1. School isn’t everything.
Yes, it’s important and there’s absolutely something to be said for being as badass and brainy as Hermonie Granger, the best witch in her year, but it’s not the end all be all definition of your potential. Instead, Harry, Ron, Hermonie, Neville, and the rest of the gang show us that loyalty to your friends, the ability to stick to your morals, and independent thought are some of the most important character traits one can possess.
2. Don’t underestimate young people.
Dumbledore even says this in the sixth book, “Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.” Every interaction I’ve had working with children, whether it’s babysitting, teaching, or as a camp counselor, there have been children who have surpassed my expectations. Kids are smart, they are creative, they think about things differently, and they often know more than they’re given credit for. If I ever have children, I hope I remember this.
3. Bravery is not overrated.
Whatever bravery means to you, whether it be standing up to a bully, picking up your life to move to a new city where you know no one, or serving your country and community and putting yourself in danger every day, it’s important to do things that scare you. Not necessarily in a life-threatening way, but in a way that challenges you to grow. Be brave, you’re capable of it.
4. Teachers are very important people.
As we progress through school, it’s very likely that we will spend more hours of the weekdays with our teachers than with our parents, especially if our parents have jobs. Teachers are responsible for shaping the people we become. They reward us with good grades and let us know we’re capable of more when we earn bad ones. But the greatest teachers of all are the ones who know that grades aren’t always a reflection of intelligence. Good teachers challenge us, and make us feel valued. Professor McGonagall is a case in point, as is my high school English teacher.
5. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do.
Do you think Harry wanted to have the fate of the Wizarding World on his shoulders? Probably not. Do you think I want to write a thirty-page research paper about the Israeli Palestinian conflict? Probably not. But we’re going to, Harry and I. We will get up, take a deep breath, and go get it done. Why? Because we told ourselves we would, and we told others we would. Be accountable to yourself, and to your team.
6. Surround yourself with the right people.
It may take a while to find the people who would do anything for you, and you for them, but when you do, there’s nothing like it. Hang out with people that make you your best self.
7. Stand up for what you believe in.
Remember when Harry told off the Minister of Magic because he insulted Dumbledore and called Harry a liar? That was pretty cool. But more importantly, Harry believed in something and he wasn’t willing to compromise because someone in authority told him to. Sometimes sticking to your morals is going to piss people off. And sometimes you should stick to your morals anyway.