How I Went To Hogwarts!
Like most people of my generation my first experience of genuine heartbreak came when, aged 11, September the first rolled on by without any sign of my letter from Hogwarts. I waited by my window that whole summer with bated breath, scanning the horizon for any sign of a largish bird that might be carrying the news that I was not ordinary, that I was talented, that I was magical. So instead of beginning High School with excitement and anticipation, I began it with a lump of broken heart in the pit of my stomach that added a bitter twang to the reality that I, Emily Grenfell, was nothing more than a muggle.
This experience is one I have come to accept as formative in my teenage development. I tasted absolute rejection early, and every setback from then on was a mere hiccup in comparison. The dream and the hope that was Hogwarts would never be my reality, but that did not mean that I couldn’t replicate it as closely as possible. When it came to choosing what Universities to apply to I found that I had the opportunity to make a decision for myself, and I chose to go to Hogwarts.
My applications, then, consisted of what universities boasted adjoining castles. I applied to Durham, St Andrews, Edinburgh (this one is not technically in a castle, but there is one right there that you can look at) and Glasgow. Luckily for me I ended up at Glasgow, and the turreted Gothic architecture boasted quadrangles and cloisters, marble staircases and oak paneling that satiated even my thirst for a magical educational experience.
This method of selection may appear ridiculous, a childhood fantasy indulged for a little too long coupled with an overactive imagination that may have led to a very bad decision, if it weren’t for one brilliant fact: only good universities have castles attached.
Think about it: in every large town there are a few universities, a primary one and one or two secondaries, and you never find a secondary university in a castle. A classic example is Oxford and Oxford Brookes, Oxford was a dream too far for me, and Oxford Brookes lacked the architecture I needed to function on an academic level, so the Oxford option did not look great for me. As it was I ended up in a first rate Russell Group University, studying under some of the most respected academic minds in the world, and did I mention the turrets?
For me the Hogwarts dream was one I made my reality as soon as I had the agency to do so, and I’ll never look back.