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.

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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