As the end of the semester quickly approaches, two of the most stressful times in a college student’s life occur, that would be finals and registering for the next term’s classes. And believe me trying to find five classes that fulfill your requirements, might actually be interesting, have a good professor, a perfect time slot and are open, is definitely more cutthroat and panic-inducing than any final you could take.

In order to figure out which classes I needed to take for the fall semester, I met with my advisor twice within in a one week span (trying to limit my meltdowns to a minimum ;)). I am going to be quite honest here, although I love my major and the majority of classes I need to take for it, I hate actually telling people what my major is because that always leads into the discussion about my future, and truthfully I have no clue what I want to do when I graduate. Heck some days after I watch animal movies, I’m convinced I want to be a marine biologist and if so I am definitely on the wrong track!

It seems as though no matter how old you are, whether 2 or 20, you will be asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” until you actually have a steady job that doesn’t pay you in tips. I have had some pretty crazy dream jobs in my short lifetime, for a while there I was certain I would go to the Fashion Institute of Technology and become a fashion designer (considering I can’t draw or sew, that idea is pretty much shot), but I was also definitely in that camp of youngsters who wanted to have the same profession as their parents, and for me that meant becoming a librarian just like my mom.

I grew up in libraries, literally. I remember spending countless hours with my mom at work, sitting in the back room reading the newest books to come in, one of the great perks of having a librarian for a mother is you get all the new books first, oh and no late fines ;). I give full credit to my mother for instilling in me a great love of books, when other children my age “didn’t read”, I would get punished for reading too much! My parents used to take my books away from me so I would go outside to play or do my homework, and as any book lover knows, having to stop reading when you are so engrossed in a book it becomes your world, is absolute torture.

As cliché as this may sound, especially for the fellow bibliophiles of my generation, no book (or should I say books) has affected my life as much as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series has. For anyone who is completely oblivious to life somehow does not know about this amazing  seven-book series it was written by British author Joanne Rowling, about a threesome of teenage wizards (Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger) who attend Hogwarts a school of witchcraft and wizardry where they not only have to deal with the normal pains of growing up but also have to fight against the evil magic of Lord Voldemort and his followers (or Death Eaters). And that is pretty much the quickest synopsis of the overall series I can give without making this the longest blog post in all of Internet history 🙂

I first discovered the HP series when I was in 3rd grade, the third book (Prisoner of Azkaban) had just been published and the series itself had not yet exploded into the phenomenon it is today. My sister had read the books when they were first coming out (once again I credit this to my librarian mother, getting first dibs) so we had the books lying around the house, and my dad though it would be a good idea to read the first book (Sorcerer’s Stone) together. I believe one of the best outcomes of Harry Potter is the way it appeals to multiple ages, how it can bring family members together, sure it is considered a “children’s’ novel” but the series is so complex and filled with questions about life, even adults can appreciate the magic of Harry Potter (pun intended :)).

I have only been alive for 20 years and for ten of those years (half of my life, a full decade) I spent them anxiously awaiting the next HP midnight release whether for one the books or one of the movies, the Harry Potter movie franchise is the highest grossing film series of all time. To say that Harry Potter has not influenced my life would be a lie, I spent my summers and holiday seasons growing up, re-reading each book in the series until the new one debuted, and seeing each movie at least 3 times in the theaters. I quite honestly have lost track of the amount of times I have read each book or seen each movie. Harry Potter is where I turn when I am bored and don’t feel like starting a new series or film, it’s comforting the familiarity of it and although I have read the books countless times, each time I begin one of the books again I get a sense of excitement and find something new to love.

Rowling’s creation of Pottermore, an online, interactive, literary experience (a website the first of its kind) has only fueled the Potter-mania fire with her release of never discussed details and deleted texts. Even in college, Harry Potter is an ever-present presence in my life, as I have turned from wasting my time on Facebook to wasting my time on Pottermore.

Harry Potter has also altered the way I read other books, for example had I merely read the blurb for the series The Hunger Games, about a postapocalyptic world where young children fight to the death for entertainment, I most likely would have skipped over reading this particular series. However, reading a fantasy story, when I am definitely more along the lines of a biography/history type reader, has taught me (like the old adage goes; “you can’t judge a book by its cover”) you can’t judge a book by its genre or basic description.

I could write for hours (I have definitely had 6 hour-long conversations with fellow fans) about my love for Rowling’s series and how it has changed my life and made me more well read (learning about the connections between Rowling’s books and Shakespeare, had me checking out all the Bard’s works) but I would rather you, readers, go out and read Harry Potter for yourself and experience what it is like to have 4,000 or so pages of writing make a lasting impact on your life. I will leave you with this quote that to me defines what Harry Potter means to my generation: “After all this time?” “Always” said Snape.

 

  • What book (or books) have impacted your life?
Advertisements