During my freshman year, one of my philosophy professors made regular references to Harry Potter. After returning our first round of exams, he explained some of the common mistakes but added that all of the Hermione’s in the class got that right. Looking down at my exam, I found what I already knew: I was a Hermione.
Now I’m not about to debate the merits of this character with you. We already know that the girl should have had the series named after her. She’s utterly brilliant, totally has her priorities in order, and her cleverness saves Harry more than a time or two. However, she has a particular proclivity for being irritating, and Ron may have been on the right track when he complained “It’s no wonder she hasn’t got any friends.” As a Hermione myself, I have toed the line between being the one with the answers and the know-it-all.
Here are some things you can do to be this Hermione:
Without being this Hermione:
Do: Read nonfiction. Hermione’s favorite book was Hogwarts: A History, and her reasons are pretty obvious. How exciting is the founding of every Muggle’s favorite magical school? Muggle history is filled with heroes and villains too, just like Godric and Salazar, and learning about our history helps us understand our future.
Don’t: Scoff at others fascination with things you think are trivial, like Divination and Nicholas Sparks books. Everybody needs a good cream puff periodically.
Do: Speak up in class. I wouldn’t know for sure, but I think that professors must have a love/hate relationship with discussion classes. Presumably, they’re more fun to teach, but it can be difficult to invoke thoughtful discussion when no one in your class has read the material. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard a professor ask a question to a completely silent room. They try to keep calm, but there is usually a glint of panic in their eyes. In discussion classes especially, your professors rely on YOU to make the discussion lively and worthwhile. Your contribution will usually bring relief and give other students the confidence to pitch in with their own ideas.
Don’t: Speak up in class with this level of enthusiasm. Just don’t.
Do: Try to work on assignments as soon as they are assigned. It’ll prevent the snowballing of various assignments, and you won’t need a time turner to get everything done.
Don’t: Do your lazy best friend’s assignments, even if he is your future husband.
Do: Allow yourself to be emotional. Somehow Hermione embodies every trait of a true Gryffindor without being stony. Rowling even describes Hermione as being rather weepy, so don’t bottle up your feelings in order to seem strong.
Don’t: Be so consumed by your bathroom stall crying that you don’t notice the giant troll that wanders in. Or do. Who knows? Maybe you’ll meet your best friends. Or get pummeled by a troll. Or whatever.