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

 

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.

27ba7953dae09b1370738bb9368aea9a

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

Dobby’s Warning (CoS 2)

This past Wednesday we took our first final exam as 1Ls and the studying that led up to that exam was interesting. Last week’s post explored the four types of studiers in law school. Right after I wrote that post I headed to the school to meet with some peers and go over criminal law (our first exam). There in that room alone were all of the study types I just mentioned and I wouldn’t have expected anything less.

15326472_10154138209451538_6644078397780171056_nIt’s funny how law school takes over life these days. A group of us recently went up to Vail to “get away” from the stress and madness of school (bringing all of our school stuff with us in case we wanted to study). We did a pretty good job of not studying, but drinking instead, yet law school always found its way back into the conversation. They tell us not to work the first year, to really study hard, and to put our hearts and souls into it. The thing they don’t tell us though is how consuming it can become when you approach it in this manner.  It eats away at you, you end up craving it, needing to bed n the law building to have purpose, you can’t live without it, and the thought of it being taken away from you puts you so far into a panic that nothing else matters… ever.

dobby_o_298964Which brings us to this week’s Harry Potter chapter. The dinner party from chapter one is in full swing, everyone is in their places. Harry saunters up to his room to find a strange magical creature sitting on his bed, a house-elf named Dobby. Bobby is there to tell Harry not to go back to Hogwarts this fall, for bad things are going to happen to him. Bobby reveals that he’s been interfering with the mail from Harry’s friends and has been trying to make sure Harry has no incentive to go back to school. At hearing this Harry lunges at Dobby and a chase ensues down the stairs and into the living room area where Dobby magics a pudding to come crashing down on one of the dinner guests. Dobby disappears, yelling ensues and a letter comes by owl into the house. Harry has been officially warned about using magic outside of school. Uncle Vernon is enraged at both the night’s events and finding out that Harry has been lying about being able to use magic outside of school. Vernon is so upset he puts bars on Harry’s window and won’t let Harry out of his room, not even for meals. Harry becomes more and more desperate to get back to Hogwarts, and then one night, a car pulls up to his second story room window, with a familiar face looking at him.

This week’s theme: desperation and purpose.

15349604_10154140305596538_1291549508218082386_nIn the last book, Harry had finally found his purpose at Hogwarts. He finally found a place where he belonged. He made friends, found that he was good at something, and felt at home. Then returning back to his Uncle and Aunt’s house he found himself longing to be back amongst the crazy staircases and the Gryffindor dormitories. He longed to hear from his friends and to laugh with them. Having no contact from his friends, having no way to practice his magic or to fly his broom, having to keep Hedwig locked up all the time, Harry was starting to feel alone and desperate to return to his new life.

That’s the thing about law school too. Not having classes every day and a week in between each final drives each person to madness. There are people who have gone to the school each and every day to study and to feel that purpose they had when school was in session. Then there are others, like the group that went to Vail, who try to remove themselves from school but end up talking about nothing but law school. It’s expected though when we don’t have anything else going on in our lives. Without a job, without non-law school friends and the normalities of our old lives, we become consumed by school and everything it has to offer. The thing is, law school is not our only purpose in life. We have so much more to offer the world, to conquer, to explore, see and do in this world. Yet here we all sit consumed with the fear of losing something that wasn’t always part of our lives.

And sometimes the only way to stop being consumed with something is to add other things to life… As this semester wraps up, I know I’m looking to branch out a bit more. I’ve gotten a job (working at the good old Starbucks again) and I’m going to start looking for other things to add that are not law school related to my life before I become so consumed with law school that all other parts of life lose meaning… and I would challenge others to do the same.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

 

The Worst Birthday (CoS 1)

15037358_10154083719496538_8890789124630671730_nWell, there hasn’t been school in like a week and how odd that is for me at least. Thanksgiving break brought about a chance to relax and to enjoy our family and friends. Well… at least for some… a lot of people spent their breaks preparing for next week.

Before we get into what that looks like we first need to recap our first chapter of the second Harry Potter book! (Disclaimer: we are going to speed through this book… it’s my least favorite… so there will be two chapters a week until the end of it!)

Recap: We return to Number Four Privet Drive with Harry and the Dursleys. Harry is spending the summer back with his aunt and uncle, forced to keep all of his magical stuff to himself and locked away. Uncle Vernon is getting ready to have guests over for a big dinner and for some business talk. Everyone is preparing, rehearsing their lines, going over their moves and how they will greet, flatter and usher their guests around their home. And of course, Harry is to be hidden upstairs acting as if he doesn’t exist… on his birthday, of course.

Theme: As tribute to both Uncle Vernon and Final Exams starting this next week, this week’s theme is preparation!

In this chapter there are a few different types of preparation presented. You have The Uncle Vernon, The Dudley, The Aunt Petunia and The Harry Potter. The best part is they all relate to the different types of studiers I’ve seen this past week.557245bb7b0d0457bf20a7884eef4409

The Uncle Vernon: This type of studier is someone who plans every moment up to the exam. They study all the time in the days before the exam. They are independent, crafting their own study methods and advise others how to also create their own study plans. They make sure they take every past exam, work in study groups and then even harder when alone, have a meticulous outline full of all the info, and are at the school everyday studying (unless it’s a holiday then they study at home). These are the driven ones, the students who are going to stress out until they know for certain they are going to win big! They are devoted to their goals and want everything to fall into place, and will work till it does.

The Dudley: This type of studier is someone who lives under the motto: “I get by with a little help from my friends.” These are your charmers, your study group kings and queens, the people who are challenging others to help them learn. They are the smart cookies who work smarter, not harder. They work in groups to round themselves out and study with whoever they can find. They are devoted to helping others and themselves. The perfect mixture of charisma and devotion.

3dc3359c87bdd62aa4b6e6943b9633beThe Aunt Petunia: This type of studier is someone who sticks to the advice they were given by others who have gone before them. They keep to a laid out plan, following a strict plan of attack. They are quiet about their plans, about their outlines, and about what they do or do not know about the exam. They keep to themselves studying just the right way.


The Harry Potter:
This type of studier is someone who barely studies at all. They keep to themselves, hide away in a world of procrastination, have no part in the plans of others and tend to barely study. It doesn’t mean that they are slackers by any means. They just tend to stay hidden away until it’s time for the big test, working on not stressing.

Now you can be a mixture of these different study/ test-prepping types or just one, but either way it’s time to get our butts in gear and start getting ready for those first semester final exams!

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

 

Nicolas Flamel (SS13)

edb93fd4e3658850122ece26d00bee9f

This week’s post is going to a bit of a personal one. It’s going to tackle the issue of mental health and law school through a single character of this week’s Harry Potter chapter and my own struggle with mental health issues. For the longest time I struggled to understand why I thought and acted the way I do. About 1.5 years ago I ended up going to a therapist and discovered that I suffer from GAD (General Anxiety Disorder). Now to a lot of people (my old self included) having GAD is kind of like a cop out for having a messed up brain. It sounds like it everyone has this disorder and that it’s just something therapists tell you to make you feel better about your messed up reactions and strange interactions with people. It sounds like it’s something they tell you to make you have something to blame when you are irrational or overwhelmed with stress. But I ensure you it’s more than that.

For example this week I had an anxiety attack at a huge event with tons of lawyers and opportunities to network all around. To most people I just looked angry or irrational and overwhelmed, but on the inside it was like there was a war raging. I wanted to walk into this crowded room, put onto brightest smile, talk to people, laugh with my friends and then do the volunteer job I was given, but I couldn’t. I stood there petrified, my chest was tight, the room felt small, my eyes felt watery, and my brain started to nit-pick everything. It actually started before we got to the place in general and that’s what usually happens. Panic sets in, then nit-picking begins, then the overwhelming shame of not being like everyone else enjoying this event sets in, and then it all becomes too much and then it’s time to withdraw from the crowd and obsess over how you screwed up.

Looking back on my life, I don’t know exactly where anxiety became a part of me, but it’s been that way for as long as I can remember. Last year it was getting better. I refuse to go on medication for it (not that I judge those who do take medication for it) and try to really tackle it with other methods like exercise and nutrition. It was working, I could start to see where I was being irrational or tame the obsession of over analyzing an attack afterwards but in law school it’s really hard always stay a few steps ahead of my anxiety because law school creates more anxiety with every assignment and class.

In this week’s chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone while Harry, Ron and Hermione search everywhere to figure out who Nicolas Flamel is and how they can keep harry Safe during the next quidditch match (where Snape, who they think is trying to steal the sorcerer’s stone which is hidden in the school, is refereeing) there is another character who is fighting his own battle. At the beginning of the chapter we find Neville Longbottom stumbling into the Gryffindor common room, his legs stuck together with a binding curse. Hermione undoes the curse and the golden trio starts telling neville how he should fix his bullying issue with Malfoy. Hermione tells him to tell McGonagall and Ron tells him that he needs to stand up for himself more. This of course overwhelms Neville who snaps back and tells them that he doesn’t want anymore trouble and he definitely doesn’t want to be told he isn’t brave enough to be in Gryffindor by not standing up for himself. Harry, the odd voice of reason here, reassures Neville that he is worth “12 of Malfoy” and is braver than he thinks. Later they head out to the quidditch match and while Harry is out playing, Draco starts with his bullying of Neville and this time Ron in the stands. There Neville repeats what Harry said about him being 12 of Malfoy and Ron cheers him on, thus ensuing a fight where the two boys attack Draco, Crabbe and Goyle.

Neville embodies this week’s theme: standing up for yourself.

1426083437-neville_longbottom

Neville is one of those characters who will go through a major metamorphosis throughout the series. Rowling doesn’t give us much to work with in understanding why he is so timid in this book, but as the series goes on and we discover more of his story, we will start to see him not only grow but be understood better. I love this chapter because Neville and I share a lot of the same sentiment in how we view ourselves. For me, my bully is the anxiety that lives with me, constantly there to remind me I’m not as brave or smart or capable as others, for Neville he has Draco and sometimes even his friends (who don’t seem to do it on purpose). I’ve noticed though that in law school it’s not always something like an anxiety disorder that bullies people into similar thoughts. A lot of times it’s something as simple as self-doubt, stress, worry and just feeling lesser than our peers.

It’s easy to get bogged down by mental health issues and start to feel like a fraud. Neville feels like he maybe shouldn’t be a Gryffindor, and I know for myself and countless others a lot of 1L students feel like they shouldn’t be law students at all, that the school made a mistake in allowing them to attend. The key though is to start believing the opposite. When Harry tells Neville he is worth 12 of Malfoy and Neville believes it, he stands up for himself. He may have ended up getting a little too confident in trying to take on Crabbe and Goyle, but he stood up for himself and the seed of confidence was planted.

For me, after feeling like a failure in controlling my anxiety at the Law Stars event and then in a lot of my conversations and interactions after that, I found a little confidence in getting back a paper. If you remember a few blog posts back I told everyone I received one of the lowest grades in my class on a paper (that grade being an 8.4/10). This week we received our second memo back and I was almost in tears at seeing a 9.5 as a grade. Now it’s still not the best (which my perfectionist mind loves to remind me), but it’s progress and progress that give me enough confidence to go forward into the final few weeks of the semester knowing that I’m not a fraud and can handle this. It helps to quiet the bullying voice of my anxiety that keeps trying to keep me from doing great things. It helps me stand up for myself.4645bd8df0f245e1e71515fb05359f27

The key to standing up for yourself is to cherish the little triumphs. Whether it’s making great networking connections, seeing progress in classes, feeling like you understand a topic or just being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, whatever it is cherishing those moments can help you take steps forward to overcoming the doubt inside, the stress in front of you and the things trying to pull you back. Mental health is a very key part of law school, and a lot of people don’t talk about their issues. A lot of people put on a front and try to remain strong and confident in front of their peers because of the competition between us all. The thing is, not being able to talk about and share your mental health issues or experiences makes the world a very lonely place, especially when you start to find out that a lot of people around you, the ones you are hiding your problems from have the same problems and can fight the bullies alongside you. Neville would have never stood up to Draco and his goonies had Ron not fought with him and Harry not given him the nugget of courage to do so.

Mental health issues shouldn’t be something we are ashamed of, because they are part of who we are. If we shine a light on them, talk about them and share our experiences (triumphs and defeats) with others we gain more people fighting in our corner with us. There are no better triumphs then being able to face your bullies with your friends beside you. I know that I couldn’t make it through this semester without people cheering me on and pushing me forward when I just want to quit. Face your fears, face your bullies and keep moving forward with the people who care about you.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

The Wizarding World of Law School

If you follow me on Facebook at all, here’s that new writing project I promised yesterday!

This past week I started Law School, and boy has it been one heck of a ride already. For some reason though, maybe from going to HP World at Universal Studios right before heading out here to Denver, my love for Harry Potter seems to have heightened as school has started. I mean, I have a running list of people’s Hogwarts Houses from my section or friend groups at school. (Damn Gryffindors keep growing in numbers, but at least we are well-rounded with 2 Hufflepuffs so far.)IMG_9116

Long story short, I was told about this amazing podcast series (“Harry Potter and the Sacred Texts”) this past week. I highly suggested this podcast if you want to nerd out like me. After listening to the first episode of the podcast I felt inspired to start a blog that lets people know how law school is unfolding, while at the same time explores my new world, with one of my favorite worlds: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

So this blog will do just that, each week I will read 1-2 chapters of the series, juxtapose it with my week in school, and explore the themes of the chapter/life that line up. There is approx. 144 weeks until my Law School journey comes to an end, and 199 chapters of all the Harry Potter books, so buckle up and get in this flying car as we embark on this three-year journey together!

Look for the first chapter post today!

Until then….Mischief Managed!