How Harry Potter Prepared Me For College
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How Harry Potter Prepared Me For College

How Harry Potter Prepared Me For College

Harry Potter was a friend to me as a child and is a teacher to me, now.

It wasn't until I got to college and made a mistake or two, that I realized Harry Potter had already prepared me to deal with anything life threw at me. 

It's easy to get caught up in the college scene -- the parties, the freedom, the unlimited meal plan and the lack of attendance records. But, for all of us who grew up with Harry Potter and have a "howler" with Molly Weasley's voice yelling at us in the back of our mind, while we may make mistakes, we were raised right. The characters in Harry Potter are what make the series. It's their strengths and weaknesses, victories and losses and, above all, their choices that have helped prepare me for college. 

Hermione Granger taught me to do the reading. 

It just may save your life -- or your grade. Harry and Ron lucked out the day they befriended Hermione. Not only did her impeccable work ethic pay off in the classroom, and later in her career, but her intelligent and quick mind saved their lives countless times. When faced with a problem, take a play out of Hermione's book. Go to the library and hit the books. Beyond just doing her work and being an exemplary friend, Hermione proves it's cool to be a smart girl and, for that, I thank her. She has taught me a great deal about being confident in my intelligence and never apologizing for being successful.

Luna Lovegood taught me it's better to be true to yourself, and have some haters, than to change who you are.

College is a time of reinvention for many freshman students -- no one knows you and you can be anyone you want. Be like Luna and embrace your individuality! People are already trying to follow the trends, to pick up the latest lingo and to look exactly like this celebrity or that celebrity, so break away from the crowd and be your own trend setter! If you are the only one following your trend, that's okay; Luna stepped to the beat of her own drum and made a name for herself as an honest and kind friend. Be remembered for the parts of you that matter most, and leave your mark on your university like Luna did on Hogwarts.

Harry and Cho Chang's relationship taught me that your first love is not necessarily your last, and that is okay.

Sadly, for Harry, he was Cho's rebound relationship after stud, Cedric Diggory, was tragically murdered by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and it showed during their super awkward first date. When it's right, you'll know it; never settle.

Professor Lupin taught me that having a great teacher can change your perspective on a subject for the better.

The Defense Against the Dark Arts teaching position is not the most stable position at Hogwarts. First with evil Professor Quirell and then narcissistic Professor Lockheart, Harry does not begin his time at Hogwarts loving this class, in fact he dreads it. But once Professor Remus Lupin steps into the classroom, Harry has a new learning experience that ignites a passion for Defense Against The Dark Arts that eventually leads to a career as an Auror. Take it from someone who hated Economics until taking ECON 200 (big shout out to Professor Reff!) and now can be found reading the Wall Street Journal on occasion, a great professor changes everything. Use Rate My Professor to check out which professors are going to be the best for you this school year! They probably won't be as cool as Lupin but they can try.

Molly Weasley taught me that moms are people, too--in fact, sometimes they are total bad asses.

Molly Weasley, the mother of the seven Weasley children, is always a warm presence throughout the series. She is motherly with Harry upon first meeting him, helping him through to the train platform, and never stops mothering him. Molly can be found cleaning, cooking, gardening, or giving out a really great hug or a really intimidating "mom stare." It isn't until the Battle of Hogwarts that we see who Molly is besides being an awesome mom. While defending her youngest child and only daughter, Ginny, Molly yells out, "Not my daughter, you bitch!" and kills the much hated Bellatrix Lestrange. Once you go away to college and you no longer view your parents as "those people who yell at me to do my homework and to clean my room" then you have the opportunity to get to know them as people, and as friends. Your mom (or dad) may also be a bad ass, just like Molly Weasley.

Gryffindor House taught me to celebrate my friends' victories just as happily as I would celebrate my own.

Gryffindors are genuinely happy to see their friends' succeed and are always up for a celebratory party in the common room. In college, you may see your friends get the job, internship, leadership position, or greek chapter that you had your eye on and it can be difficult to be happy for them in that moment. Remember that your time will come and know that your friend will be there chugging a "butter beer" right alongside you giving you a big thumbs up. Be like the Gryffindors, grab a cup and join in on the fun--celebrate!

Dumbledore taught me that, while we may be growing up, you are never too old to use passwords named after desserts like "Sherbet Lemon."

Being the oldest and wisest wizard of them all, Dumbledore offers up some great life advice throughout the years, as well as some well timed winks that let you know he is in on the joke. While we may grow old we don't have to grow old at heart! Your education should be taken seriously but that doesn't mean you can't still hold on to your youth; eat macaroni and cheese, make silly passwords, and dance like Dumbledore here.

Harry Potter taught me to break the rules and deal with the consequences later.

If Harry followed all of Hogwarts' rules (no wandering in the corridors after hours, never go inside the Forbidden Forest, never go to the third floor corridor or you will face a tragic and untimely death…), he would have never made it past age eleven! Some rules are put in place for your safety and others are just important to follow such as University policy and traffic laws, but others are there to be broken! Never conform to someone else's idea or what "normal" is--that is for you to decide for yourself! While Harry suffered the consequences with either excruciatingly boring or extremely dangerous detentions (having first year, eleven year old students do yard work in the highly dangerous FORBIDDEN Forest probably wasn't their best plan), he used the freedom of choice and lived his life the way he wanted.

Professor Umbridge taught me that dressing sweetly does not make someone a kind person and to scope out the fakers. 

In many ways, Umbridge is worse than Voldemort because she is the every day type villain that everyone can relate to. We have all had teachers who put us down and made us feel that our thoughts and questions are unworthy. Professor Umbridge's office is decorated with kittens and lace and pink everything, but that does not mean she oozes kindness. In college, you will meet people who "walk the walk" and "talk the talk" but you won't know what kind of a friend they are until times get tough. Hold on to the friends that are there for you when you are down and say goodbye to the fakers like Umbridge.

Sirius Black taught me that it is okay to explore your own beliefs, outside of what your family believes.

Being the only member of the Black family to not be sorted into Slytherin House already distinguished him as "different" from his family; when he was sorted into Gryffindor House--Slytherin's biggest rival--he defied the family norms further. Sirius is a loyal and brave friend, supporting Lily and James Potter over The Dark Lord, whom his family sides with. He then spends thirteen years in Azkaban prison for a crime he did not commit but still manages to show love and empathy for others after being freed. College is the first time you are away from your parents' influence. Figure out what you believe, not just what you have been told to believe. Get involved with a cause you care about. Join a club or two or three. Not that your family is quite like the Blacks, but only you can decide the right way to live your life.

Fred and George taught me that all you really ever need is a good laugh.

During the darkest time in wizard history, Fred and George are able to bring some light and laughter back into the world with their joke shop. Even before opening their shop, these jokesters knew how to entertain! Sometimes life can be overwhelming--you might be emotionally and physically exhausted after Finals or maybe you are just having a bad day--and you need a good, long laugh. College is stressful but don't underestimate the power of a good joke. Find the friends that make you smile.

Neville taught me that you never really know someone's past and/or upbringing and to not make assumptions.

Neville's parents bravely fought off Voldemort's Death Eaters but were tortured until the point of insanity when Neville was a baby; his grandma then raised him and he always felt pressure to live up to his parents' legacy. He is seen as the stuttering, nerdy, forgetful, and clumsy boy and in his beginning years at Hogwarts he is teased mercilessly. No one stops and gets to know him before making assumptions about him and it isn't until years after knowing him that Harry discovers the truth about Neville's parents. You will meet so many new people during college and everyone starts out with a clean slate, but that does't mean they are perfect or that their past is perfect, either. Really get to know the people you are making friends with--go to lunch together, take an exercise class together, even just running errands together allows you to get to know them better than if you only ever go out partying with them. Your "going out friends" aren't going to be the ones you call when you are having an irrational meltdown and need someone to snuggle with and watch Disney movies all night long with. Find the friends, like Neville, who will tell you when you are wrong and keep you in check. 

Dobby taught me that it is perfectly acceptable to wear your favorite outfit over and over again.

Dobby is freed with an old, dirty sock by Harry Potter and after he is free and able to choose his own clothing, he falls in love with funky patterned socks. Dobby wears his unconventional outfits loud and proud and never apologizes for liking what he likes. Despite the odd looks he gets from Harry and his friends, as well as the whispers he hears about himself from the other kitchen elves, he never falters in his love for socks. It is okay to wear your favorite sweatshirt and most comfy leggings every day during the winter and you never need apologize for rocking the messy top knot look day after day. Pull a Dobby and work them funky outfits!

Arthur Weasley taught me that finding a career you are passionate about is far more important than money.

Humble and loving father, Arthur Weasley, is fascinated by muggle items and never ceases an opportunity to continue his learning. Even in the midst of his extremely uncomfortable first meeting with the Dursleys, he does not hesitate to ask how certain muggle items function. Unlike Lucius Malfoy, Arthur is not solely motivated by money and finds his worth through means outside of his salary. College is the place where you are supposed to decide what you wish to do with the rest of your life. That can be a very daunting task. As a Senior this year, just figuring out my life goals after three change of major forms and lots of phone calls to my mom, I can attest that finding the right path for you can be difficult. It is difficult to block out what you think society expects of you. It is difficult to deviate from the mental picture you had as a child of what your life should look like by this point in your life. It is difficult to admit to yourself what it is you really want. But once you find what gets you fired up and what you are passionate about, you won't work a day in your life because you will be doing what you love, just like Arthur Weasley.

Last but not least…

Voldemort taught me that even if you have seven lives, none of them are worth living if you can't love.

Voldemort was born from a witch who cursed a handsome muggle man into loving her using a love potion; anyone born from a love potion is cursed to never be able to love. Voldemort tries to make his own version of "friends" through his followers, his Death Eaters, and since he cannot love he invokes fear instead. Dumbledore says it best when he tells Harry: "Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love." I know I have said it before but find friends who love you and whom you love back. Surround yourself with happiness and laughter and thank your lucky stars to be able to love.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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