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 Knight Bus (PoA 3)

Two finals down, one to go.

Warner-Bros.-Pictures-Harry-Potter-and-the-Prisoner-of-Azkaban-13IN this chapter we find Harry mid-flee from the Dursleys’ home.  He’s afraid. He’s nervous and anxious. He’s grasping at straws trying to figure out what his next move should be. Harry stops to make a plan when he sees a pair of huge eyes on what appears to be a dog across the street from him. He points his wand towards it and suddenly is knocked off his feet when the Knight Bus arrives. He gets on the bus and lies about who he is saying his name is Neville Longbottom. On the Bus he finds out about Sirius Black, escaped prisoner of Azkaban. The bus soon takes him the Leaky Cauldron, where harry has planned to hide out until Gringotts opens and he can get all of his money and go live like an outcast (much like Sirius Black — at least he likens himself to Sirius at this point). Harry is met by the Minister of Magic at the Leaky Cauldron. Cornelius Fudge welcomes Harry, assures Harry he is not in trouble, not expelled from Hogwarts and that Aunt Marge is alright. Harry is confused by this but even more confused as to why Fudge wants Harry to stay at the Leaky Cauldron and travel no further than Diagon Alley “under the circumstances.”

When I came to law school I had no idea what to expect. Being 27 and living my entire life in a tourist attraction, made me gravitate towards moving somewhere a little more “real.” That meant Colorado. I came to law school because it had been a life long dream that I always thought was unattainable. I spent a lot of my life helping others, helping my mother raise my siblings, helping people, being as “selfless” as someone could be. I always felt like an outcast. I always felt like someone in the background. It was easier to pretend I was a nobody (similar to Harry using Neville’s name — even though Neville is a somebody not a nobody). When I finally got the guts to leave the sparkling neon city lights I was fearful of having to be a somebody. I was so use to my life as a self-proclaimed outcast (full of ideas, full of secret plans to help reshape the world) that having to be my own person felt selfish.

There was so much to learn, so much I didn’t know about the world around me, so much to try to understand. Everyone else seemed to have a basic knowledge of the law. Everyone seemed to mesh well together. Everyone seemed so sure and confident. I started to beat myself up. I didn’t have much grace or gentleness with myself. My anxiety and depression sky rocketed, which means I became meaner and meaner to myself. I pushed myself (and still do at times) to be like everyone else. I push myself to study like everyone else, to workout more, to eat differently, to join everything, to push further and faster… and I’m exhausted. It’s hard not having a huge support system like a lot of others around me have. It’s even harder doing law school with an anxiety disorder coming in (since a lot of people develop the disorder during law school). It’s hard fighting depression when you have anxiety, but it’s not impossible.

ABA-Alcohol-Abuse-InfographMay is mental health month. Taking a look at my own life and looking at Harry’s inner thoughts in this chapter, I don’t think there is a better topic than this to cover right here and right now (during good old finals as well). Mental health is an important part of who we are. When it comes to lawyers poor mental health, alcohol abuse and substance abuse happen at alarming rates. Even in law school we constantly find ourselves drinking at events, drinking at their after those events or after every exam. We stress ourselves out studying 12 hours a day, telling ourselves that if we don’t get one of the highest grades in the class on this final that we are failures, that we are going to be kicked out of law school.

We treat ourselves like Harry does in this chapter. He is picked up by the Knight Bus, hides who he is and then lets his mind panic. He plans on being an outcast, a young wizard on the run for the rest of his life because he made a mistake. He hears about Sirius Black, whom as Harry is told killed 13-14 people including muggle because he was crazy, and Harry immediately likens himself to this crazy criminal. Harry has no one to remind him of the good inside of him. Harry is anxious, full of panic and extremely hard on himself… and why wouldn’t he be? His whole life he has been kept in a cupboard, lied to, treated as if he was the household servant. He hasn’t been loved the way Ron or Hermione has been loved. He’s been treated like an outcast, so of course his first thought is to be an outcast.

We look at our failures in law school, our grades that aren’t as high as they should be (which are arbitrary at best since there is a curve and we aren’t even trying to show we know the material, instead we are playing to the professor’s likes and dislikes in our writing), our rankings, our participation as compared to others, our involvement in activities, our defeats and more… we look at all of this and decide who we are: either the best or the worst. We are hard on ourselves, I am hard on myself. Picking yourself up when you are down your whole life will have the effect on you. Taking care of everyone else and quieting your needs so that others’ needs are fulfilled over your own leaves little room for you to know how to take care of your own.

WB_F3_TheKnightBus_SqueezingBetweenTwoBuses_HP3-FX-08Harry always took care of everyone else and in a panic he didn’t know how to take care of his own needs or how to ask for someone to help him. This is something I relate to… the thing is, you can’t live your life that way. I learned this week about something called ‘self-full’. It’s that sweet spot in between being selfless and selfish. Its that spot where your needs are recognized and acknowledged alongside the needs of others. My hope is not that I get any sort of pity from this blog… but that anyone who is struggling with anxiety, anyone who is struggling with being gentle to themselves, anyone who feels like their mental health is depreciating, anyone who is feeling selfish or selfless… anyone who needs support… my hope is that you realize you are not alone.

We need to address mental health better in law school. We need to address mental health bettering K-12 schools. We need to stop the cycle of alcohol dependency and substance abuse. We need to create Self-full people who are mindful of their feelings and their lives. We need to show people who feel like outcasts that they are not outcasts or at least don’t have to be. We need to do better at showing people grace for their mistakes. We need to create a stronger society, a mentally healthy society. Take some time today and figure out where your weaknesses are. Pinpoint were your mental health is and be gentle with yourself. That’s what I’m trying today.

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