The Granger Effect: Is It Finally Cool to Work Hard?
Recently, I was interviewed on how Harry Potter had changed my life and encouraged me to seek further education. Reflecting on this, it dawned on me that we have a generation who has embraced studying and who isn’t afraid to be clever.
I truly believe that a lot of this comes down to Hermione Granger. Finally, we had a feisty, adventurous, and intelligent young woman whose second home was the library.
Because that’s what Hermione does,” said Ron, shrugging. “When in doubt, go to the library.” (Chamber of Secrets 255)
Without trying to sound like an old fart, when I was a kid it just wasn’t something you embraced. If you were studying, you wouldn’t dare say you were studying. If you knew the answer, you’d never put your hand up to answer for fear of being declared a teacher’s pet, or worse: a geek. It was taken for granted that if you got good grades it was because you were clever, not because you worked hard and wrote 5,000 drafts of an essay before handing it in.
By reading the Harry Potter series, we were shown the other side of being clever – the side when you pull all-nighters in the library researching and rewriting your work, when you’re overworked and stressed, and when you have to create multiple study timetables to keep on top of your work.
Even other school-based books I read as a young girl did not show this side, and it came as a shock to me when I became a full-time student. I was average. End of. And I succumbed to this idea.
Cue a bushy-haired, book-carrying, note-taking Hermione. Okay, so I’m not too sure why it took a character in a book to realize I needed to take notes in class, but it did! And off I ran to the library to take out every book vaguely related to my subject!
Seeing a student work hard and be rewarded for working hard was new! Yes, Hermione did overwork herself in Prisoner of Azkaban, but seeing her, of all people, accept that she has a limit and come to terms with that was powerful.
Now, Hermione did not have it easy at school. Being clever did not make her popular, but she did have friends who loved her and wanted to be around her. There was more to it, though. She had a vision and a purpose, and she certainly used this to her advantage when studying.
Maybe it was a bit of a stretch and unfair to suggest that being clever is only “cool” now. Because that assumes that it fits a set definition of cool, when actually, geeks, nerds, and know-it-alls are all “cool” around the right people! So don’t be put off or scared to work hard; channel your inner Granger, and embrace it!
Oh, and why not come along to MuggleNet Live! 2017 on September 1 to celebrate Nineteen Years Later with the biggest group of nerds you can meet!