The boy wizard goes to college
I packed enough stuff to fill an apartment, even though I was moving into one half of a closet-sized room. I had the essentials, such as clothes, bedding, a suitcase dedicated solely to shoes, and a box of food for the nights when the dining hall dinners looked inedible, but mixed in with my textbooks were all seven volumes about the boy wizard’s adventures.
Some might say, “Harry Potter? That’s been over with for years!” but I think the rest of us know better. All you have to do is step onto a college campus for a couple of hours, and you’ll notice that Harry Potter is definitely not a thing of the past.
You could make a game out of counting how many Harry Potter sweatshirts walk by. I am pleased to announce that my own house, Hufflepuff, is strongly represented. During Harry Potter weekends on TV you can walk through the dorm hallways and see snippets of the films playing on the television sets of the “open-door” rooms. I’ve overheard so many Potter conversations in the dining halls that I’ve lost track, but it always makes me smile when you come across an especially in-depth one, still analyzing the books’ themes and meanings.
With random roommate selections you never know what to expect, but somehow I was paired with another Potter nerd. On nights when there is so much homework to get done that you naturally do anything to avoid starting it, my roommate and I pass the time watching Harry Potter parodies, autotunes, and Potter Puppet Pals on Youtube. When we grow tired of that, we often look up Harry Potter trivia on the Internet and quiz each other. Between the two of us we almost named all 148 flavors of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans.
I’ve always known that Harry Potter would forever be a part of my life, but it wasn’t entirely expected that it would turn into something that I would have in common with so many other people my age. I didn’t realize that once I got to college it would be a conversation starter with strangers and an icebreaker with a new roommate. I think our generation is very lucky to have this book turned cultural phenomenon to use as a tool to relate to each other. When you’re thrown into the unnatural situation of college (Who thought of throwing a bunch of 18-22-year-olds in a confined space to live and learn together while racking up debt?), you feel like you’re completely alone even though there are so many people around you. Until you make new friends, your life is lacking in contact with people. Often, I’ll find myself having an easy conversation with someone I’ve never met before, simply because I’ve commented on their scarf or Quidditch sweatshirt. Even if you have nothing else in common, when you find another Harry Potter fan you know you grew up with some mutual friends within the pages of a book.
The Boy Who Lived may have wrapped up his adventures in ink and on the big screen, but the stories are alive and well on college campuses, living on through the enthusiasm of the Potter generation and their reliance on something familiar as they make the transition from the life they knew to the unpredictable waters of adulthood.