The Dementor’s Kiss and Hermione’s Secret (PoA 20 & 21)

On a different note from my last post, as I finish Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at the same time summer comes to an end I want to take these last 3 chapters (2 blog posts) to sort of reflect on my summer. Now I had a pretty epic summer. I went to Italy, I earned 10 credits, I started to pull my GPA out of the hole I put it in first semester, I made some new friends and may have lost some old ones, but most importantly of all I found this incredible strength to keep moving forward and found that second chances are abundant.

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The tribe that started it…

I went into this summer a little stressed. Last fall when finals came around the stress monster started to take over. The result was a poor grade in a class I thought would be my highest grade and a truly low GPA. It’s hard to keep your head up when you’ve surrounded yourself with people who are truly brilliant and don’t seem to be struggling at all. So everything was now riding on the spring semester. During this time stress was constantly running high. I went to class and stress levels would skyrocket. I would go home to study and be stressed. Every choice, every decision, every interaction was nothing but stressful. So as finals wrapped up and I packed my stuff up to head out to Italy, I couldn’t shake the stress.

Now I enjoyed Italy, it was a great experience, full of life and laughter and plenty of pasta. Yet, I was stressed the entire time. Between my own anxiety and dealing with other people’s anxiety over grades, being in a foreign country, reading assignments, law review write-ons and more I couldn’t help but feel anxious every day. I wanted to be chill. I wanted to just lay on the beach every day without a care in the world, but I couldn’t.

When I got back from Italy, the stress of finals, an externship, a part-time job and dealing with friend issues all got to be too much. I felt like I was on the brink of losing it. I wanted to cry everyday. Things that were perfectly fine to be upset about on a micro level, exploded all over the place. Hiking mountains resulted in tears, dealing with an actual crisis resulted in bigger problems to deal with later. Everything felt like it was spiraling. Nothing felt safe. Nothing felt okay. Everything felt like another boulder being added to my bag to carry. IMG_1575

And then something changed.

IN these two chapters the gang heads back towards the castle with Peter in tow. But as the night unfolds, Lupin turns into a werewolf, Peter gets away, Sirius is injured and almost has his soul sucked out by dementors (alongside Harry), Sirius is taken into captivity again, Hermione and Dumbledore let harry in on a secret, Hermione and Harry go back in time to save Buckbeak and Sirius and rush back so no one knows they have messed with the way things unfold.

One of the key moments in this chapter, something that gives Harry strength is when Sirius asks Harry to live with him instead of the Durselys. Of course all hope of this is lost when Peter gets away, but in the moment, when Harry needs to save himself, Hermione and Sirius from the Dementor’s Kiss, that moment gives him the power to conjure one of the strongest Patronus charms anyone has ever seen out of Harry’s age group.

For me, this summer that strength has come in a few spread out moments. One of them was when I decided to take back my life from my anxiety, to become independent again and head back to living on my own. Another moment came from raising my GPA back up to a 3.0. Another moment was getting word that I wouldn’t be losing my scholarship and last but not least it has been in getting grades back form my summer classes. At the end of the day I am not my anxiety and my anxiety is not me.

mary-grandpre-rescue-of-sirusWhen you have a mental disorder such as depression or anxiety, it threatens to constantly consume your entire life. People define you by it, they tell you things like “oh, it’s just your anxiety”, “Oh you must be on the track towards a depressed state.” And you do it towards yourself. You start to make excuses for the way you act when you are actually upset about how you’ve been treated or the circumstances at hand. You start to apologize for ever getting upset about something that you should actually be upset about. You change the way you act, you change the way you speak, you change so much about yourself to fit into this anxious role you now only see yourself starring in.

Choosing to no longer live this way: the best damn decision one can make. It’s a second chance, a way to change your own life. And that’s exactly what I plan on doing this second year of law school. Don’t get me wrong, law school is a great place for people, it’s just not my actual favorite place. It’s competitive, it’s a horse and pony show for those who need ego boosts, it’s unforgiving at times, it’s difficult to navigate. But in the end it’s rewarding in reflecting to you who you are and then showing you who you truly want to be.

Sirius Black was made out to be a murderer, then actually almost became one, then almost died and then was brought back into custody to be killed and then was given a second chance at life with Hermione and Harry’s rescue. Sure, he now goes on the run, but he’s been given a chance to no longer live int he role of a murderer seeking revenge. Getting to start a new school year feels similar. We are no longer stuck in the sections we were assigned, we get a chance to pick our classes, meet new people and step out of our comfort zones. We get the chance to start anew, to start fresh, to explore more of who we are as compared to who we thought we were. IMG_1101

Looking back on this summer I was able to truly connect with a side of me I no longer really knew. I was able to step back and see what I wanted, explore who I wanted to be and appreciate who I already am. And we will now wait and see who I become this next year, this fresh start of a school year… the 2L year.

We’ve got one more post to wrap this book today… so stay tuned.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

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Cat, Rat, and Dog (PoA 17)

Law school, being in a new place and being somewhat alone out here has made me really dig deep and learn about myself. At the beginning of the first semester I was working super hard to make friends and to keep up with people who seemed to have it all together, to be super outgoing, and 100% friendly all the time. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, you need to step up your game to survive here. These people are brilliant, friendly, put together and don’t seem to have anything they are struggling with in their lives.” And so I set off to purchase things that looked like people from Colorado’s wardrobe and I started trying to do outdoorsy things on the weekends and farmers’ markets here and there. I worked so hard to keep up with a new lifestyle, a new me, a new school regiment, a new routine, and my old life… until one day, I realized something: things are rarely what they seem.

In this chapter Ron is attacked and dragged under the Whomping Willow to the Shrieking Shack by the Grim dog that Harry keeps seeing everywhere throughout this book. Hermione and Harry follow Crookshanks (Hermione’s Cat) to Ron and come face to face, not with a dog, but with Sirius Black. Harry and Black yell and argue and steal wands and threaten to kill one another. Harry goes to kill Black and Crookshanks steps in. Lupin arrives, says he hasn’t been helping Black but is happy to see him. Black and Lupin ask for Ron’s rat and tell him it’s not an actual rat, but Peter Pettigrew. Turns out Pettigrew’s not dead after all, Lupin saw him on the marauder’s map… how does he know the map isn’t lying? He made it! or at least he helped since he’s Mooney! Ahhh so good.

The Cat: Friend of the Dog

The Rat: Peter Pettigrew

The Dog: Sirius Black

Professor Lupin: Werewolf and Sirius Black friend

Me: “The heck?”

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How in world did all this happen?  I mean I’ve rad these books a million times and seen the movies, so this go around I knew what was going to happen, but I imagine this being my reaction the first time I read this book. However, no matter how many times I read this scene it always brings to mind that we cannot ever really know the whole truth about someone or something, but if we trust our instincts we can know more than we think.

Hermione plays this out beautifully. She really believes that Lupin is there to help them and then realizes Lupin knows Sirius. She yells out to him a series of “how dare you, I trusted you” statements and reveals Lupin’s werewolf secret. Lupin replies that Hermione is off her game, that the only thing true about what she is saying is the werewolf part. Lupin didn’t help Sirius into the castle or wants Harry dead, he’s seeing Sirius for the first time in a very long time. Things aren’t as they seem to Hermione at first glance, what she knows in her heart to be true, what she trusts in her gut, those are the true things about Lupin.

IMG_9465Walking into law school, beginning something so new is intimidating. People talk HUGE game coming into this world because they want to be seen as people who have their lives put together and are super smart. Law school orientation and the first semester up until finals feels like a first date with your peers. You try to make everything rosy and cheery ALL THE TIME. You go to their every friday, you hangout on the weekends, you host dinners and work hard to make friends… but then, something changes. The dogs turn into people, the rats turn into people, and the cats befriend dogs.

People start to become human again. We stop seeing everyone as these cheery, well-manicured, overly intelligent, out-of-reach aspirations and start seeing their messy sides. We start seeing how people react under stress and how they deal with uncertainty. We start seeing people have breakdowns. We stop seeing the always in a blazer looking nice individuals and start seeing them all in sweat pants and messy buns. We start to feel like people have lied to us, have betrayed our trust by not being genuine or authentic with us, but who is it that really betrayed us?

The answer is ourselves. Everyone around us in law school is having the same thoughts: Will people like me? Will people think I’m smart? Will I be able to keep up? Should I even be here? Am I going to get kicked out? … The list goes on and on. Some people are really good at hiding it, but everyone has a tell. Everyone has a small tear in their facade. We can either choose to ignore it and pretend we never saw it placing everyone up higher on a pedestal than we place ourselves, OR we can choose to see it, not say anything but realize that we are all in this together and know that we are not alone.

IMG_0204Each and every day, no matter where you are, you get to make this decision. Even just scrolling through social media, you get to make the decision to either believe this person’s life is just as perfect as these snapshots lay them out to be, or you can choose to appreciate the moment they shared with the world, knowing that it is only that: a moment in what is probably a very crazy life full of bright and dark moments. Trust yourself on this one. Make sure you are being self-aware and really taking time to judge where you are, what you are doing and how that aligns with what you want out of life and not what others appear to have in their lives. You won’t be sorry you did this. Make it a habit. Make it part of your everyday.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed.

PS. This is also a great reason to do a social media detox. I plan on doing one this October for two weeks…more to come on this topic, but start thinking about joining me, I promise it’s a great way to get your mind offline and back into real life.

The Qudditch Final and Prof. Trelawney’s Prediction (PoA 15 & 16)

This Morning:

5:20AM- Wake up and notice the laptop that was on my bed is MISSING! Peer over edge expecting to see it has fallen, but alas just the power cord was down there. Looks under bed… no laptop there. Feels under pillow it was next to when going to sleep… no laptop there. Panic sets in.

5:25AM- “Did someone break into my room while I was sleeping and steal my laptop?”, “Did my roommate think my netflix was too loud and take my computer to the living room so she could sleep?”, “Did her parents do it?”, “Why would someone take my laptop? I need it for my life to function.”

5:27AM- Quietly sneak into living room where roomie is sleeping to test out theory. No luck. “Why would I even think this? She’d never actually take it. BUT THEN WHO STOLE MY LAPTOP?!”

5:29AM- PANIC… toss covers back, move pillows… “HOW THE HECK DID IT GET UNDER THE PILLOW I’VE BEEN SLEEPING ON?!?”

5:30AM- plugs computer back in and goes back to sleep.

7:00AM- snoozes alarm

7:10AM- gets up, uses phone, texting boyfriend, sets phone down to make breakfast and pack lunch.

7:38AM- Replies to a text, leaves phone to go eat

7:43AM- Returns to phone to find it won’t turn on! “UGH, WHY IS TECHNOLOGY HATING ON ME SO BAD TODAY”

7:46AM- gives up on trying to revive phone, leaves house, gets gas… yells at every slow driver on the road to work.

8:18AM- sits down at desk, Google phone issue, gets phone to turn back on.

What a morning. The reason I tell this story is not only because I find this morning to have been ridiculous and a bit unnecessary, but also because I think it illustrates an important lesson in dealing with peaks and valleys. I went to bed pretty excited about getting my hair done later today and only having a few more days of work this week. I woke up to a series of events that would cause me to panic and feel super anxious, and then yell at other innocent drivers on the road. My anxiety wasn’t helped by having dreams of being left behind at the airport and almost missing my flights to Europe with friends from my Italy trip. IMG_1717

So to be in line with the theme I’ve discovered in reading these to chapters I created a sub-title to this post: “How to Deal with Peaks and Valleys without Losing Your Sanity and Alienating Your Friends.

We see a lot happen in these two chapters. In “The Quidditch Final” Hermione and Ron reconcile their differences over helping Hagrid who must now appeal the decision to execute Buckbeak. Draco taunts Hermione to the point were she slaps him across the face. The three prepare to take finals, help Hagrid, and either play in or attend the final match between Slytherin and Gryffindor. Match day comes and the Slytherins play dirty, ultimately though Gryffindor claims victory, winning the Quidditch Cup for the first time in 8 years! Everyone is flying high with happiness in the Gryffindor House.

In “Professor Trelawney’s Prediction,” final exams have taken over the school and everyone is grumpy, tired and overworked, especially Hermione who walks out of Divination after being told she wasn’t any good at the subject by the professor. Hermione also misses Charms class, sleeping through it while doing homework for other classes. Exams come and go one by one. During his last exam Harry is stopped by Professor Trelawney who is in a trance, predicting the master and servant will be reunited that night. Freaked out, Harry goes to tell Hermione and Ron, but before he can they present Harry with the news that Hagrid has lost the appeal and Buckbeak will be executed that night. The three sneak down to Hagrid’s hut (Hermione’s idea, as she went and retrieved the Invisibility Cloak Harry left in a secret passage way), find Scabbers there and try to convince Hagrid to let them reason with the execution team. When Hagrid tells them to go, they sneak out the back and attempt to get back to the school before Buckbeak is executed, only they don’t make it in time and hear the axe swish through the air before crashing down with a thud. giphy

There are so many moments throughout these two chapters where we see people riding on highs (peaks) and people settling into lows (valleys). Going through finals of course will do that to you at Hogwarts or in Law School. Life is full of these ups and downs, this constant change in circumstance and the constant mishaps that seem to threaten to derail every good thing around you. For me, the hardest part is not being at the top or being at the bottom, it’s the climb up or down the mountain that’s the hardest. I can easily settle into a valley and wait out the storm or stand on top of the mountain and let the wind consume me. But the having to go up and the coming down part are the parts where I complain, get mad and lash out the most.

IMG_1180In Italy there was a moment where I just could not deal with the issues anymore. Like Hermione slapping Draco or storming out of a class, I also felt the need to lash out at people when I felt overwhelmed by what I perceived to be the pinnacle moment of a whole bunch of selfish moments. The next day, after I lashed out and then didn’t apologize, I sat down with two friends who gave some pretty great advice, and it seems this advice somewhat matches up with things I pulled out of these two chapters. So here it is, the true ways of dealing with peaks and valleys without losing your sanity and alienating your friends:

  1. Ask for Help, but Don’t Overestimate the Help You Will Get- This one is extremely hard to do. First you have to be able to calmly and concisely explain what help you need. In crisis moments we tend to not be able to fully think about what we need and how to explain it. At least for me, I tend to get overwhelmed with the emotion of the moment and lose my ability to even process what is happening. But we have to find a way to ask for help in these moments, and once you’ve asked for help you have to be okay with not getting exactly what you need since everyone else is just as human as you. Not everyone can stand by you and be your sounding board, your therapist, your foot doctor (like when you shred the bottom of your toe on some rocks), your best friend, your shoulder to cry on. Most times people can be a few of these things, none of these things, or only one of these things for you. So find that sweet spot of knowing who to go for what things and what you can realistically expect from those you ask for help. You’d be surprised, you may find that someone can’t help you make a huge life decision, but they are there to pick you up in a moment of car troubles. Everyone wants to help, but they can only help as far as their abilities will allow.
  2. Know Your Limits (Know when Enough is Enough) It’s funny that Hermione hits Draco or storms out of class after pretty much being told she sucks at something (which we see with her boggart part of the Defense Against the Dark Arts exam is a huge fear for her). It’s funny because it’s a bit out of character for Hermione. Ron making stuff up for his Divination exam is normal, very in character for him. Contrast that with Hermione and we find her out of character experiences to be comic relief. But when you start to peel back the layers and look at what Hermione is going through it becomes less funny and a bit more troublesome. Hermione has bit off far more than she can chew, taking on extra classes this year at school. She’s overwhelmed herself, classic conundrum of what I like to call the “Overachiever Syndrome.” I’ve had this syndrome, and well actually, I still have this syndrome (just take a peek at my resume and you may agree). But instead of Hermione taking a step back and calming herself down, she allows things to boil over into these out of touch moments for her. She lets the world push her far out of her limits and refuses to set boundaries. Then she goes off and hits another student, lashes out at a teacher, misses a class due to exhaustion and starts to be less risk-averse in her decisions. My friends on the couch that night in Italy pointed out that at times this is the type of behavior I follow. I let things push me far past my limits and then instead of taking a step back I go in guns blazing and start taking verbal shots at people. And I know it’s 100% true, I’ve done it time and time again. So in order to not lose friends over these moments, you have to set boundaries, you have to learn when to walk away, reconfigure your plans, get back within a safe zone of your limits and take a breather. If not, you’ll end up hurting people who matter to you and ultimately alienating yourself from tons of people.
  3. Try Reconcile with Those You’ve Hurt, Even if They won’t Accept your apology I. HATE. APOLOGIZING. There I said it. If there is one things I dislike having to do more than anything else in this world it’s apologize to someone, especially when that person is equally to blame for what has happened. Apologizing, trying to reconcile your differences, is a balance of admitting you were wrong, humbling yourself enough to tell the other person you wish things would have been different, and not expecting an apology in return for their actions. There was a situation this summer where I had to apologize to someone for an argument that we both took part in. I let it stew for a day or so after the argument after being told if I didn’t apologize this person would continue to have a problem with me and I would have to endure being treated like crap by them. I then went to them like a dog approaching its owner with its tail between their legs and apologized, only to receive a ‘Thank You’ afterwards. Who says Thank You for your apology without following it up with another “I’m sorry for the way I acted too”?! But that’s the thing, you have to go into these moments not expecting an apology in return. Ron never actually apologizes to Hermione for the way he’s been treating her, he simply accepts her apology about Scabbers and says he will help her find a way to win Hagrid’s appeal. For me, I didn’t receive an apology from the person I had argued with, but they did stop treating me as badly as they were before I apologized. For Hermione, she didn’t receive an apology, but got help that she wasn’t getting before. Sometimes we just have to let our egos go and take what we can get, because at the end of the day an apology isn’t about what we can get from the other person, it’s about reconciling our own thoughts and feelings towards that person. IMG_0561
  4. Don’t Fear change “Hermione, I don’t know what’s gotten into you lately!” said Ron, astounded…. Hermione looked rather flattered. What I love about these two sentences is that even though Hermione’s out of character behavior is coming from what seems to be a very sad and unhealthy place, she really isn’t afraid for herself. She doesn’t see this behavior as a total problem. When she misses Charms Class she does go and apologize to Professor Flitwick and is really distraught over it, but she doesn’t dwell on the other changes in her behavior, which tells me she isn’t afraid of growing a bit. I think as the books go on she’s someone we see really change and grow as a character and part of that seems to start here in this book. Personally, I’ve always hated change. Growing up change was a regular thing, you never knew what was going to happen next, there were not a lot of stable moments, so i grew to need stability, a constant in my life. But life isn’t like that. Change is around us all the time. Our relationships change, our circumstances change, one minute your phone isn’t working and then 30 minutes later is magically turns back on. Change is a constant, it is a stable factor in our lives. It makes us who we are. Not fearing change means you won’t hold on too tightly to meaningless things and you won’t suffocate those around you. Being able to note that change is good allows you to really just see as much of the world as you can.
  5. Celebrate Victories Together, but Don’t Let Them Consume you Lastly, and this is a big one, one to truly follow… share the good times, but realize that in no time you could easily be headed back down the mountain and straight into a valley. I don’t know about everyone else, but when things are good I let that be the benchmark for everything else in my life for a long period of time. So that means when things start to go down hill I spin out of control into a panicked mess because I want to stay on the top of the peak for as long as possible. It would be easy for Harry and the Gryffindors to sit atop their monumental win and refuse to slip back into the depths of final exams. Walking around dressed in the ego of being champions could give them a false sense of self when it comes to taking exams and very much could lead them to failing each one of those exams. Balance is key though. Instead of flying high on their championship, they celebrate for a bit and then hit the books hard.  Celebrate those big wins, but also, realize that a valley could be right around the corner, so have realistic expectations about life. Never take a win for granted, losing sight of the big picture of peaks and valleys. Because when the valleys hit after those giant peaks and everyone starts to struggle and complain its easy to leave people behind in search of riding that high again. Don’t let yourself become alienated because you come addicted to the top of the mountain, realize there’s a bigger journey out there and it’s made easier when traveling with friends. IMG_1722

At the end of the day, these things are easier said or written about than done. Yet, they are good reminders that peaks and valleys happen all the time and we have to learn to deal with them in healthy ways. Me yelling at bad drivers on the roads this morning was a result of a small set of hills and valleys, of panics and excitements, of worries and happy plans. While I’m not proud of being a jerk driver (even though no one could hear me, I didn’t flip anyone off or speed up next to them with erratic behavior), it’s better than actually losing friends or my own sanity.

Sorry this is such a long post, I just really enjoyed these two chapters and wanted to share more of my summer and those thoughts with each of you!

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

The Polyjuice Potion (CoS 12)

In the last blog post I wrote a little about how I am learning that I am not just a creative, but that the logic side of life (math and science) are also things that I enjoy. I’ve actually learned a lot about myself since coming to law school. Being away from the home I had for 25 years, not working to the extent I use to and being immersed in the new academic world can revel a lot about who you are and/or were. Growth is inevitable in life, but what’s more important is being able to see who you are now so you can one day see clearly who you were…

Chapter 12 beings with a trip to Dumbledore’s office. Harry is escorted to the Headmaster’s office at the end of chapter 11 after being found at the scene of the crime where another petrified student has been found. In Dumbledore’s office Harry asks the Sorting Hat if he was placed correctly, hearing only that Harry still would’ve been good in Slytherin. He then turns his attention to a bird int he corner that looks like a “half plucked turkey.” The bird soon catches on fire and turns to ashes. Harry freaks out a little as Dumbledore comes into the office. Dumbledore explains how Fawkes is a phoenix, a bird that burns and rebirths from its ashes. he talks about how these birds can carry heavy objects, have healing tears and make wonderful loyal pets (all foreshadowing for later). Hagrid barges in and tries to prove Harry innocent for the petrified student. Dumbledore says he already knows Harry is innocent but asks Harry if he would like to tell Dumbledore anything in regards to the school happenings. Ashamed of the voices in his head, Harry says no. Later in the chapter, the Golden Trio uses the Polyjuice potion and head out to get info from Draco, who proves to not have too much new information about the Heir of Slytherin, other than the fact that he is not the heir.

tumblr_o5e5a1lhr71vp2995o1_500To me the most interesting part of this chapter is the small paragraph about Fawkes the Phoenix. Phoenixes are mythical creatures that show resilience. They are constantly shedding their bodies and emerging from their ashes to be new creatures (on days referred to as Burning Days). Yet their abilities to heal, carry heavy loads and remain loyal all stay intact. Coming to law school felt like a Burning Day of sorts. It was a time of rebirth. I left almost everything behind in Nevada to move to Colorado. Left my career to go back to school and felt like I was becoming a new person. The only thing is, I didn’t really leave everything behind.

Going through the first semester of school showed me that maybe I didn’t really understand myself back home in Nevada. I thought I knew myself pretty well, but in all actuality I was more acquainted with who I thought I should be, rather than myself. I thought I was strictly a creative. I played instruments, wrote a novel, painted for fun at times, put together elaborate bulletin boards at school and took pictures on a fancy camera for fun. I did anything I could to prove to myself that I was a creative person… and only a creative person. I told myself that the reason science and math were hard was because I wasn’t meant to be a science and math person but a creative person.

I loved to tell myself these little lies instead of facing that maybe I was trying to be something I wasn’t. When I got to Colorado I tried doing the same thing here too, except this time was with hiking. I’m not a huge outdoors person, I’m a let’s make a good meal, read a book, take a nap, watch tv stay indoors person. Yet, there’s this idea that when you live in CO you are an outdoors person, so that’s what I told myself I was because I moved here. What a tiring lie to try to tell yourself. Then it came to law school… here I told myself that I was meant to be the best, meant to be a leader and nothing less… haha… when the stress of trying to show that I was super smart and the best became too heavy to carry I started to feel burnt out and as if I was a fraud. I found myself asking the question: “was I right to be here?” (much like Harry asking the Sorting hat if he had been placed correctly).

This past week though was like having another Burning Day, another chance to start over and stop lying to myself. The most important thing I have learned at law school is that you don’t have to have a plan. You don’t have to tell yourself who you are going to be or how things are going to work out. You also don’t have to follow a certain path or be a certain person. You can be you, and unapologetically you. If you don’t know who that is, law school will start to show you who you are piece by piece. To be in law school you definitely have to be resilient though. You have to be able to make it through a “Burning Day” and rise from the ashes, maintaining certain abilities and traits that make you magnificent.

tumblr_mbp0t0g9fz1qmymtwo1_500The moral of the story: find out who you are and let yourself change organically. Don’t force yourself to change, don’t force yourself to be something you aren’t meant to be. Allow yourself to change when the time is right. Watch the slow progress happen and enjoy the ride. Law school will try to force you to change your being quickly, but hold onto what you believe in your soul… you’ll thank yourself for it later.

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.

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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

Gilderoy Lockhart (CoS 6)

The perfect winter break, what does that even look like?

tumblr_m4an67rdzj1qmr4gpo2_250If you ask certain law students it’s taking an actual break from doing anything law school related until the last-minute. Others would say it’s taking about 2.5 weeks off, then getting back to the swing of things like purchasing books and getting ready for the next semester. Then there are those students who have used winter break to get other things done like resumes, cover letters, buying school books and supplies, looking for summer jobs, getting a head start on classwork and so much more. It’s funny to look on Instagram or Facebook and see what people are up to, which path they’ve chosen or at least which path they want you to think they’ve chosen. That’s the thing with social media, you never know if people are being sincere or creating a story about their lives, and looking back on this semester, the stories we tell each other in law school are very similar.

Which brings us to the theme of this Harry Potter chapter: perceptions.

We will start with the usual chapter recap:

It’s the first day of classes at Hogwarts. As the students are attending breakfast Ron receives a Howler from Mrs. Weasley and it yells at him in front of everyone. They then run off to attend Herbology where Harry runs into Gilderoy Lockhart who talks to harry about the taste of fame and Harry’s stunt of arriving to school in a flying car. Harry shakes him off, until heading to Lockhart’s first Defense Against the Dark Arts class where Lockhart overhears another student asking Harry for an autographed picture. Lockhart then tells Harry a little more about the price of fame. As class commences the students are asked to answer a questionnaire about Lockhart based on their required reading of all of Lockhart’s books. Before the end of class Lockhart release a bunch of Cornish Pixies on the class, unable to get them back under control before the end of class, he leaves letting the Golden Trio to clean up his mess.

What I enjoy about Lockhart is just how well he can attract people to him. There’s something about how people present themselves that make you want to be around them. Lockhart gives out free advice (unsolicited), tries to relate with people he marks as his equal or potential equal, flashes his brilliant smile here and there, brags about his adventures and his life, and the crowd is hooked (or at least most of the crowd). That’s the interesting thing about being able to control how people perceive you.

In law school the busier you make yourself seem, the more you may seem to have everything together. The more relaxed you appear, the less you seem to care. The more times people see you in the library, the harder you appear to work than everyone else… and the situations are endless. Social media offers us the same platform to create the perfect life perceived by others and the pictures posted during the holidays are especially notorious for being snapshots of one perfect moment during the craziness of an imperfect day. At the end of the day, it truly is your story to tell and present in whatever manner you want, but there is trouble that brews from telling an unrealistic story to the world.

cornish-pixies-gif

When you set out to control the narrative, control how you are perceived by others you run the risk of having to then stay stagnant and/or something even worse… becoming burnt out trying to keep it up. Perfection takes a lot of work, and maintaining the perception of a perfect life can become very draining on you. We’ve seen it time and time again portrayed in television and movies, and by the end of this Harry Potter book we will see what great lengths Lockhart has gone through to make sure his narrative is perfectly crafted.

The thing is, you don’t have to pick one way of life and stick to it. You don’t have to follow the same study plan and tactics as the semester before. You don’t have to always stick to the same friend groups and study groups. You can allow yourself to grow, to branch out, to change before people’s eyes and things will be okay. Make your failures somewhat public, be honest and raw with people, live your life out loud whether it is good times or bad… because if you don’t people will come to expect you to be perfect, to always have the answers, to be at every study session, to host the perfect dinners, to come to events looking perfect and so on and so forth. Create space in our life for the imperfect narrative. Give people a chance to perceive you for you… to get to know who you are deep down, because while it may not come to haunt you now, it may come to hurt you later.

So make sure to take time this winter break (or what’s left of it) to determine whether your authentic self is showing up in everything you do, or if some very closed-off, perfect shell is showing up… and then determine who you want to be…because the new year is coming!

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed