Opening our new regular column to help our Firsties are a few words of wisdom from a second year!
By Chloe McCole, Collaboration with Caleb McCole
Life as a first year isn’t just a new experience, it can be the greatest challenge and will ultimately shape who you become.
It starts from the time you turn eleven; waiting patiently – impatiently for some – and in Hope’s case are completely taken by surprise when the acceptance letter arrives, then trying to gather everything you will need before you head to the train station to find your way onto Platform 9¾.
Stepping foot into the Great Hall of the legendary school that is Hogwarts for the first time can be a bit intimidating. Everything seems so big and finding your way around can be a headache especially when you are in a castle with moving stairs. Believe me, I have gotten lost more than once. It’s a tradition of its very own for firsties at Hogwarts, so you learn quickly that you can’t be afraid to ask one of the many students in the hallways for directions otherwise you risk looking like a typical firstie running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Hope’s advice “try to leave a good half hour before you normally would for class, because it gives you some time to fumble about the halls and find your class without being late, perhaps try drawing a map.” While Rebecca suggests reading up on the castle and its history, to familiarize yourself with it, as there are amazing things here and you’ll get swept up in them if you don’t keep your feet.”
You also have the social demand of trying to fit into a house and make friends with not only your housemates, but classmates as well. Fitting in can seem to be its own impossible challenge. It’s not easy trying to adapt to a whole new environment when you’re eleven years old.
First of all, you are sorted into a house for the rest of your life by an old dusty hat making you forever associated with that house and whatever reputation that came with it. That right there can really hinder trying to make friends. Don’t get me wrong, I love my house but honestly diversification is important, you shouldn’t limit yourselves to just associating with the house you are sorted into. Personally I try to get to know people from other houses because I feel that you would be missing out on a new experience you never thought of before but having a social life is not always possible when you have academic responsibilities.
Some firsties have the challenge of trying to fit into their own house because they are Muggle born, I have seen too many good people shunned simply for not being “pure bloods”, it’s sad really because I remember tales from my father about the greatest Muggle born he had ever personally met, so you never know who will become one of your closest friends if you limit yourself to just one way of thinking. Remember, you should never judge a book by its cover.
The new academic challenge as a firstie can be enough to drive a student to torture themselves by staying up for nights on end kept awake with wide-eyed potions just to study and do homework. You almost don’t even have time to worry about a social life after all the classes and studying.
Despite all the frustration and chaos of trying to get to and from classes, the challenges of trying to fit in and the nights spent awake studying and doing homework to try and keep your grades up, and I would not trade this last year for the world. Looking back to when I first boarded the train I can see how much Hogwarts has helped me grow and it makes me look forward to my next year with great anticipation.
Some good collective advice to the next generation of firsties would be… study hard, get to know the castle and all its secrets, you will be here for seven years after all, listen closely to your professors, they will help guide you, to become a great witch or wizard. Make as many good friends as you can, you may need them later on after graduating. Always remember, you are not alone out there and if you are ever in need of help Rebecca would say “Find Upton. He’s a bit of an oddball Gryff, but if you find yourself in a spot, he’s the best to get you out.”
I hope at least a few of you new students found this article informative and beneficial in your transition to your new life at Hogwarts and carry it with you throughout your time in school. Stay strong, study hard and as Tip would say “Illegitimus non carborundum est. (never let the [expletive removed by editor] wear you down)”
Special thanks to the firsties I interviewed for this article:
Hope Elizabeth Downly