5 Big Things I Learned About "Harry Potter"

5 Big Things I Learned About "Harry Potter"

Thanks to the Harry Potter class at Winthrop!

Harry Potter. Hogwarts. Slytherin. All of these things have proven to be the most renowned names created by JK Rowling. They have become so popular that here at Winthrop not only do we have a Quidditch team, but also a class dedicated to our inner wizard: English 200.

Everyone, whether you are in Gryffindor or Hufflepuff (like myself), has come to appreciate the wizard world and the prestigious school of Hogwarts itself. Being in this class has truly opened my eyes to the "behind the scenes" of the wizard world and the deeper meaning of JK Rowling's writing. Not having read the series before (all Harry Potter fans feel free to shed a tear) has been an eye-opening experience being able to capture Hogwarts in its true form. So, here are 5 things I have learned from Harry Potter this semester so far:

1. Anyone can be a hero.

This book simply breaks the boundaries of the stereotypical male hero. Whether you have green eyes and a scrawny figure like the protagonist Harry Potter, or you're as smart as a whip like Hermione, anyone can prove to be a hero and take on Slytherins like Draco Malfoy. Even Ron Weasley can be a hero, despite his red hair and timidity. Rowling ceases to amaze as she allows each character to gain a sense of confidence and heroism in their own personal stories. In some ways, Rowling uses these books to bring out the hero in all of us.

2. J.K. Rowling is an absolute genius.

Who would have thought to use wizards to talk about serious issues such as racism? No one except the queen bee herself J.K. Rowling. The houses are constantly arguing about whose is better (in my case I would advocate for Hufflepuff). Taking a much deeper look into the series, each book has hidden motifs that one would not have noticed by just reading the books one time. English nerds such as myself love a good motif, but even for others, this series is more than just a story about wizards.

3. Quidditch is a lot more than flying around on broomsticks.

The name of the game itself sounds like something anyone would want to play. The movies and even the movie The Internship made Quidditch look super cool. Riding on broomsticks? Who would not want to do that? But, sadly with any game, there are rules and regulations. Reading the rules and stipulations of Quidditch makes it seem more like going to war than a fun sport, especially playing against Slytherin. Who knows what Draco and his crew are going to pull from their mysterious black cloaks? With the seekers trying to catch the snitch, it all seems extremely complex. Thank goodness for Quidditch practice.

4. Hermione is now my spirit animal

If I could be anyone in the world besides myself, I would either be Olivia Pope from Scandal or Hermoine Granger. The fiery hair and attitude make her the prime heroine. From her childhood days, Hermione is already breaking social boundaries. Not only is she a witch from a muggle family, but she is the smartest in her years at Hogwarts! She is proving to everyone that she can be the best despite her parents both being Muggle dentists. You go Hermione!

5. Mrs. Weasley is the ultimate savage.

In reading the books, I never would have thought Mrs. Weasley would be that powerful. She is a mama bear at her finest. Seeing the movies, there is a bit of the true Molly Weasley, but reading the books allows her Sasha fierce to come out and play. Mrs. Weasley is ruthless and best of all independent despite her marriage to Mr. Weasley. She is quick to set all seven of her children straight upon misbehaving and even is able to set her husband straight, no hesitation. Her sassy attitude unquestionably puts her as the number one savage.

I am positive by the end of the semester I will have channeled my inner Hufflepuff and be more in love with Harry Potter than I was before. Thank you to Dr. Bickford for making this class enjoyable! I cannot wait to see what else this class has in store!

Cover Image Credit: PlayBuzz

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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Your Summer 2019 Bucket List

A physical(ish) embodiment of all you've been saying you'll do "next Summer."


It's that time again! #summer2k19 has finally arrived, and when it comes to how you can spend your time, the options are ENDLESS. That being said, this time around, you and I are going to keep binge-watching to a healthy minimum and enjoy our newfound time doing something(s) that will give us a sense of not just comfort, but fulfillment.

1. Make That BANK


It can be exhausting to put in 20, 30, 40+ extra hours a week for a part-time (or full-time) job on top of everything else going on in your life right now, but it will be worth it in one way or another (even if it's just in the form of a few hundred dollars). I am SO incredibly excited to start my new job this week and feel a smidge more secure about my finances, plus have some extra spending cash for the upcoming school year!

2. Volunteer

There is ALWAYS somewhere that you can put your skills to use for the good of your community. Animal shelters, hospitals, food pantries, LGBT centers, and more (note to self: draft article on extensive volunteer opportunities) are always looking for passionate people to help those less fortunate or those in need. In addition, with the 2020 election coming up, there are so many candidates whose campaigns need volunteers! That being said, don't forget about local elections, too! By volunteering in your communities in this form you can obtain a platform to have your voice heard and inform those close to you! The feeling of satisfaction from making a difference, no matter how small, is like no other and will help spur you on through the hard moments that you and your community experience.

3. Have A Garage Sale / Donate

Declutter, declutter, declutter! It's not very hard to find items that you don't use anymore, clothes that you no longer wear, or things you're not sure why you even bought in the first place. This is a great way to get a little bit more change in your pocket, or to simply feel good knowing that your belongings will be given a second chance at finding happiness in their forever home! Either way, you just made more room for whatever may happen to catch your eye! ;)

4. Learn Something New


I always have one thing or another on my mind that I "wish I had the time to do." This year, it's playing the piano that we've housed for years but has for the most part, not given the love it so rightly deserves. Starting to pick up a new language, taking a Summer class on any topic from traditional cooking to jazz dance to scuba diving, asking your dad how to play Texas Hold'em, whatever the subject may be, there's no time like the present (especially with all of the extra hours you've stumbled upon).

5. Grab a Book!

Stop letting those books on the shelf collect dust! Whether it's just reading 20 minutes a day or a book a week (...maayyybe every other week), try to incorporate reading into your schedule. Other than just flat-out being fun when you find a series you enjoy, your brain will thank you! I always find that I'm ACTUALLY able to remember the words I'm scouring my mind for`during a reading spree.


Carolyn Barrington

Go on a hike, a run, for a picnic, to the beach, what have you. The Summer only lasts so long and getting your daily dose of vitamin D won't be NEARLY as easy to come by come September.

7. Explore Locally


You KNOW there's always been that one place in town that you've heard of, that people take pictures at, or that's just always caught your attention. Whatever and wherever it may be, go find it!

8. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

When fun opportunities arise that seem intimidating, don't let your uncertainty hold you back. This being said, baby steps are important! If you have a fear of heights, it might be wise to ease your way up to the biggest and baddest rollercoaster at an amusement park. Don't scar yourself, but don't let FOMO get the chance to rear its ugly head.

9. Make Time For Friends

Carolyn Barrington

Make the effort to keep your friendships from fading over the Summer, whether you have plans already or are just staying in town! Just going to grab ice cream cones at that to-die-for ice cream parlor in your area to catch up or checking in every once in a while to talk about that CRAZY thing you know they'll want to hear about will make you feel at peace and remind you that you have people all around that care deeply about you. :)

10. Continue To Be Awesome (AKA Yourself)

Above all else, find comfort in your time off from any normal duties over the course of the school year. People always focus on getting their bodies "Summer ready," but the most important thing is to not focus on other peoples' expectations and instead make sure that you are happy with yourself and your triumphs without comparison. Striving to obtain the most colorful and updated Instagram feed (which, by the way, is oftentimes full of orchestrated smiles and poses) isn't important in the grand scheme of things, and will keep you chasing greater and greater numbers of likes and comments. Focus on what is important to you now and if you're thinking ahead, for the future. Other people's opinions of you and your actions do not define who you are.

"Next Summer" is now. Go out there and have another Summer 2016.

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