So tonight is the night, the end of the 2017. And because of that we are going to do something a little different on this blog. Throughout the year I tend to write down things I hear or read (sometimes underlining them in books). This year I decided to sit down and read through some of them. There’s usually a theme, as you will see. Now this isn’t all of them from the entire year but it is a good portion of the ones I kept track of after my trip to Italy.
Here’s the list of some of my favorite quotes from 2017:
When you get rejected the first thing you should be doing is revive your self-esteem and not join fight club and beat it into a pulp
Self-confident people interpret feedback the way they choose to
We can’t protect what we don’t love and we can’t love what we don’t understand
If you are telling a story never make yourself the hero…no one works alone
Tragedy is never just, satisfying, but not just
Systems can’t give mercy, only individuals can
Decent people are the easiest to manipulate
Lean into the discomfort of work
Courage- tell who you are with your whole heart
What made them vulnerable made them beautiful
To let ourselves be seen, deeply seen; to love with our whole hearts even though there’s no guarantee, to practice gratitude and joy even in the face of terror; to believe we are enough
We all spend our twenties and thirties trying so hard to be perfect, because we’re so worried about what people will think of us. Then we get into our forties and fifties, and we finally start to be free, because we decide that we don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of us. But you wont’ be completely free until you reach your sixties and seventies, when you finally realize this liberating truth- NOBODY WAS EVER THINKING ABOUT YOU, ANYHOW.
I gave up on being Nice. I started putting more value on other qualities instead: passion, bravery, intelligence, practicality, humor, patience, fairness, sensitivity. Those last three might seem like they are covered by “nice,” but make no mistake, they are not. A person who smiles a lot and remembers everyone’s birthday can turn out to be undercover crazy, a compulsive thief, and boring to boot. I don’t put a lot of stock in nice. I’d prefer to be around people who have any of the above qualities over “niceness,” and I’d prefer it if that applied to me, too. I’m also okay if the most accurate description of me is nervous, and a little salty. But at least I know what I want to strive for.
I thrive in structure. I drown in chaos.
I love rules and I love following them, unless that rule is stupid.
Without bravery, he instructed, they would never be able to realize the vaulting scope of their own capacities.Without bravery, they would never know the world as richly as it longs to be known. Without bravery their lives would remain small– far smaller than they probably wanted their lives to be.
Experience has taught me to be careful of meeting your heroes in person: it can be terribly disappointing.
There are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill, and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle.
Your Gut knows what’s up. Trust that Bitch.
Well here’s to a great 2018. I hope it brings you everything you want and more. Stay positive. Stay Bright. Stay Light. Stay Weird. Stay You. And keep reading the Wizarding World of Law School!
Have you ever watched those Real Housewives shows? I know you have, don’t try to freaking lie, we all love to watch these rich ladies get plastered and argue and fight with each other over silly things. I mean who wouldn’t love to be one of them?? Personally I live for the escape from reality into “reality tv” or really any dramatic television show. I love these scripted shows where you can tell the writers have been sitting in a small room pouring their mind power out to create a script full of “unexpected” tricky twists and turns… the joke of it all is if you watch enough tv or read enough books, these unexpected twists are pretty predictable.
I once had a a high school english teacher, Ms. Fagan, tell us that every story is the same because every story is one about the human condition. Meaning that every story we read, listen to, talk about, tell, or watch is the same story. We all suffer, we all rejoice, we all have hang-ups, we all tell lies, we all deceive one another, we are all selfish, we all love, we all endure heartbreak… every story has already been told because we are all human. But in law school that is sometimes THE HARDEST THING TO REMEMBER. Therefore, this blog’s theme is this “the unexpected mixed metaphor.” Fascinating right? Here’s the recap and I’ll explain how this theme fits after.
Chapter 22- The Unexpected Task
Well, well, well… Looks like Hogwarts is gonna have Yule Ball… which means the boys and girls need to pair off and have dates. Nothing sends panic down someone’s spine, especially teenagers, but really anyone who doesn’t have a date, like a fancy dance. Also, nothing brings out the truth of how we view one another like a dance. Everyone is pairing off in this chapter. Ron does the unthinkable and tries to get a date with Fleur by shouting at her. lol Hermione has a secret date. Harry and Ron end up with Parvati and Padma. And everyone is so mean to Neville… except Ginny.
Chapter 23- The Yule Ball
Of course hormones and nerves are running high. There’s dancing, and a wizard rock band. There are secret rendezvous in the gardens, overheard conversations about Hagrid being part giant and lots of snagging. Oh did we mention Ron’s jealousy is back when he sees Hermione with Viktor Krum? So much teenage angst. It’s a dance, there’s not much to say here.
Chapter 24- Rita Skeeter’s Scoop
Here she is to ruin the day again! Rita Skeeter’s scoop is that Hagrid is half-giant… which every is like “oh no, that’s horrible, he will kill our children in the night, kill the beast!” Wait, that’s the wrong Emma Watson movie. But nevertheless, apparently being part giant is horrible and Hagrid stops teaching for a bit and everyone learns about unicorns instead of other magical animals… and if some of these kids are from Scotland, shouldn’t they already know about their country’s animal? I don’t understand why they need a couple classes about unicorns… roll my eyes. Well, on the other hand Ludo Bagman is shady AF. Tries to break the rules and offer Harry help with his next task… isn’t this man leading this tournament? Seems weird to me… anyone else? Harry of course says no (which i guess is a good tell of his character… but realistically what teenager would say no?) And then Cedric tells Harry how to crack the screeching egg code by taking a bath.
Chapter 25- The Egg and the Eye
Harry of course is a bit pig-headed and refuses to heed Cedric’s advice. He sulks around pretending to have solved the egg clue already, lying to everyone until it’s almost too late and then he sneaks off after hours. He goes to the Prefect bathroom to take a giant bubble bath with his sidekick Moaning Myrtle the total pervert there to watch. She tells him to open the egg under water and stick his head down there. He hears the mermaid’s voice tell him hints about the next task. On his way back to bed he gets caught a trap stair and then gets caught by Moody after an almost run in with Flich and Snape. Nevertheless in true Harry fashion he is let off the hook for being out after hours and heads to bed. Lucky lucky…
A mixed metaphor is my absolute favorite english device in the world. It’s simple really, you take two metaphors and mix them together. For example: “Don’t go in there with cold turkey on your face.” The separate metaphors are: 1) Going cold turkey; and 2) Don’t go in there with egg on your face. See? Simple and cheeky. Alright, so how does this simple english device relate to law school, television, and Harry Potter? Well it’s simple really. Life is one large box of unexpected and expected mixed metaphors. Sure, sometimes life is just a single metaphor: “an endless night;” “anger bottled up inside;” “battle of the egos.” Those are expected. We all endure these… until we have “an endless bottled up battle of the egos.” Then we are like WTF is happening in my life!?!
Law school is a freaking series of these moments. Once you think you have battled the final essay, passed the last final of the semester, and can catch your breath, law school stops you and tells you to “take a flying hike.” And there you are standing in the middle of a cold dark room feeling like someone “shot the wind out of your saddle.” You just stand there feeling like you “have to get all your ducks on the same page.” And that seems impossible.
But that’s the thing. Life is not scripted like television. It’s not written like Harry Potter. There aren’t all of these expected twists and turns. There aren’t just Yule Balls and the expected reactions of teenagers needing to find dates or giants being outed. Now sometimes things do happen, and you may still be like, what the heck?!? or you may be like, oh I got this. And maybe law school is the same way for many people, but I know for me, it’s a series of mixed metaphors, a series of events that constantly leave me feeling confused and “sweating like a bullet.” But isn’t that what we signed up for? We signed up to have Rita Skeeter’s misinforming the world about who we are or leaking our worst traits to the world. We signed up to feel confused and uncertain… and since the world keeps on spinning and churning out the same stories over and over again, we know that on the other side of all these mixed metaphors and unexpected chaotic moments, we will be stronger.
So really I guess all of this is to say that while law school feels unmanageable at times, and we feel like a bag of confusing garble, television, books, and the human condition tell us that we are going to make it through. We will all end up with dates to the Yule Ball, we will figure out the egg clues, and we will make it to see another day. You got this… and congrats on making it to winter break. Now get offline and go do something unexpected, unscripted, and above all else, something fun!
The things about the second year of law school is everyone can start to deep dive into what they are passionate about. For me it’s Food Law, an up and coming part of law that most people scratch their heads at… except the 200 people I just spent a weekend with this past November at UCLA. The Food Law Student Leadership Summit, put on by Harvard and UCLA, is a conference where students from all over the country meet to tackle food policy issues as well as learn form some of the top food law professors and speakers in the United States. It’s an amazing conference that tackles all food related issues, from agriculture to labor laws, from foraging to SNAP programs. I met so many amazing people who want to tackle food issues! It was so nice to be surrounded by people who are also passionate about food topics.
This blogs chapters are a doozy. From wand weighing (which let’s be real, it sounds a bit like a penis contest to me… which my friend Kevin would tell you that’s all Harry Potter is about anyways… boys fighting over wands) to fighting dragons, to fighting to break social norms… it definitely feels like Hogwarts is more like law school than it is a magical school. This week’s theme is “weighing the heavy stuff.”
Chapter 18- The Weighing of Wands
So the chapter before this had everyone acting like little babies, whining that Harry put his name in the Goblet of Fire and it wasn’t fair… everyone forgetting that Harry is trying to be killed by Voldemort… so clearly this was all Harry’s doing because he loves danger (which he probably does… because he’s sometimes an arrogant little jerk) and wants to die. Anyways, now Harry and the other champions have to go through a want weighing ceremony with Rita Skeeter (the worst human reporter on the planet… which some may argue is what JK Rowling thinks of all tabloid reporters) lurking around. Why they have to get their wands weighed is beyond me… it seems very silly especially when Ollivander gave most of them their wands anyways… and by most I mean Harry and Cedric (that’s half right? and Harry’s ego counts for two people…amirite? haha). Anyways… they weigh wands and Rita Skeeter writes weird stuff about Harry being so young and innocent.
Chapter 19- The Hungarian Horntail
Ron of course is still not talking to Harry and everyone hates harry like normal, now they just have pins that say ‘Potter Stinks’. Nevertheless Hagrid the friendly giant shows Harry what the first task will involve. Hagrid fancies the giantess leader of the Beauxbatons school and also shows her the first task. Harry is like “whoa what the heck, I’m a little boy, those are big dragons, this is insane, i’m going to die, boohoo.” Then he tells Cedric and Ron acts moody.
Chapter 20- The First Task
The first task comes upon them. Moody hints to Harry what he should do and Harry freaks out. Hermione helps Harry practice the Accio spell. Ron keeps his distance. The first task day arrives. Everyone picks out their dragons. Harry is the last to go… he gets the Horntail and everyone survives the dragon task. Harry uses a broom…Swoosh swoosh, he also survives and ties Krum for first place. Now Harry and the other champions have to figure out the weird egg they got.
Chapter 21- The House-Elf Liberation Front
With the first task behind him, everyone celebrates. Ron becomes Harry’s friend again (dammit Ron why are you like this?) and Harry opens the egg to only hear screeching. (I get that this synopsis is weird, but this whole book is weird…and not one of my favorites because teenagers are so freaking moody, but so are law students so I guess it works.) Rita Skeeter bothers everyone, goes after Hagrid for an interview. Fred and George tell Hermione how to get to the kitchen where the House-elves are and she finds Dobby and WInky (Crouch’s old house-elf) working int he kitchens. She’s bothered by this. Hermione becomes even more determined to help these house-elves get paid and respected, even though Winky and every other elf besides Dobby don’t want to be paid. And then everyone laughs about Percy being a stuck-up brown noser.
Oy vey… I understand why they cut so much of this for the movie… while I enjoy Hermione’s activism I don’t think too many audiences would want to watch her going on about elves. BUT I DO ENJOY READING ABOUT IT, BECAUSE GIRL POWER! It’s heavy stuff to take on when nobody else really cares… sometimes that’s how being into food law feels. There aren’t many opportunities to get involved in food law the way want to get into it. Just yesterday my mentor told me that he didn’t know how to help me find opportunities to do the work I want to do. He said it was interesting that I have decided to build my career on a social cause.
What is that social cause? Changing the idea that food is a privilege into the idea the food is a fundamental right. And what do I mean by food? I’m not talking about processed, packaged food filled with hidden sugars and preservatives, I’m talking about healthy, regionally grown food options. A lot of people don’t understand what I’m talking about, because they have food, fridges full of packaged food, freezers stuffed full of frozen chicken nuggets and pizzas. People who think they are unaffected by food deserts or food swamps are mistaken. Just because you can afford to buy food from he local grocery store, doesn’t mean you haven’t been duped into buying unnatural harmful food items… and that you aren’t making yourself sick.
But where does the weighing of heavy things come into play here? You see when Ron saw Harry defeat the dragon to win his first task, all of a sudden Ron was back on Harry’s side. He knew there was no way Harry was trying to elevate himself by putting himself in the line of dragon-breath fire. So his mind changed. However, when it came to Hermione’s cause, both boys still just couldn’t understand why she would ever want to tackle something that appeared so meaningless to them. They couldn’t understand the cause because it didn’t effect them… at least not directly. They were taught that this was normal, that house-elves were meant to be “slaves” to their masters. That these house-elves were just doing what they were supposed to do in society. And the house-elves (except Dobby) believed that too.
On the idea of food rights vs. food privileges, we’ve all been brainwashed into believing that the way we consume and view food is the normal. It’s the way food is meant to be consumed. But what if there was more to it? What if we actually took the time to understand what we were putting in our bodies? I mean, I’m a prime example of following social norms… I’m sitting in Starbucks drinking yet another drink because they gave it to me for free… I know it has an immense amount of sugar, but here I sit drinking it because that’s what I’ve always done (and I’m addicted to sugar).
And that’s just it, Starbucks, Fast-food, Processed food, easy food options… they are a way to make someone rich at the top, and make people sick at the bottom. Does it seem like I’m being dramatic?? Of course it does, because in America, freedom is being able to get a venti $8 drink from starbucks and a piece of desert bread or a donut to start your day. It’s not about being able to eat healthy or nourish your body, mind, and spirit, no it’s about nourishing someone else’s checkbook and wallet at the cost of your health.
Now, to add onto that, a lot of you know I work at Starbucks, and I have for a little over 10 years now… and here I am to tell you about the moral dilemma I have with that decision regularly. Literally 20-40 hours a week I push sugary drinks and unhealthy food options on people and their dogs (dammit people STOP GIVING YOUR DOGS DAIRY FILLED SUGAR! THEY WILL DIE!). I hate it, but yet, Starbucks helps pay for my overly expensive apartment (thought they pay me minimum wage to work like a house-elf which does not nearly make it worth it most days). Nevertheless I stay. nevertheless I give people drinks full of sugar and fat to start their day. Nevertheless, I regrettably watch kids get cake pops and parents give their children milk full of sugar. Nevertheless I stand there and watch the unhealthy epidemics of capitalism take a toll on society, because that’s what I’ve been told to do, taught to do, and can’t find a way to get out of it.
In law school these are the things that weigh heavy on your soul. You see the injustices of the world, and yet while you want to change it, while you want to stop just mindless going along like a Ron and Harry, and you want to be a Hermione… society stacks the odds against you. Society tells you to not bite the hand that feeds you, to do what you are told or you’ll end up a societal reject. So in order to have a place to live, in order to have a life… I continue to work and continue to spread the problems that I morally and ethically struggle with each and every day.
BUT that can change, and in 2018 I will be changing that. No that doesn’t mean I am going to straight up quit my Starbucks gig outright (remember I need the paycheck, even if it is small). You see each year I choose a word for the year, a word I try to live by. This past year, I didn’t do that, and well this past year has felt like a freaking mess the entire year… see what happens when you aren’t intentional with your year? So 2018 here’s the word: Self-care and Self-love. That’s right two words! 2018 will be about me, and not in the narcissistic way. No, this next year I will set goals and focus on taking care of myself starting with the food I consume.Sure, I cannot change the way every single person relates to food. I cannot give everyone access to good food all at once. At least, not yet, but I can start by changing the way I approach food and the things I eat… that means i’m unhooking myself from the sugar train, the coffee train, and meat trains and instead hooking myself to the veggies, fruits and fish trains. That’s right, I’m going Pescatarian in 2018. It’s not going to be easy, and I anticipate it not being perfect either. I anticipate their being minor slip-ups, and minor breakdowns over not getting to eat whatever I want whenever I want (dammit, there goes my American FREEDOM), but it will be worth it. So stay tuned.
The whole purpose of this is to show people that while we cannot change all the injustices in the world as we see them, we can change the way we interact with the things that weigh heavy on our hearts and it starts with ourselves. Hermione shows us that, she shows us how heavy this whole house-elf system weighs heavy on her, and how she truly tries to make others aware. Yet, Hermione cannot undo the brainwashing of all of those around her, but she can live her own truth. In law school, we are sometimes the Hermiones, trying to change the world, but feeling alone… but we can change the world for one or two more people or even ourselves if we would just truly try… and by changing your own ways of interacting with injustices in the world, you just might inspire someone else to change how they interact with the world.
So take inventory, what’s weighing heavy on your heart and mind? And then what can you do about it in your own life to change it? Maybe it’s being less materialistic, maybe it’s to stop drinking alcohol, maybe it’s to start volunteering more, maybe it’s to go and start living your passions and truths… maybe it’s just to start taking care of yourself a little more. Whatever it is, go and do it… you’ll be happy you did.
About a month ago I said I was done with this blog. I said it was too much to have on my plate alongside all of my client work and class work… but I’m back for two reasons:
Someone recently said that I tend to give up on things when things get hard… Challenge accepted to change that
I recently read a book that said if you are passionate about something you treat it like a wild affair, you dress up and make time for it… what’s sexier than a writing affair?
Before I left for law school a friend told me to never forget my first true passion: writing. I smiled and said I wouldn’t, but it’s easy to forget passions that aren’t directly tied to the law when in law school. Sure we write a lot in law school, but for the most part its dry, mechanic writing, with very few chances to write those long, verbose, passionate, and illustrative paragraphs that creative writing allows for.
I woke up this morning longing for the creative writing that I’ve been putting on hold for so long. I laid on my couch trying to push away the thoughts of deadlines, memos, legal questions, and all of the other chores the weekend was beckoning me to start. I laid on the couch trying to push away the excuses that were building, asking me to not sit down and write. I laid on the couch trying to push through the fears of failure, perfectionism, regret, and insecurities that forced me to stay put and not get up and write. It’s funny how the universe speaks to us. How the universe quietly whispers that we should push ourselves to be our best selves, our most true selves while the world yells at us to be something different, to be better, to keep reaching because we will never be enough.
It’s up to us to choose what voice to listen to… the small whisper or the loud yelling. SO here I sit, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire sitting next to me, a triple vent salted caramel mocha (a free one!! yay!!) and my computer. It’s both exhilarating and terrifying to jump back into this writing. But here we go…
First things first… we are shaking things up a bit because one reason I wanted to quit was the vastness of this project. Taking on all 7 books, every chapter its own blog started to feel overwhelming and impossible. There just weren’t enough weeks before graduation to make every chapter its own blog. So instead… for the rest of Book 4 I will be combining chapters 14-37 into six sections, each section four chapters. So as you see in the title of this blog we are covering four chapters, chapters 14-17. I will still give a brief synopsis of the main events happening in the chapters and pick a central theme which this week is “The unforgivable curses of law school.” So shall we dive right in??
Chapter 14- The Unforgivable Curses
You might remember this scene in movie four. Moody teaches his Defense Against the Dark Arts class the unforgivable curses (the Cruciatus curse, the Imperious curse, and the killing curse). Ron names the first curse, Neville the second, and Hermione the third. What you didn’t see in the movie was Hermione’s continuing quest to help house elves through the creation of S.P.E.W. (Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare), Ron and Harry faking their divination predictions, or Sirius’s letter to Harry saying he was heading back north because of Harry’s scar hurting. (Also in the movie I’m pretty sure this all happens after the next chapter… lol movie magic.)
Chapter 15- Beauxbatons and Durmstrang
In this chapter, Sirius arrives back in the country (hidden of course). Beauxbatons, a french school (of BOTH girls and BOYS, unlike the movie) and Durmstrang, a school who doesn’t want anyone to know where its located arrives! Of course that means Viktor Krum, Bulgarian Quidditch star also arrives. All of the Hogwarts students are of course still in awe… and Hermione is still trying to get people to buy her S.P.E.W. badges to help her cause, but no one is biting.
Chapter 16- The Goblet of Fire
A feast occurs, because this is Hogwarts and why wouldn’t there be a magical feast, oh and its Halloween so of course that means a feast and not candy… what the hell are we doing in America?!? Of course the rules of the Goblet of Fire and Triwizard Tournament are announced, everyone boos because you have to 17… the twins try to figure out a way around the rules, hermione tells them they are ridiculous, people speculate at who is putting their name and who will be the champions. Eventually the night comes to announce the winners…. you have Fleur from Beaxbatons, Krum from Durmstrang, Diggory from Hogwarts… and SURPRISE, SURPRISE Harry Mother’effen Potter.
Chapter 17- The Four Champions
OMG everyone is in shock… how dare Harry put his name in the Goblet and how dare the Goblet name four champions? Clearly nothing bad or weird has occurred here… this is normal. Oh and its a magical contract… interesting the way wizarding laws work. Anyways from this chapter the masterful Old Dumbledore vs. New Dumbledore casting crisis of the movie is born from the line “Did ya put your name in the Goblet of Fire?” My good old friend Hank loves to use this line as evidence that the old Dumbledore was far superior to the new Dumbledore. Anyways everyone is upset and Ron starts acting like a jealous twit… end of the chapter.
So how does this theme of the “unforgivable curses of law school” track throughout these four chapters? Well the unforgivable curses are insecurities, jealousy, and pride. Think of them this way: Cruciatus (the pain inducing curse)= insecurities, Imperius (being controlled by someone else curse)= jealousy, and the killing curse (AVADA KEDAVRA)= pride. Let’s see, Ron is insecure, jealous, and prideful throughout all of these chapters. Durmstrang as a whole is sickeningly prideful. Hermione is prideful. Harry is insecure. Each character is struggle with some sort of harmful curse… as does every law student.
It’s like the second you walk into the law school you are hit with one of these curses (if not all three). I remember first year I felt so insecure. I wanted to make friends so bad (and if you know me at all most people do not like me at first and call me “mean” or “bitchy”) and I tried so hard. I cannon balled into friend groups as if they were nice warm swimming pools, and sure enough those people in the pool did not like being splashed and left the pool. I started to wear my insecurities on my chest like a brazened red A of shame. I felt alone, hurting on my own, longing to go home and quit this whole law school mess.
After first semester it got worst because grades came out and I unfortunately did not make the cut. So add jealousy to the mix. I started doing whatever I could to mirror the successful people in my section… which led to more issues and more people being like “ohhh awkward, not helping you, goodbye.” Law school is hard, and even worse when you realize you may not have much to offer to the people you want to be friends with and law school is not a team sport no matter how much we want it to be. So I started to get frustrated and started to act in accordance with the social norms of law school… I repeat, law school is not a team sport, everyone is on their own. (Don’t believe me, ask my old roommate who explicitly told me we had to do things on our own when we just the night before talked about running for student government together and then she went rogue making her own flyers that night without me. Law school is not a team sport, and even more so for those who are the weaker links.)
So, first semester sucked, reality of poor grades made second semester worse… then the summer happened, my GPA rose and so did my pride. I entered into the second year, a little less likely to put up with people’s shit, still insecure, thinking I was independent, alone and didn’t need anyone telling me otherwise… the thing is, the universe doesn’t put up with that crap. The universe will be the first one to knock you down… hence why pride is the killing curse, because if you become prideful, the universe will knock it out of you. So here I sit, trying to figure out what to do next.
Law school brings out the nasty in people, the drive, the jealousy, the pride, the insecurities, the bitchy side and so much more. But we get through it, we get through law school and out into the world and we do what we were meant to do… the key is to not let these curses define you, but make you better. Pick the small whispering voice you want to listen to and listen closely. Don’t let law school define you, don’t let you hang-ups define you, and always choose New Dumbledore over Old Dumbledore… there’s no way Old Dumbledore could have kicked as much ass as the New one does in the 6th movie.
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.
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.
It’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
I came into law school already knowing exactly what I want to do with my career. Law school is a strange place, not everyone walks in the door knowing what they want to do. Most people have an idea whether they would like to do litigation or transactional work, public sector vs. private sector work, or a general area of law they are interested in exploring. As time goes on, everyone starts to find a practice area they are passionate about pursuing.
In this chapter, a lot happens, but one of my favorite story lines truly starts to emerge. Sure, there’s the typical beginning of the school-year feast, the sorting, and an announcement that two other wizarding schools will be coming to Hogwarts to participate in the Tri-Wizard Tournament. However, most importantly Hermione’s interest in house elf rights starts to really develop. After learning that house elves make all of the food in the school she refuses to eat.
I love this interaction between Hermione and her friends. Hermione’s friends all try to talk her out of being so “dramatic.” When Hermione starts to really stand-up for something she believes is a problem, but to most people is just a normality of wizard life, she pushes back.
Law school has some parallels. A lot of times people get comfortable with the traditional approaches to the law. We attend doctrinal classes, learn the law the way it is and has always been, we focus on the way we’ve always done things, and we stop questioning how to make things more efficient and more approachable. There’s a time and a place for tradition, but it’s pioneers like Hermione who shake things up. Hermione is challenging the status quo to make a group of individuals lives better.
My goal upon leaving law school is to also shake things up. I’ve never been someone to follow the traditional paths of the world. My path may never have a lot of people on it, but it works to connect people. Being original is hard in an institute that wants to make another lawyer to take their place in the cog of the legal world. But you have to be a Hermione when you have a good cause that you are passionate about.
So if you are not doing what you are passionate about, or if you are like me and sometimes start to feel the encroaching despair of not being like everyone else… DO. NOT. GIVE. IN. TO. WHAT. YOUR. FRIENDS. SAY. YOU. SHOULD. DO.
Stand up for what you believe in. Be weird. Be different. Be unique. Be passionate. Be Hermione.
“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.
Faculty 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.
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.