A Dilemma of a Gryffindor

It was a Thursday afternoon, my friends and I were waiting for the class to begin as we were discussing out Pottermore’s Hogwart’s House assignment. My friend who had yet taken the test by the o-glorious Sorting Hat claimed that she’s positive she will be a Hufflepuff. Another one were proudly announcing that she’s a Slytherin. Then the two of them suggest another friend to join Pottermore in order to take the Sorting Hat quiz, assuring her that she’s ‘totally a Ravenclaw’ which my friend were excited about. Before I admit myself being sorted a Gryffindor, my Hufflepuff-per-sé friend said that “Good thing we’re not Gryffindors! They are soo boring!” Being the supposedly brave character that I was destined – or um, sorted into, I tried to neutralize the conversation that everyone is special as they are despite their assortment. In a Divergent-esque argument, I said that you can be ambitious, resourceful, brave and be knowledgeable at the same time to ease the tension in a true Hufflepuff fashion (ha! Ironic). I was ashamed that I cannot bravely pronounce that I am a Gryffindor at the time.

“But still, Gryffindor sucks. They had always been perceived as a hero as if we are nothing.” Now, this looks more like a political analysis by the left wing, but I cannot say that they were wrong. J.K. Rowling, a Hufflepuff, had written the book beautifully but only in the perspective of a Gryffindor. They are valued for whatever charm (not a pun to Professor Flitwick’s Charms class) they have that is carried out their bravery while other characters from other houses seemed one-dimensional. The friendship circle was also seen as if each circle belongs only exclusively to one house while inter-house friendship is overshadowed by the great amount of rivalry between the houses in getting their name recognized for the House Cup.

I’ve only read the Harry Potter series last year, I finished the seven books in a month nearing my mid-term tests. I had always been a fan of the franchise, I watched the fourth to the last movie on the first day of its release in Indonesia – but nowhere as devoted as other Potterheads which I respect and admire. Prior to the official test on Pottermore, I always saw myself as a Ravenclaw due to my nerdiness and strike of elegance. I always saw Gryffindor as the vaguest house on the book; anyone can be brave due to different circumstances and on different times. But qualities like being knowledgeable, loyal and ambitious seemed like an eternal quality that makes the owner stand out. Gryffindor character seemed interchangeable as their bravery seemed to be a temporary struggle. We never see a Ravenclaw struggling to learn, a Slytherin self-doubting, and a Hufflepuff questioning the value of loyalty. But they can all be brave.

As a Gryffindor, I haven’t seen myself and my bravery being my greatest characteristic of power. But everyone can be a hero by their own terms regardless their House background, and sticking to the stereotype can only limit your mind. Maybe this is just a test as old as the Myers-Briggs, or really it is a true test of your potential. But don’t treat Gryffindor any less as we don’t want to be treated more. Or maybe the rest are just jealous of many of us taking the spotlight.

Again, jk.

J.K. Rowling.

(P.S. My Hufflepuff friend taught me that lame pun)

“You’re Going to Be a Good Lawyer”

It’s been two years since I attend my university to pursue a law degree. As a future Bachelor of Law (LL.B ) or as what we call it here as Sarjana Hukum it is expected that I should have found an interest in law just like what I thought I had in high school. Fighting for justice while obtaining a great range of knowledge in the midst of beautiful literature translated within the laws. Yet I feel uninspired and it made me – I mean, it still makes me believe that I wasn’t good enough for this career. I envy those who had a dream, who had learned hard enough until they found voices that guide them to their dreams, or at least voices that tell them that they have a dream. I have not got it.

Until the second week of my fifth semester, during Conflict of Laws class. It was amongst jokingly discussing my professor’s ethnic background (he challenged us, by the way) due to his racial ambiguity that he finally point out a question: “how do you prove that you are of a particular ethnical background?” Two students before me took an opportunity to present their argument, another one was left stunned. The professor then pointed his finger at me.

“You, what is your name?”

“Selena, sir.”

“Oh! Are you Italiano?” he took a guess upon hearing my name.

I can only slowly shook my head as everyone else in class giggled on his absurd remarks.

“So where are you from then?

“My parents are Padangnese.”

The lecturer for the fourth time asked the same question, now to me.

“Umm.. you can see my parents’ wedding photograph?” My answer sounded more like a challenge than anything else. He responded with another challenge: “What else?” he asked, which I answered that I have a family house back in West Sumatra to prove him. He then laughed and shook his finger upside down. Whether it’s pity, shock, or just pure surprise that an answer like that came up. True that it’s not exactly a good legal basis – but a somewhat unxpected reasoning.

“I can tell that you’re going to be a good lawyer.”

Then someone comes at the door which resulted in my professor to kick him out of the class for not respecting the class punctuality. His remarks end there, with him apologizing for the disturbance and just continued his lecture on the importance of evidence. But boy, I shed a tear within that moment. It was the first time I was recognized in a way where my potential are valued specifically in the field of law. Such sentence, a short compliment from a person I respect had changed my perspective that I can do it, I can face law school, I can be good at something, I can achieve greatness. All from a professor who was so impressed of that one answer regarding a photograph.

I don’t care that the moment was disturbed, or that no one else heard that remark. Just that alone however becomes an amazing motivation that assures me that I’m on the right path, there’s something in me that I shall believe, I am not dysfunctional.

Funnily enough before writing this post and upon hearing my lecturer’s remark, I was about to write a post titled ‘Regret on Entering Law School’. Now I realize I was just desperate for an acknowledgment and an encouragement. Although now I had not catalyzed a dream which I am sure of, I believe that I can find it someday. Maybe in law, maybe in something else. But I have to be sure that I can be good at it. And you have too.