Thanks To Harry Potter, I Graduated With Honors

Thanks To Harry Potter, I Graduated With Honors

Never judge a book by its cover.

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For as long as I can remember, Harry Potter has been a part of my life.

I can remember being tiny and sitting in front of the TV and being mesmerized by the antics of Harry, Ron, and Hermoine. The second one, “The Chamber of Secrets" was always my favorite. Mainly because of the giant snake.

I never knew they were books until I was on a cruise to Mexico when I was four and my older cousin was reading one of the later books (I believe it was “The Order of the Phoenix" yet, I can't remember exactly). As soon as I knew they were books, I wanted to read them.

However, I was a fairly slow reader in my youth. I can remember being in first grade and only reading one book the entire year, while the other kids had three or four books on their belt. I felt out of place because school put me in a specialized reading group with all the other kids who were struggling to read. Yet, every time I walked past the Harry Potter books in the library, I would tap them and think, “one day."

In second grade, I was still fairly behind in reading in contrast to my fellow peers. There was a volunteer, a sweet, older woman with curly, grey-white hair, who would read with me every Thursday. We read a bunch of different things and would never judge me for saying a word wrong or stumbling through a sentence. One day after we read a particularly long story, she asked me, "what's your book goal or book series goal?"

I felt my eyes drifting over to where the Harry Potter books across the library. She followed my line of sight and smiled when she realized what I was looking at. "Harry Potter," she stated, "those are fifth and sixth-grade reading level books." I nodded, slightly embarrassed that I would even think about reading such books with such a high reading level. She must have noticed my cheek flare red because the next thing she said was, "Well, I believe you can do it. Maybe in a few years, but you'll get there."

I can distinctly remember the smile spread across my face when I returned to class.

The next year, in third grade, I remember my teacher telling me that the sweet, older woman who had helped and believed in me had died of a stroke. That day I picked up the first Harry Potter book and started reading.

I struggled through it, I didn't know much of the vocabulary, especially the British vocabulary and phrases. However, I could see my reading comprehension increasing. I graduated from the extra reading classes I had to do, my reading comprehension tests sky-rocketed, and by fourth grade, I was the number one reader in the class.

I credit the Harry Potter series with helping me get to where I am today. They helped me to realize that books weren't actually boring, but adventurous and interesting. Harry Potter turned me into an avid reader, which helped me to graduate High School with honors.

Today, when I put on my "Gryffindor" hat or when I log onto my computer and see my wallpaper, I can't help but think back to second grade and my time spent with the sweet older woman. Each time, I can picture her smile and her telling me she believed in me, which is enough to help me get through any day.

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10 Things Rutgers Seniors Need To Check Off Their College Bucket List Before Graduating

There are numerous art exhibits that are updated often and which sometimes include art from Mason Gross students. The variety and the beauty of all the art present make the museum definitely worth the trip.

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No matter the college year you're in presently, it is never too late to try new experiences here at Rutgers. There is so much to see and do. Here is my list of must-do activities before graduation I have done which have made my time here so special and memorable.

1. Tour all of the campuses fully

Although this seems very obvious, many people like to stick to the campus they're living on and are scared to explore other campuses. Take the time to get out of your comfort zone and explore. There are seven main libraries and numerous smaller ones, can you find them all? Exploring also allows for meeting new people and finding new places on campus to call home.

2. Attend a sports game

Rutgers has 27 teams in the Big Ten Conference which means there are always sports games occurring to attend. Sports games always are fun in that everyone there is cheering for your team also. It is a fun environment that is exciting and energizing. If you are ever free, take some time to go see your favorite sport.

3. Explore Easton Avenue and New Brunswick food

Right off College Avenue, Easton Avenue provides college students with food options that include all possible variations of food. It's a food paradise. The surrounding New Brunswick area also provides delicious options for a nice night out or for a late-night snack. Take some time to explore, you won't regret it.

4. Eat a fat sandwich

Rutgers is famous for RU Hungry's fat sandwiches on College Avenue which are both incredibly delicious and terrible for health. But you definitely won't regret eating some. My favorite is the Fat Cat, but you can try out all options Rutgers has to offer this delicious sandwich. If you can finish five of these sandwiches in 45 minutes, you can create your own sandwich and name it. Another incentive to go try them out.

5. Scarlet Day of Service

In the fall and spring, the Rutgers University Planning Association organizes a large-scale day of community service in the surrounding community. Projects range from building houses to litter removal. All of which are incredibly important volunteer activities to maintain the community and cleanliness of the surround Rutgers community. If you ever have a chance, definitely participate in this super fulfilling and fun day of giving back.

6. Attend some clubs and run for a position

College is definitely the time to get involved in what you love and also to get try getting involved in a leadership level. To get the most growth out of college, this is my recommendation. Even if you may not be the most qualified or the most confident, the opportunity to lead without having the workplace pressure will likely not appear for a while ago. Get out of your comfort zone and try your best.

7. Participate in Bed Races

The Bed Races is a fun event that occurs on College Avenue where teams, fraternities, sororities, clubs, groups of friends, etc., decorate a bed frame and then race them down the street after. The competition is both exciting to watch and compete in. It is silly. It is memorable. And it is definitely worth it.

8. Visit the Zimmerli Art Museum

The Zimmerli Art Museum is located off College Avenue and is a great afternoon or weekend day trip. There are numerous art exhibits that are updated often and which sometimes include art from Mason Gross students. The variety and the beauty of all the art present make the museum definitely worth the trip.

9. Do the Tower Jump

The Tower Jump is an event hosted by Rutgers Recreation in the Werblin Recreation Center during which participants jump off the five-, seven-, and 10-meter diving boards into the Olympic-size pool below. It is exhilarating, nerve-wracking, and definitely a memorable experience. After I did the Jump, I couldn't stop shaking for a good hour, as I am extremely afraid of heights, but I will never regret ignoring my fears and jumping. It is one of my favorite Rutgers memories to look back on.

10. Take the underwater basket weaving class

Many people come to Rutgers joking about this Rutgers Recreation offered class. However, after taking it, I can say it definitely did not deserve the ridicule it received. It was a fun experience to weave a basket, which I gifted to my mother, underwater and try out scuba diving. It was a super fun experience and had a free t-shirt and basket that I could always remember it with.

College is definitely what you make of it and the opportunities and exploration and growth possible are limitless. Good luck in college, have fun exploring, be brave, be bold, and go Scarlet Knights!

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