in_UgandaIn this chapter it’s the first day of school. Harry’s third year classes begin with Divination, a strange class in a strange part of the castle. The students embark on a journey of tea leaves and fortune telling. For some this is very intriguing and real, for others its very “fake news” like. By the end of class Hermione is angry (not believing in any of this nonsense) and Harry is told he will die. The students head to Transfiguration, where Professor McGonagall weighs in on the subject of Harry’s predicted demise and divination as a whole, having very similar thoughts to Hermione’s. The class ends and Ron calls Hermione out on not liking Divination just because she isn’t good at it. After lunch they head down to the forest to meet Hagrid. It’s Hagrid’s first day teaching and he brings out Hippogriffs. Hagrid explains to the class that Hippogriffs are very proud creatures and not to insult them. Harry volunteers to try and gain the Hippogriffs trust and manages to ride the creature for a little while. Soon after every students is given the chance to subdue these creatures and everything goes well until Draco manages to insult one and is attacked. Draco ends up in the hospital wing with some cuts and Hagrid ends up drowning his sorrows and anxiety of being fired with some alcohol.

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The Italian Supreme Court 

Two of my favorite new experiences on my study abroad trip were learning about Italian Criminal Law and taking a tour of the Juvenile Dentition center in Naples. Much like the Hogwarts students, these experiences were different and a bit uncomfortable. Learning from teachers who spoke Italian as their first language and english as their second language made class difficult to understand at times. Many students in my class were completely appalled at the idea of lecturing from power points (which with jet lag and little sleep could be hard to follow along with). Everything was new and different.

We learned the key difference between American Criminal law and Italian criminal law was the end goal. In America punishment is the key. You did something wrong and now you must pay. Whereas in Italy rehabilitation is the key. You did something wrong, we can work together to fix it and give you a new hope in society. Then when we took time to go and tour the juvenile detention center we saw this concept in action.

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View from the top of the Constitutional Court in Rome 

I’ve been to a similar center here in Colorado as part of my American Criminal Law class.  The detention center here was like any other prison. The kids wore uniforms and didn’t have many freedoms. There were opportunities to learn trade skills, but the real goal was for the kids to do their time and learn that what they did was wrong. In the Italian deletion center, the kids wore regular clothes, smoked cigarettes, played basketball and gardened. They had to chose a trade to learn (ceramics, pizza making, baking, nativity scene making, etc.). The goal was to get these kids a second chance when they left.

While the two systems are somewhat alike, the way the kids seem to be treated are very different (from what I’ve experienced). The kids in Italy didn’t seem to be treated like prisoners, but like kids who needed guidance. The directors of the detention center spoke of the children as if they were misled by the greater society and no one else. There was a caring aspect to the directors, a sense that these kids needed their help because maybe their parents weren’t around and their only role models were those already doing criminal acts. In America it feels as if troubled youths are treated as and told that they are just bad people who need to figure out right from wrong and quickly.

As we left either class or the detention center, it was interesting to watch the discussion grow from our experiences. Some were uncomfortable with what they saw, mainly how the directors interacted with the youths and how no one (directors included) wore uniforms. Others seemed to be hit with compassion, and even further, others seemed to not care at all. Those who were uncomfortable with their experiences in Italian Criminal Law were usually much like Hermione or Professor McGonagall or even Draco: they made sure people knew where they stood on the matter. They felt uncomfortable and needed other to know about it. It’s something we all do. When we feel out of sorts we either cope by trying to find like-minded individuals or we ignore how we feel entirely and move on. Rarely do we sit down and try to pinpoint what makes us uncomfortable, where those feelings come from and how to process them next.

This is a key part of being a lawyer though. We have to find a way to look at every side of an issue. We have to be able to rationally look at something, push away our feelings and see every side. Now that’s not to say we can’t have feelings about things. Our gut-feelings are the most important part of intuition and doing what we deem is right, but being able to step out of yourself and see the other side, engage with another part of society or set of ideals… that’s what’s really important. While the Italian goal of rehabilitation seems outlandish against the ideas of American Punishment, I think there are some good facets of believing in the good of others and trying to help them see that good and make it blossom.

Seeing through the eyes of another, being immersed in the culture of another is hard. We are all hardwired to be prideful and ask for others to bow down to our ideals first before we will even consider their ideals (much like a hippogriff) and the second someone insults our ideals, we attack and leave a trail of hurt behind us. It’s not easy to set down that pride and let yourself see another way of doing things, but it’s important in law school and in law. Compassion for others is hard, but it is quintessential and all it takes is seeing the world the way they see it.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

PS: I don’t have any pictures of the dentition center in Naples because they took our phones before going in.

The Dementor (PoA 5)

It’s been quiet around here for the last month. It was hard to find time in Italy to sit and write, and can you blame me?? I’ll share some pictures throughout the next few posts! What an amazing trip, with amazing people, in an amazing place.

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The beach near school at sunset

For those of you who don’t know why I was in Italy, I went on a study abroad trip (yes, those exist in law school). We were in Sorrento, Italy, a beautiful coastal town in southern Italy. During the day (M-Th) we attended classes, which included Comparative Corporate Governance, Intro to Italian Law, Comparative Competition Law, and Comparative Drug Policy. Each class had a different interesting aspect, many times in ways I never thought I would find interesting. Two of the classes were taught by Italian professors while the other two were DU professors. Outside of class we were free to explore, travel, and eat A LOT of pasta and pizza.

Now you can see why I didn’t have much time to blog while I was away. Now, I’m back and ready to make up for lost weeks and posts (we still have to make it through another 4.5 books!).

This chapter is aptly named Dementors. We find the Golden Trio on their journey back to Hogwarts. Harry, who overheard a conversation about Sirius Black coming for him, can’t wait to tell Hermione and Ron what is happening. They pick a room on the train to talk (Professor Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher sleeping in the corner of this train compartment) and Harry tells his friends everything he’s heard. A bit into their journey the train stops, which they find odd since they are not near Hogwarts yet. Ron senses movement outside the train. The lights go out and the train gets cold. Suddenly there’s a ghost like hooded figure in the doorway of their compartment. Harry hears screaming and faints, convulsing on the ground. Professor Lupin jumps up getting rid of the creature with a spell. When Harry comes to, everyone looks worried. No one else had a fainting spell or heard screaming. Ron says the creature (demeanor) made him feel as if he would never be happy again. They arrive to school only to be whisked away by Professor McGonagall who has Harry looked over by the school nurse. Dumbledore explains at the feast that Hogwarts will be playing host to the dementors this year and for students to take caution.

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Sorrento 

What I love about this chapter is that it starts with a journey home with friends. I’ve written a lot about having a tribe, a good support system, or making friends in law school. Being away for a month has made me even more certain that these staple people in your life are necessary. As Harry, Hermione, and Ron set out back to school, Harry feels this need to unpack some troubling thoughts on his friends, who welcome it. They joke, they laugh, and they worry for one another. When the dementor is gone and Harry comes to there’s this beautiful imagery of Hermione hugging Ginny who wandered into their room before the dementor appeared in the door way. Ginny is crying out of fear and Hermione is there to comfort her. Professor Lupin, a complete stranger to these students offers harry a chocolate bar (which is a ready to the effects of dementors) and Ron looks worriedly towards his friend, making sure he’s alright.

Being abroad for a month, where there’s a slight language barrier and none of your super close friends came with, makes you realize just how much you rely on others to be there for you. Looking back on my 1L year (which thankfully is done) there are a few key individuals that I met in law school that helped me succeed. There are also a lot of people who I wanted to be great friends and part of their support systems that just didn’t work out, which is okay in the end. Thinking on it now, my advice to incoming 1Ls this fall is this: don’t force it. I started out orientation with the idea that I need to befriend everyone, make a great first impression, be likable and loved by many. I tied my whole identity to being fun, agreeable, and cool. I mixed and mingled with a lot of people. I went to the bar, I went out, I joined study groups, I helped teach people the material before finals… I never said no.

When the Dementors came I wasn’t surrounded by everyone that I worked so hard to please all semester/year, instead I had a few people in my corner there to make sure I was okay or to hold me while I cried.

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Just your average people pleaser at Pompeii 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of being a people pleaser. We are constantly told over and over at orientation that your reputation starts now and will stay with you forever. While for some that means being cool and always having a good time, that doesn’t mean you have to always conform to other people’s standards, it doesn’t mean you have to make everyone like you, it doesn’t mean you have to be a people pleaser.

Stay true to who YOU are. Follow YOUR convictions. Do what feels right to YOU. Fill your corner with a few true friends and just be nice to everyone else. I’d rather have a Golden Trio of friends then a room full of Death Eaters when the dementors come.

 

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

The Leaky Cauldron (PoA 4)

It’s been a whirlwind the past few weeks. This past Friday I jumped on a plane and 2 layovers later was in Paris. Another bus, plane and taxi and I made it to Sorrento, Italy. This small coastal town will be my home for the next month as I study. It’s a wonderful opportunity in law school to be able to study abroad and not only see the world but learn about how other overseas legal bodies work. For the next month I will be taking Intro to Italian Law, Comparative Competition Law, Comparative Corporate Governance and Comparative Drug Law all while eating pasta and seeing how the world works differently from America. Image.png

It’s quite funny how this chapter fits into the beginning of my trip. Harry is enjoying his stay at the Leaky Cauldron. He wanders around Diagon Alley looking at the shops. He then meets up with Ron and Hermione, hangs out with them a bit listening to Ron’s stories about his trip over the summer holiday. As they all get ready to leave to go to King’s Cross Station, Harry overhears a conversation by Mr. and Mrs. Weasley about himself and the criminal on the loose: Sirius Black.

What’s interesting about this chapter and my trip to Italy is found in one scene. As Harry walks around Diagon Alley alone he stops and looks into the shop window where the new Firebolt broom is on display. This new broom excites him. He would love to purchase it, to ride it, and he certainly has the money to do so (even without the price listed). Yet, he doesn’t. Harry never buys the broom but instead talks himself out of it. He walks away thinking about how okay his current broom is.

fca3956017afdd8e941b1746e83e016fWalking around in Italy there are so many things to stop and look at, to purchase, to spend money on, and for some there is little reflection as to whether this is a good or bad thing. For a lot of people that’s okay, it’s what they are wired to do, what they want to do and it’s not a bad thing to do by any means. For me, instead of purchasing items, spending money on trinkets this trip is more of a reflection on my life and the work I want to eventually do. This is a trip that allows for creativity to be released and enjoyed. It’s a trip to really gain perspective on the world I live in back home while enjoying exploring a new place and it’s possibilities. For me, it’s a trip to see how to continue changing the world I live in through adopting practices of another place.

Harry’s self-awareness was key in his situation. He thought about his impact, his responsibility, and how he was going to interact with the situation presented to him. And in Italy, it’s the same for me.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed