Hermione Granger Saves the World: Essays on the Feminist Heroine of Hogwarts
Also available in ebook formate:
Has a life goal ever seemed so far away? Publication was one of my goals that seemed extremely far away. Yet no matter how far something seems, it doesn’t mean that they’re impossible to reach. It’s a hard lesson to learn and one this publication taught me.
I always thought that I was an average person. When I was in high school, I had no clue what I was going to do with my life. It was luck that got me into college.
Remember those satirical 80s movies depicting teens trying so hard to get into college? They kill themselves taking the SAT and then the ACT. After that they work hard on those college applications by writing an inspiring essay supposedly to shake the foundations of the academic establishment. Upon the completion of all that grueling work, they receive the coveted acceptance letter. I remember watching some characters faint in pleasant shock, or cry their happiness.
When I received my acceptance letter, I wasn’t that excited. Why get excited over something that meant little to me? I had no life goals, I didn’t think I was special enough to have them.
A few times over my high school life I thought I would go to college, get some degree, and get a full-time job. There I would stay for the rest of my life. There’s nothing wrong with this plan. I’m sure most high schoolers have this script in mind while planning the right time to have a family in-between. To them, it’s a fulfilling life and what’s expected of them. To me it felt depressingly empty. Where was the happiness? Furthermore, I had no drive to do much of anything while floating around the academic establishment.
During my lengthy undergraduate life, I battled things that – I imagine – most young adults battle to become older and wiser. I battled depression, I was in a destructive relationship, and I was kicked out of school because of bad grades.
Now I wonder how I gathered the courage to write a letter to the school board and beg my way back into the college’s good graces. Why did I feel so determined to stay in college when, before, I had no drive to do much of anything? Perhaps I had a subconscious premonition regarding the direction of my destiny.
After I fought the shameless begging and bargaining, I found my fate a year later with the help of a counselor obsessed with Native American Culture. His office was ostentatiously decorated in Native American art work and he was costumed in denim, silver, and turquoise. I perceived the uniqueness of the moment as the Universe’s message to me.
I’m happy that I listened and didn’t consider the man a complete nut job. He asked me the one question that needed to be asked at that time: What makes you happy? My instant answer was “Reading.” He patiently watched me waiting for the lightbulb moment. When epiphany struck, I felt instantly rejuvenated and plunged headlong into the unknown. From that moment, it was a domino effect of events that led me to this moment.
I make my life’s highway seem effortless after enlightenment. Yet every road has some bumps. I had to contend with an extended family that perhaps tried hard to understand my perspective, and instead managed to make me feel alienated. There was my graduate counselor who’s job it was to encourage and mentor me through my Masters degree. Instead she discouraged and denied me the kind words I needed at the time. She was the one who told me that it was impossible to be published much less be chosen to deliver a paper at a national or international conference with just a Masters degree. During my time off from academia she encouraged me to center on little known conferences than something as grandiose as an academic publication or an international conference. Maybe she had a low opinion of my ideas or my writing. Perhaps she had a low opinion of my character.
I have found no basis in fact for her paltry advise. Before I graduated, she was proven wrong on one count. I delivered a paper at an international conference where I found acceptance and kindred spirits. It’s sad when you have to travel outside your country and away from your school to find encouragement and acceptance.
Shortly after graduation I discovered that the conference was a part of my destiny. I met and befriended a colleague there who later sent a call for essays notice to me. He rightly thought that the subject matter would interest me. The notice was looking for essay abstracts exploring Hermione Granger as a feminist.
When I was accepted to college, I didn’t care. When I was accepted to graduate school, I could only feel relieved. The day I received the e-mail accepting my proposal for inclusion in the Hermione Granger publication I was in the middle of Target crying out complicated feelings of disbelief and joy.
The book was published on July 31st of this year. I have a copy of it and can see my name, my writing, in print. The feeling is surreal. I’m not sure when reality will hit. I’m not sure if I’ll feel vindicated because I just proved my woefully inadequate graduate counselor wrong…yet again. The one thing I am positive about is my renewed sense of purpose in continuing my education and making at least a small difference in the world.