When I was 11 years old, I was seriously depressed that I didn’t receive an acceptance letter from Hogwarts. I lived in a fairly small town in England and every Sunday on my family’s way to church, we would drive past a field full of bright red poppies; but it wasn’t the poppies I paid attention to. Across the street was a worn-down, tired forest with a decrepit sign screaming “Do Not Enter.” My imagination went wild and I convinced myself that this was the entrance to my magical wizarding world.
I believed in Hogwarts.
Over the years, I forced myself to realize that Hogwarts, along with Harry, The Triwizard Tournament, and Platform 9 ¾ were all nonexistent. I stopped looking for The Leaky Cauldron every time I went to London, and stopped waiting for owls to swoop in over breakfast. Over time, this belief has changed and developed; I now believe in childhood innocence and in hoping for the seemingly impossible. I believe in, to put it simply, believing.
Children’s innocence and ability to believe anything amazes me. Their trust, their inability to be hurt, or to hold grudges, is wonderful. I can’t help but think that, if adults could find this child-like wonder and amazement, the world would be a better place. It is not foolish or unwise to dream. It is foolish and it is unwise to not follow through with these dreams and make something of them.
Perhaps that is the problem with adults. Children have these dreams and plan to succeed: they envision themselves as the perfectly poised ballerina or the GI Joe off fighting war. And then the children grow up. They become adults and find themselves discouraged at all that the large world has to offer: how is one to choose a profession and make a living? They do what is easy and what makes sense. They lose sight of their dreams.
I’m a college student trying to determine what to do with my life: where to go, what to do, and who to become. I know that many others are faced with the same decisions I need to make and are likely feeling confused and desperate. I beg you to ask yourself: would the 11 year old you approve?
No, I don’t still believe in a physical Hogwarts; but yes, I do have all my Harry Potter books, stained and dog-eared and shabby as they may be, sitting on my shelves, waiting to be opened up and read once more.
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