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Harry Potter, the famous boy who lived, enters the world as a wizard. Yet he grows up not knowing about his identity or the world from which it comes. Once he finally receives his acceptance letter from Hogwarts, thanks to Hagrid’s hand delivery, he begins to learn about wizardry. This involves going to Diagon Alley to get his school supplies and finding a magical train platform that will take him to his destination.

As Harry prepares to get sorted into his house and to start classes, he worries that he lacks critical skills due to growing up in a muggle household (meaning one with no magic). He ponders how his classmates might make fun of him and how he may fail. However, he quickly realizes that his wizard counterparts possess no more know how than he does. They all have a lot to learn, and they each have a path to follow.

Lately, I’ve felt how Harry does about beginning school. He learns about a whole new world at age eleven, and he discovers that it doesn’t matter that he discovered it later than many of his classmates. Like many people, I face various insecurities. I even have them about school. Graduate school also holds a world some know and some don’t, that some appreciate and others don’t. Again, people who attend discover their path to knowledge at different ages. I have friends who went from undergrad straight to grad school and friends who began their higher degrees in their 40s or 50s. All of these people have improved their lives and careers, some even changing direction from their previous degrees, because of their pursuit. Like Harry Potter, I have learned that I have not fallen behind because I begin later than some of my peers.

In addition to accepting that Harry has not in fact discovered his identity and world too late, he learns whose voices to give credit and whose to deflect. His aunt and uncle despise the wizarding world and put Harry down, and bully Draco Malfoy acts as anyone not pure blooded has no place at Hogwarts. Yet Harry sees that everyone there has their place. He quickly finds a group of friends who keep him grounded and mentors who remind him of the truth. Fortunately, we too can deflect the negative voices who feed our doubt to keep us down and instead lean on our supportive friends and mentors to remind us our goals have value and that we can reach them.


“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” 

George Eliot