Why Hermione Granger is my back-to-school inspiration

It’s deep into September, but we know that going back to school can be a serious, weeks-long adjustment. In case you’re still struggling with that back-to-school blues, one of our contributor’s has a role model you can think about as you’re loading up your backpack and lugging around those textbooks: Harry Potter’s own Hermione Granger. Why Hermione? Here are a few reasons.

She isn’t ashamed of who she is

Hermione is blindingly smart, and there’s no way she didn’t hear those nasty comments (“know it all” ring a bell for anyone, here?) as her hand shot up in response to every professor’s question. Being a smart girl is definitely not always easy, and anyone that’s ever been the first person to turn in an exam or answer three questions in a row during class knows that first hand. But whenever I feel myself hesitating to show up to a professor’s office hours for the second time that week or take on that seriously intimidating but super fascinating essay topic, I remember that Hermione would totally go for it.

She seriously understands the power of networking

Hermione was close friends with the Boy who Lived before she even reached the end of her first year, and she stayed loyal to her friends even when things got difficult. Her dedication to academics and proven goodness of character earned her trust and respect among her teachers, and in addition to being solid friends and mentors, those connections often times came in handy, and she was confident enough to call on them to help her where they could.

She also made friends with unlikely heroes (including the half-giant Grawp), and even though others may have doubted the value of having a friendship to someone so unconventional, these people often ended up literally saving her life at one point or another. Being kind is almost always a good idea- you never know who could end up helping you out in the end.

She takes opportunities as they come, and figures them out as she goes

When Hermione wanted to take more classes than the constraints of her already busy schedule allowed, she was offered the option of using a time-turner to literally be in two places at once. While there is absolutely something to be said for self-care and knowing your limits, opportunities like that are rare, and pretty darn cool. I often find myself hesitating to take on all the things that I want to do because I’m afraid of disappointing someone, but the truth is, sometimes the best philosophy is to say “yes” and figure it out as you go.

She stands by her instincts

And doesn’t doubt what she knows to be true- even in life or death situations. Remember when she knew how to escape the Devil’s Snare, and calmly and firmly told her friends what to do to avoid being strangled? And she was, what, eleven? Hermione’s quick judgement and confidence kept her safe and in control in some seriously tricky situations. Developing those instincts isn’t something that can be done overnight, but with patience and conscious effort, they are a super useful skill set that can help you be your best.

There is also something to be said for keeping yourself distanced from people who you know are bad news. Hermione knew when she got bad vibes from people that shouldn’t be trusted, like Rita Skeeter or Delores Umbridge, and she definitely knew how to deal with a certain flaxen-haired schoolyard bully.

She uses her passion and integrity to motivate her

Hermione believes strongly in adhering to what she believes is right, and is definitely an overall rule-follower, but she also isn’t afraid to bend the rules, whether that be by brewing Polyjuice potion or sneaking off of school grounds, as long is it is in pursuit of the greater good. When she and her classmates were struggling to learn a subject, she started a super secret group that was extremely risky to be a part of in order to make sure everyone learned those skills. And after seeing a house-elf being treated poorly, she single-handedly started a campaign for the fair treatment of house elves. When Hermione sees something wrong that she knows she can fix, there isn’t a whole lot that can stop her in that pursuit, and that’s really pretty cool.

So what’s my New (school) Year’s resolution this fall? Be more like Hermione.

[Images courtesy Warner Bros.]

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