2014 Progress Report

I’m okay. Are you okay?

So far my year has been entirely consumed by January exams and two bastard assignments. One assignment was as painful as if each word was drawing ink from my blood, à la Harry Potter. The other was (and don’t tell anybody this!) rather enjoyable – HP versus Twilight: the showdown, as I am referring to it. The exams, though, were both a nightmare. These assessments were so stressful that it put rather a dampener on the Christmas period for me, and made January more enjoyable than December because, really, the anticipation is far worse than the event. I hope T.S. Eliot feels bad about this whole sorry business to be honest. Now I have one of those bad boys out of the way, and another imminent.

Also in Jan: I crammed in a bunch of pre-revision treats, frequenting Prezzo like the pasta fiend that I am. My wonderful, heaven-sent best friend landed us HAIM tickets for a relatively small venue – the kind that they’ll probably not be playing for much longer. And I bought myself makeup treats, my favourite kind of treats, to counteract the revision struggle. Pass or fail, I have some beautiful Real Techniques brushes now so I think I carpe’d the shit out of that diem.

Thankfully, we are hastily nearing the end of the assessment fest and February beckons. February, in all its short and romantic glory, is coming to my rescue. We start new, much more appealing units (i.e. no modernism) and I get to go out, do things, see people. One of the worst aspects of the relentless reading, researching, writing and revising spiral has been my loss of fitness. I have only been running once a week, for the Saturday Parkrun, rather than 2-3 times, and I have really felt the difference. My “motivational” snacking added to the lack of exercise does not make for a healthy equation. I’m very much looking forward to getting back into my usual routine. This hermit-esque revision behaviour is really not a fun way of life, I gotta tell you. I think, also, I’m going to buy myself a new leather jacket and that in itself will give me a whole new lease of life, I’m sure. Fingers crossed anyway.

So, all in all, January’s been fine, February’s going to be chill, March’ll be HAIMtastic and in April, we’ll hopefully see the elusive sun again. I am feeling pretty darn positive about the beginning of the new year.

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Why I’m Glad I Didn’t Go To Hogwarts

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Have a biscuit.

Listen, I know what you’re thinking but hear me out. At this point, I’ve seen so many “when will my Hogwarts acceptance letter arrive” statuses that the total word count would probably exceed Facebook’s terms and conditions. And I get it. You want to hang with McGonogall, you want a little taste of that Butterbeer and to escape the mundane in favour of the magical. However, I recently re-read one of the books and it occurred to me… I don’t think anyone’s really thought this through properly.

  1.  Terrorism. That school is a bigger terrorist target than the Houses of Parliament. I mean, they should probably name a condiment after it. It’s crazy. Yes, there’s a magical shield protecting the school but, ultimately, how much use is that in seventh year? I feel like adolescence is traumatic enough without having to worry about Death Eaters!
  2. Student counselling. In re-reading the fifth novel, it occurred to me that the school did Cho Chang a major disservice in the lack of available counselling. The poor girl is in her fifth year and has to deal with the death of her boyfriend (perhaps someone should tell her that he came back as a vampire). She spends the whole book crying and no one seems to care. Also, in first year, Harry has to adjust from living in a cupboard under the stairs to suddenly being the second most famous wizard and the target of a scary nose-less monster. Perhaps he’d want to talk that through with a trained professional, no? Maybe if Tom Riddle had been able to talk to someone about his troubles, maybe get some CBT, maaaaybe the whole sorry business wouldn’t have happened. Just sayin’.
  3. The Hogwarts Houses. Do you really want your life trajectory to be determined by a smug talking hat? If dude yells, “Slytherin!” I think you have every right to just respond with, “Bitch, you don’t know my life!” Why do they even have Slytherin? It feels like 11 years old is a little young to effectively call out a quarter of the school year as utter scum, no? And it’s just like, oh, spoiler alert: at the last minute Gryffindor win because Harry and co. defeated Voldemort… again.
  4. English, Maths and Science are pretty important subjects. I hate to be a total nerd here but I think everyone can recognise the notable difference in their skills in all three subjects between the ages of 11 and 18, can’t they? I dread to think what my life would look like if I still had just the literacy skills I acquired in primary school. I sure as hell wouldn’t be able to use a semi-colon. Sure, Potions might replicate Chemistry and History of Magic might replicate History and Ancient Runes might replicate Modern Languages, but they need a little literacy on that curriculum. This school cannot be Ofsted approved. I’m surprised Hermione let this slide.
  5. Technology is basically more advanced than magic at this point. Think about it. Who wants owls when you could send someone a message instantaneously over email? And who needs a Marauders Map when everyone’s phones have GPS? Those moving portraits? Helloooo, gifs! Remember when Harry and Sirius had to stick their heads into fireplaces to communicate? Well, now we have Skype. And no one has ever needed a mobile phone more than Harry Potter: “Hey Harry, it’s Harry. Hang in there. I love you. Bye.” I feel like technology has rendered the magical world rather redundant. I’m not saying it lessens the enjoyment of a rewatch but if the films had been delayed and were being released now, wouldn’t you wonder why Harry didn’t get a laptop, or a phone? I feel like it wouldn’t feel at all current. While those things existed when Harry Potter was released, they’ve since become ubiquitous. Twitter would have really helped the DA in Deathly Hallows because, hello, coded tweets for the resistance. Also, can you imagine Voldemort’s smack talk tweets…

Untitled-1Are you sure you want to go to Hogwarts, folks? I mean, this is a big decision and I just want you to think this through. You can take your special, bespoke wand made of unicorn tears and shamrocks but you’ll have to leave that Macbook with your Muggle parents. Yes, that’s right. And your smartphone!

I hope that Butterbeer is worth it.