The Leaky Cauldron (PoA 4)

It’s been a whirlwind the past few weeks. This past Friday I jumped on a plane and 2 layovers later was in Paris. Another bus, plane and taxi and I made it to Sorrento, Italy. This small coastal town will be my home for the next month as I study. It’s a wonderful opportunity in law school to be able to study abroad and not only see the world but learn about how other overseas legal bodies work. For the next month I will be taking Intro to Italian Law, Comparative Competition Law, Comparative Corporate Governance and Comparative Drug Law all while eating pasta and seeing how the world works differently from America. Image.png

It’s quite funny how this chapter fits into the beginning of my trip. Harry is enjoying his stay at the Leaky Cauldron. He wanders around Diagon Alley looking at the shops. He then meets up with Ron and Hermione, hangs out with them a bit listening to Ron’s stories about his trip over the summer holiday. As they all get ready to leave to go to King’s Cross Station, Harry overhears a conversation by Mr. and Mrs. Weasley about himself and the criminal on the loose: Sirius Black.

What’s interesting about this chapter and my trip to Italy is found in one scene. As Harry walks around Diagon Alley alone he stops and looks into the shop window where the new Firebolt broom is on display. This new broom excites him. He would love to purchase it, to ride it, and he certainly has the money to do so (even without the price listed). Yet, he doesn’t. Harry never buys the broom but instead talks himself out of it. He walks away thinking about how okay his current broom is.

fca3956017afdd8e941b1746e83e016fWalking around in Italy there are so many things to stop and look at, to purchase, to spend money on, and for some there is little reflection as to whether this is a good or bad thing. For a lot of people that’s okay, it’s what they are wired to do, what they want to do and it’s not a bad thing to do by any means. For me, instead of purchasing items, spending money on trinkets this trip is more of a reflection on my life and the work I want to eventually do. This is a trip that allows for creativity to be released and enjoyed. It’s a trip to really gain perspective on the world I live in back home while enjoying exploring a new place and it’s possibilities. For me, it’s a trip to see how to continue changing the world I live in through adopting practices of another place.

Harry’s self-awareness was key in his situation. He thought about his impact, his responsibility, and how he was going to interact with the situation presented to him. And in Italy, it’s the same for me.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

 

The Knight Bus (PoA 3)

Two finals down, one to go.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed.

 

Dobby’s Warning (CoS 2)

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

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

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

This week’s theme: desperation and purpose.

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

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

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

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

 

The Worst Birthday (CoS 1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed