When I was twelve years old, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s (Philosopher’s, if you’re British) Stone came out. I remember my teacher handing it to me as a gift in the seventh grade, and me thinking, “Thanks,” and tossing it aside. It only took a couple of weeks for me to get it together and start reading the most important series of my life. The eighth book, which was just released on July 31st marked eighteen years of living my life with Harry Potter, a fictional character who, for me, feels like home.
For all you Potterheads out there (www.pottermore.com), yes, I’m a Hufflepuff. Calm down and before you start judging, I’m also 10% Gryffindor and 10% Ravenclaw. AND I’m sure there is more Slytherin in there than I’m willing to admit. The fact is, we are all a little bit of everything, so thank you J.K. Rowling for making us feel less alone and more relatable to everyone.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Harry Potter has been my life for a long time. Every year I make it a point to re-read all seven books and re-watch all eight movies. With that comes the memory of the utter joy it gave me to finally feel like I fit in; there’s an author, a character, a world, a story that gets me.
Are you serious, Brogan? A magical/fantasy book? No way. Yes, way.
It’s important to all of us to feel loved, needed, and like we belong somewhere, and for me, that was Harry Potter. So many of you beautiful creatures will be searching for love and a sense of belonging during your first year of college.
Who will understand me? Who will empower me? Who will force me to disregard equity and hate muggles? How will I learn to be kind and make friends? How will I succeed and pass my OWLs? Will I ever feel like my presence matters? Do I dare go into the forbidden forest? How will I contribute to this community of wizards and witches? Can I save my friends? Can I learn that love is stronger than hate? Who is my Dumbledore?
You are not alone. Every new first-year student has similar worries and fears. Here are a few relatable Harry Potter things to think about:
- The Marauder’s Map takes many shapes. The infamous map that guided Harry though Hogwarts helped him with many adventures. My Marauder’s Map during my freshman year was my work-study job in the Financial Aid office. The nature of that job helped guide me through school, as it informed me about the countless amount of resources on campus. Your Marauder’s Map may look very different. It may even be the First Year Success office.
- Find your Ron and Hermione. College is a breeding ground for making lifelong friends. It’s a known fact that students who make at least one friend in college are more likely to succeed. I, like Harry, didn’t just make friends in school, I built a family. Do you think Harry could have gotten through all seven years without his friends? I think not.
- When in doubt, send an owl home. You’re allowed to seek the support of your family members. It doesn’t make you less of an adult to want that extra help. Your family is your partner in this new journey, and they are there to cheer you on. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them. I promise, Mrs. Weasley would be so proud of you.
- Love your education as much as Hermione. One of the main reasons you are at MSU Denver is to get an education. The First Year Success office wants you to love learning, and to cultivate solid academic skills. Study your brains out and stay positive while doing it. And remember, it’s LeviOsa, not LeviosAR!
- Hit up a Quidditch match! Yes, you’re here to learn and get your bachelor’s degree, but you are also here to have fun. Go to a sporting event, join a club, and really make MSU Denver your home away from home. You belong here.
- Your Dumbledore will find you. Trust me. You should let the process of finding a mentor happen organically. My college mentor happened to be one of the directors in the Financial Aid office, Theresa Godinez. She always bestowed upon me so much wisdom and guidance. I couldn’t have made it through school without her. Be patient and open. Your Dumbledore will come when you least expect it.
I wish you the best of luck on your new adventure into Hogwarts…er, I mean college. And I’ll leave you with a little bit of Dumbledore wisdom: “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
❤ Brogs Brogie Brogan
Metropolitan State University of Denver
890 Auraria Parkway, Student Success Building Suite 217, Denver, CO 80217