Talons and Tea Leaves (PoA 6)

Being in a foreign country is amazing. From the sights to the food to the immense challenges of having to learn a whole new place, being away from home opens you up to brand new experiences left and right. While there are many similarities in each culture, there are vast differences that sometimes make you uncomfortable (both in good ways and in bad ways). The key to dealing with being uncomfortable is watching how you react.

A_real_life_Hippogriff_from_Harry_Potter_exists_in_UgandaIn this chapter it’s the first day of school. Harry’s third year classes begin with Divination, a strange class in a strange part of the castle. The students embark on a journey of tea leaves and fortune telling. For some this is very intriguing and real, for others its very “fake news” like. By the end of class Hermione is angry (not believing in any of this nonsense) and Harry is told he will die. The students head to Transfiguration, where Professor McGonagall weighs in on the subject of Harry’s predicted demise and divination as a whole, having very similar thoughts to Hermione’s. The class ends and Ron calls Hermione out on not liking Divination just because she isn’t good at it. After lunch they head down to the forest to meet Hagrid. It’s Hagrid’s first day teaching and he brings out Hippogriffs. Hagrid explains to the class that Hippogriffs are very proud creatures and not to insult them. Harry volunteers to try and gain the Hippogriffs trust and manages to ride the creature for a little while. Soon after every students is given the chance to subdue these creatures and everything goes well until Draco manages to insult one and is attacked. Draco ends up in the hospital wing with some cuts and Hagrid ends up drowning his sorrows and anxiety of being fired with some alcohol.

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The Italian Supreme Court 

Two of my favorite new experiences on my study abroad trip were learning about Italian Criminal Law and taking a tour of the Juvenile Dentition center in Naples. Much like the Hogwarts students, these experiences were different and a bit uncomfortable. Learning from teachers who spoke Italian as their first language and english as their second language made class difficult to understand at times. Many students in my class were completely appalled at the idea of lecturing from power points (which with jet lag and little sleep could be hard to follow along with). Everything was new and different.

We learned the key difference between American Criminal law and Italian criminal law was the end goal. In America punishment is the key. You did something wrong and now you must pay. Whereas in Italy rehabilitation is the key. You did something wrong, we can work together to fix it and give you a new hope in society. Then when we took time to go and tour the juvenile detention center we saw this concept in action.

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View from the top of the Constitutional Court in Rome 

I’ve been to a similar center here in Colorado as part of my American Criminal Law class.  The detention center here was like any other prison. The kids wore uniforms and didn’t have many freedoms. There were opportunities to learn trade skills, but the real goal was for the kids to do their time and learn that what they did was wrong. In the Italian deletion center, the kids wore regular clothes, smoked cigarettes, played basketball and gardened. They had to chose a trade to learn (ceramics, pizza making, baking, nativity scene making, etc.). The goal was to get these kids a second chance when they left.

While the two systems are somewhat alike, the way the kids seem to be treated are very different (from what I’ve experienced). The kids in Italy didn’t seem to be treated like prisoners, but like kids who needed guidance. The directors of the detention center spoke of the children as if they were misled by the greater society and no one else. There was a caring aspect to the directors, a sense that these kids needed their help because maybe their parents weren’t around and their only role models were those already doing criminal acts. In America it feels as if troubled youths are treated as and told that they are just bad people who need to figure out right from wrong and quickly.

As we left either class or the detention center, it was interesting to watch the discussion grow from our experiences. Some were uncomfortable with what they saw, mainly how the directors interacted with the youths and how no one (directors included) wore uniforms. Others seemed to be hit with compassion, and even further, others seemed to not care at all. Those who were uncomfortable with their experiences in Italian Criminal Law were usually much like Hermione or Professor McGonagall or even Draco: they made sure people knew where they stood on the matter. They felt uncomfortable and needed other to know about it. It’s something we all do. When we feel out of sorts we either cope by trying to find like-minded individuals or we ignore how we feel entirely and move on. Rarely do we sit down and try to pinpoint what makes us uncomfortable, where those feelings come from and how to process them next.

This is a key part of being a lawyer though. We have to find a way to look at every side of an issue. We have to be able to rationally look at something, push away our feelings and see every side. Now that’s not to say we can’t have feelings about things. Our gut-feelings are the most important part of intuition and doing what we deem is right, but being able to step out of yourself and see the other side, engage with another part of society or set of ideals… that’s what’s really important. While the Italian goal of rehabilitation seems outlandish against the ideas of American Punishment, I think there are some good facets of believing in the good of others and trying to help them see that good and make it blossom.

Seeing through the eyes of another, being immersed in the culture of another is hard. We are all hardwired to be prideful and ask for others to bow down to our ideals first before we will even consider their ideals (much like a hippogriff) and the second someone insults our ideals, we attack and leave a trail of hurt behind us. It’s not easy to set down that pride and let yourself see another way of doing things, but it’s important in law school and in law. Compassion for others is hard, but it is quintessential and all it takes is seeing the world the way they see it.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

PS: I don’t have any pictures of the dentition center in Naples because they took our phones before going in.

The Dementor (PoA 5)

It’s been quiet around here for the last month. It was hard to find time in Italy to sit and write, and can you blame me?? I’ll share some pictures throughout the next few posts! What an amazing trip, with amazing people, in an amazing place.

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The beach near school at sunset

For those of you who don’t know why I was in Italy, I went on a study abroad trip (yes, those exist in law school). We were in Sorrento, Italy, a beautiful coastal town in southern Italy. During the day (M-Th) we attended classes, which included Comparative Corporate Governance, Intro to Italian Law, Comparative Competition Law, and Comparative Drug Policy. Each class had a different interesting aspect, many times in ways I never thought I would find interesting. Two of the classes were taught by Italian professors while the other two were DU professors. Outside of class we were free to explore, travel, and eat A LOT of pasta and pizza.

Now you can see why I didn’t have much time to blog while I was away. Now, I’m back and ready to make up for lost weeks and posts (we still have to make it through another 4.5 books!).

This chapter is aptly named Dementors. We find the Golden Trio on their journey back to Hogwarts. Harry, who overheard a conversation about Sirius Black coming for him, can’t wait to tell Hermione and Ron what is happening. They pick a room on the train to talk (Professor Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher sleeping in the corner of this train compartment) and Harry tells his friends everything he’s heard. A bit into their journey the train stops, which they find odd since they are not near Hogwarts yet. Ron senses movement outside the train. The lights go out and the train gets cold. Suddenly there’s a ghost like hooded figure in the doorway of their compartment. Harry hears screaming and faints, convulsing on the ground. Professor Lupin jumps up getting rid of the creature with a spell. When Harry comes to, everyone looks worried. No one else had a fainting spell or heard screaming. Ron says the creature (demeanor) made him feel as if he would never be happy again. They arrive to school only to be whisked away by Professor McGonagall who has Harry looked over by the school nurse. Dumbledore explains at the feast that Hogwarts will be playing host to the dementors this year and for students to take caution.

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Sorrento 

What I love about this chapter is that it starts with a journey home with friends. I’ve written a lot about having a tribe, a good support system, or making friends in law school. Being away for a month has made me even more certain that these staple people in your life are necessary. As Harry, Hermione, and Ron set out back to school, Harry feels this need to unpack some troubling thoughts on his friends, who welcome it. They joke, they laugh, and they worry for one another. When the dementor is gone and Harry comes to there’s this beautiful imagery of Hermione hugging Ginny who wandered into their room before the dementor appeared in the door way. Ginny is crying out of fear and Hermione is there to comfort her. Professor Lupin, a complete stranger to these students offers harry a chocolate bar (which is a ready to the effects of dementors) and Ron looks worriedly towards his friend, making sure he’s alright.

Being abroad for a month, where there’s a slight language barrier and none of your super close friends came with, makes you realize just how much you rely on others to be there for you. Looking back on my 1L year (which thankfully is done) there are a few key individuals that I met in law school that helped me succeed. There are also a lot of people who I wanted to be great friends and part of their support systems that just didn’t work out, which is okay in the end. Thinking on it now, my advice to incoming 1Ls this fall is this: don’t force it. I started out orientation with the idea that I need to befriend everyone, make a great first impression, be likable and loved by many. I tied my whole identity to being fun, agreeable, and cool. I mixed and mingled with a lot of people. I went to the bar, I went out, I joined study groups, I helped teach people the material before finals… I never said no.

When the Dementors came I wasn’t surrounded by everyone that I worked so hard to please all semester/year, instead I had a few people in my corner there to make sure I was okay or to hold me while I cried.

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Just your average people pleaser at Pompeii 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of being a people pleaser. We are constantly told over and over at orientation that your reputation starts now and will stay with you forever. While for some that means being cool and always having a good time, that doesn’t mean you have to always conform to other people’s standards, it doesn’t mean you have to make everyone like you, it doesn’t mean you have to be a people pleaser.

Stay true to who YOU are. Follow YOUR convictions. Do what feels right to YOU. Fill your corner with a few true friends and just be nice to everyone else. I’d rather have a Golden Trio of friends then a room full of Death Eaters when the dementors come.

 

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.

 

Aunt Marge’s Big Mistake (PoA 2)

I recently found a journal that a friend gave me before I left for Colorado. Inside i found the note that reminded me not to forget my first love: writing. There’s something so calming about writing, something so soothing about being able to have a safe space (like a journal) to express your deepest sorrows, regrets and sadness in alongside your happiest thoughts, proudest moments and love of life. having something that is all yours, something that keeps you together, something that lets you express every feeling without judgment or ridicule, that’s something important in life.

87c57ed997dc81f865a184b37eae2617IN this chapter of HP we find that Aunt Marge has come for a visit. Harry and Uncle Vernon have struck a deal that if Harry behaves then Vernon will sign his permission form to go to Hogsmeade while at school. Aunt Marge is a nasty lady (and not in the good sense of the word). She ridicules Harry constantly and then one night turns to ridicule his dead parents. Harry can’t take it anymore and lashes out, accidentally blowing up his Aunt (like a giant balloon). And then he flees…

As finals start to wind down (the final week!!) it has me thinking, reflecting really, on the last year. There have been many moments where I too have felt like Harry. Those moments where you just can’t take it anymore and your emotions get the best of you. Back home in Las Vegas this used to happen more often than not. Here at law school its happened a few times but its only when I haven’t felt safe in expressing my true feelings or in trusting people. Law school is an interesting place around finals time, everyone goes off to do their own things. We study with different people. We stop talking to close friends. We become hermits. Its kind of a natural way of dealing with stress and competition (no one wants to admit it, but its there with the curve sometimes being so tight).

If you deal with anxiety, this can be off putting. You don’t really know all of a sudden who to trust. One part of your mind says that your friends are still your friends, its just a weird time. The other part of your mind says DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER and you start to metaphorically and physical (by phone) blow people up. Its a crazy sensation filled with irrational reactions to rational feelings. MargeBalloon

Feeling safe is an extremely important part of law school. You want to feel safe in expressing your opinions and not be called fake or stupid. You want to feel safe in making new friends and not have to second guess whether or not they will think you aren’t smart enough to be around them. You want to feel safe in your studying habits and lifestyle choices. You just want to feel safe… and its hard when you have no parents or family around you to make you feel that.

I think if Harry would have had at least the support of Petunia in the room things could have been different. Aunt Marge wouldn’t have become a balloon. But when you feel alone and attacked, outburst will happen. So don’t forget to check in on the people around you. Sometimes all we need in life is a little support and care to make us feel safe with the people around us. Sometimes all we need is someone to double check on us to keep the outbursts away. Sometimes all we need is someone to stand beside us and defend ourselves. Sometimes all we need is a little understanding.

Until next time,

Mischief Managed

 

The Heir of Slytherin and Dobby’s Reward (CoS 17 & 18)

One word: Ego.

There is so much innocence in childhood. You are full of dreams and radical notions about the world. Unfortunately, ego comes along and steals a part of that innocence. Now most of the time we think of ego as someone being big-headed or feeling entitled, but it can go the other way too. Either way, ego becomes a key player in how we relate to the world.

Ego: a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.

hp2bThis week in HP we are finally finishing Book 2!! Yay!! Harry has made it into the chamber of secrets to find an unconscious Ginny on the floor. Long story short, Tom Riddle (aka Voldemort) preserved himself in a diary, enchanted Ginny and is stealing her life to become real again. Harry gets mad, a basilisk fight ensues. Fawkes (Dumbledore’s Phoenix ) flies in, brings the sorting hat (which holds the sword of Gryffindor) and Harry defeats the giant snake! (YAY!) Harry saves Ginny, finds Ron and Lockhart and makes it back to Hogwarts. Harry and Ron tell the story of that nights events to Dumbledore, McGongall and the Weasley parents. Dumbledore awards Gryffindor points, everyone is happy and then Mr. Malfoy (daddy Malfoy) arrives to talk with Dobby behind. Harry, outraged by seeing how Dobby is treated by his master, he tricks Mr. Malfoy into giving Dobby a sock and setting him free! THE END!

Here we see ego all over the place. Tom Riddle had one of the biggest egos, preserving himself in a journal (which we later find out is a horocrux so he therefore killed someone to preserve himself). Dobby, as a house-elf has a timid ego. He is considered lesser than all others, so therefore acts as such. Mr. Malfoy, being the pompous man he is,  is another example of a huge ego.images-6

Our egos are shaped by the world around us, the messages west about ourselves and internalize. And in law school you encounter every type of ego imaginable. The key is learning to work with every type of ego while growing yours or minimizing it at the same time.

For those who find themselves in Dobby’s shoes, it’s a matter of working to grow your ego, to find your self-esteem and self- importance. This includes standing up for yourself, doing what you want or carving your own path.

images-7For those who find themselves in Mr. Malfoy or Tom Riddle’s shoes, it’s a matter of readjusting your views of the world. Seeing how your actions fall upon others and affect them.

Ego can be useful, but too much or too little can be harmful, especially in law school. So take a moment and reflect on where you fall. And comeback soon for the beginning of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

Aragon and The Chamber of Secrets (CoS 15 & 16)

If there ever were two chapters of Harry Potter to describe law school, these would be those chapters.

aragog-chamber-of-secrets-illustrated-editionIn these two chapters, Harry and Ron follow the spiders into the Forbidden Forest. There they meet a GIANT spider named Aragon. Aragon tells the story of how Hagrid brought him to the school and cared for him until Tom Riddle turned Hagrid in (the last time the Chamber of Secrets was opened) and Aragon went to live in the Forbidden Forest. After Ron and Harry learn that Hagrid is innocent, they attempt to leave the spiders’ nest only to attacked by all of Aragon’s sons and Daughters. They only manage to escape because the Weasley family car, now wild, emerges from dark and races Harry and Ron out of the forest.
In the next chapter, McGongall announces that the mandrakes have matured enough to turn them into a potion and wake up everyone who has been petrified. The teachers are ecstatic thinking that the nightmare will be over and one of those petrified will tell them who is causing all of their troubles. Harry and Ron visit hermione in the hospital wing, where they find a crumbled up paper dealing basilisks in her hand. After talking to Moaning Myrtle (the first student killed by the basilisk) they start to piece the puzzle together. images-5Things turn for the worse though and the school is in a panic going into finals, and it’s not because finals, but because a student has been taken into the Chamber of Secrets. Harry and Ron spy to overhear that Ginny is the student now in the Chamber, and that Lockhart has been chosen (mainly through his bragging) to go and rescue her. They run up to Lockhart’s office to warn him about what he faces in the Chamber, only to find Lockhart packing his bags to flee. Lockhart discloses that he is a fraud. Harry and Ron force him to go into the Chamber of Secrets only to find themselves soon separated, Harry continuing alone and Ron staying with a memory hoped Lockhart.

This week’s theme: help. Harry and Ron find many people and things that help them in their worst moments, and in law school it’s important to also find things to help you!

The first year of law school is winding down with less than 7 weeks to go, and the closer we get to finals, appellate briefs being due and oral arguments, the more it feels like walking into a giant spider’s nest. Tensions are high around every corner and relief feels no where in sight. We also have that extra stress of figuring out classes for next semester and interviewing for summer jobs.

enhanced-17831-1405608304-5It definitely feels a little overwhelming. Finals looming over us, and everything still left to do feels a little like jumping down the secret passage to the Chamber of Secrets. But amongst all of this there are so many trusty sidekicks alongside us as we go through this journey. I started this semester by starting therapy at the Health and Counseling center on campus. It’s always a vulnerable moment to admit you have some issues you want to talk out, or that you need some help. I’ve posted on here before that I have General Anxiety Disorder. It’s not an easy disorder to detect since its all internal but it does manifest itself in different ways. For me, I plan because then I have a semblance of control over the situation. I also rehearse every conversation or answer numerous times before raising my hand or approaching someone. There are so many calculated moves because of my anxiety. Asking for help isn’t an easy thing to do either because of the implications behind it.

Most days in law school I feel like a fraud. Not to the extent of Gildeory Lockhart, but pretty close. it’s just part of law school, or at least that’s what they tell us. When you go to school with engineers, mock trial award winners, debate champs, military veterans and so many other people who have very different backgrounds, it’s hard to keep your head up and feel like you should be there. At the end of the first semester I felt a little lost, a little deflated, a little tired and very stressed. The adrenaline was wearing off and I wasn’t sure if I could continue… but then I asked for help. over the past few months it’s been amazing to talk to someone who really reminds me of why I’m in law school. She’s like having a Hermione to help guide you through the obvious things in front of you! I may not be some amazing award winning, always been on the tract to be a lawyer, beautiful minded law student, but I am a very accomplished person. I’ve started and ran my own business, I’ve managed a multi-million dollar store, I’m a published author and so much more.

It’s easy to get lost when you are faced up against some seriously stressful situations, but when you let others help you, when you allow the car to drive on it’s own and you start to trust yourself, law school becomes a bit easier to manage.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP!

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

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