For those of you who aren't super familiar with me, you should know that "Harry Potter" is literally my favorite series in the entire world. I know a ton about the wizarding world, probably more than I do about the actual world, which is really concerning. I used to be crazy obsessed with it. I could answer basically any single question you could throw at me.

I have to admit, I have gotten a little rusty on my Potter trivia in recent years but I guarantee you I still know more than the average human. Don't worry I'm not a freak. I don't pretend to take classes at Hogwarts and study magic (anymore). "Harry Potter" was always more than just a book and movie series to me. When I was little, those characters were basically some of my only friends. I grew up with them, which sounds super cliché, but it's the truth.

During the summer before my senior year of high school I started to think about what I wanted my college essay to be about. I wanted it to be personal. Most kids were writing their essays about some big personal issue they had to overcome or how their favorite sport or activity helped them grow as a person. I drafted and drafted so many versions of my college essay, and then finally it hit me. And just like some other times in my life "Harry Potter" helped me out. I wrote my college essay about "Harry Potter" and I'm pretty sure that was one of the reasons I got into college. I'm actually super proud of this essay, which is something I don't say too often. So here it is, my college essay. I started it off with a wise quote from the one and only Albus Dumbledore.

“In dreams, we enter a world that’s entirely our own.” –Albus Dumbledore, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"

As a child, I was always in love with the idea of living in a fantasy world. While other kids played “house” I was playing in my own dream universe, filled with the stories I had been told before I went to bed. During elementary school, when the teacher asked me who my role model was, my automatic answer was, “Hermione Granger.” I aspired to be a fictional character from a series that became my safe haven. From the moment I picked up my first "Harry Potter" book, I knew there was no going back. To me "Harry Potter" was not just a bestselling book series, it was my childhood. After a bad day at school, I would immediately turn to my "Harry Potter" books as reading them always made me feel better. As I finished each book it took its rank on a special shelf above my bed. You could say I was “obsessed.”

As I transitioned from elementary school to middle school, my love for "Harry Potter" had grown stronger than ever. I felt I had grown even closer to the characters. As they matured throughout the books, so did I. When I entered middle school, Harry, Ron and Hermione entered their first year at Hogwarts. As I grew older I developed a deeper connection with the characters. I channeled my inner Hermione Granger when I was sitting at the kitchen table doing my homework or taking a test. I used Harry Potter’s bravery as I stepped out onto the stage to perform for the first time (theater had become another obsession). I channeled Ron Weasley’s charisma and humor when I was just hanging out with my friends. "Harry Potter" was a part of me and still is. A fraction of each character had latched onto my soul, just like Voldemort’s soul had latched onto Harry when he was a baby. What I was doing, of course was trying on identities, grooming reality through literature.

The summer before seventh grade, I finally stepped outside the comfort zone of my little Catholic school and into the world of Worcester Academy. I had found that I was growing away from the Catholic school life I had been raised on, and was ready to go somewhere that would embrace my talents rather than hide them behind a uniform. On my first day at Worcester Academy, my advisor asked each member of my advisory group to say his or her name and something about themselves. Naturally I said, “Hi my name is Emma Berry, and 'Harry Potter' is my favorite series.” The books were still with me, but now as literature. I even performed "The Tale of the Three Brothers" in my eighth grade Dexter Prize speaking contest, receiving first place as I passed the girl who had won first prize the prior three years. After the contest, I became even more involved in theater. Through theater I was able to apply the new found confidence that I had acquired by playing different roles and use that to bring many characters to life on stage.

After I came out of the last "Harry Potter" movie I was extremely upset. Although I was sad my favorite series had finally come to a close, I was also sad because I knew my childhood had ended with "Harry Potter." The series ended right before my first year of high school. The ending of "Harry Potter" made me realize that it was time for me to grow up and move on to bigger things. It was time to unveil myself and reveal the young adult that I was becoming. I still have my "Harry Potter" books and look forward to one day analyzing how they performed their magic on me and so many others. I will also say that they will always hold a special place in my heart but will no longer reign on the shelf over my bed.

So that was my college essay. Yeah it's got some cliché stuff in there, but hey if you say you didn't use a cliché in your college essay then you're definitely lying. That's like the number one thing kids do to try and make their essays more personal and emotional so college's will fall in love with them. In this case, I'm pretty sure it worked. I owe it to Harry Potter for getting me into college. Thanks, man.