why Harry Potter still speaks to me in my twenties.

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It is no secret that I am a Harry Potter fan. I have been a part of this “fandom” since about 2001 when I decided to dust off the first two Harry books that my sister Bethany had gotten for Christmas the year before. I remember the first time I opened Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on a school break and became engrossed. I was a fourth grader who always felt a bit uncomfortable in my own skin and the books just opened up a world where anyone could be anything… I experienced magic.

And, no, I didn’t experience magic the way the characters in the book did with the waving of wands and the magical creatures and charms. But these books gave my ten-year-old self magic in a world where there didn’t seem to be much… And I was hooked from the beginning. They were my escape. My alone time. The characters felt like friends I had known all my life.

Harry Potter was not the most popular choice of book in that time. I seriously do not know why so many parents were concerned about a fictional book, but they were. I still remember being told by a friend’s mother that at her house books of witchcraft were not allowed so I must stop reading it or go home. I still look back and think her reaction was one of the most ludicrous reactions I have ever witnessed. After all, I’d like to think that if I am a mom one day and my child has a ten year old friend reading a five hundred page book, my first reaction will not be to discourage that..

Now, fast forward to a girl who is a week away from being 23 years old, is a graduate student who has moved back home and away from her friends and boyfriend, and is saddened by the sickness of a great friend’s husband. Is Harry Potter still relevant or is it a foolish child’s escape?

For me, Harry Potter still speaks.

These books speak to me and impact my outlook on current struggles. At some point, each character faced their own problems head on and were better for it. These books helped me to develop an innate sense of self that felt no fear for the future. They promote the ideals of knowledge and bravery and friendship. They tell me that no matter how hard things seem, how weak I feel, or how much I do not feel like dealing with what’s going on, I have to keep going. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly for such a time as this, these books, though written for children, tell me that those we love are never lost but live on in our hearts. I can think of no more truthful statement as this.

As a child, I used these books as a tool to escape my world. As an adult, I’m glad we live in a world with Harry Potter. I’m glad to be able to experience some type of magic in the crazy, busy life I live.

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Week 2 and 3.. And 4.

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Here’s the thing.. I’m apparently terrible at handling grad school’s demands.
Terrible.
How am I supposed to do all that is expected of me for clinic and sleep and have a social life and maintain good grades and teach a Sunday school class…

I’m learning that multitasking is an ability that you are not capable that you can do to such an extent until you have to. It’s crazy to think that I do have time to do all of these things (except maybe have a social life 😀) and keep up with all that is required of me as an academic mentor to athletes at the University of West Georgia. it has been very stressful so far but has also been very rewarding.

I just completed my third week of clinic and I’ve already learned so much even in this short amount of time. The most hilarious (and terrifying) thing happened the day that I got my client’s file. To give you a bit of backstory, at Auburn I had a professor who taught us about child and adolescent language disorders. The disorder that my current client has was briefly mentioned by that professor, but, as she said, “Don’t worry about this disorder because you will never see it in the clinic.” Boy was I shocked as I opened my clients folder and saw that diagnosis on the first page. I remember thinking that I would not be able to give him effective therapy because I did not know much about his disorder.

But, you know what? I am making it.

Once again I am realizing that I am so blessed to be able to be presented with these opportunities to learn. I absolutely love being with my client and learning more about him the three hours a week that I see him. Though he is definitely not the easiest client to have, he is resilient and works hard. There have been some behavior problems but they’re starting to be resolved through new behavioral approaches that my supervisor and I decided on. The behavior issues were the cause of my first break down in graduate school. However, I at least waited to break down until I was in my supervisors office. Haha. She had tissues ready and waiting.

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The University of West Georgia still doesn’t quite feel like my home, but I am accepting it as sort of a home away from home. I absolutely love my assistantship as it gives me the opportunity to help at risk students and students who simply have a lot on their plate. It is definitely rewarding to be able to see students achieve. These students have the kind of support that I would’ve wished for in my undergrad. I can only hope that I’m helping them as much as it’s helping me to see them achieve.

One thing about my cohort at West Georgia is that the people are amazing. My classmates are literally the smartest and coolest people I’ve ever met. I’m so grateful to be able to have such awesome people to share this time of my life with. It is true that as soon as you get into grad school, you become a team. I am glad to be a part of this team.

Of course, the one thing that still upsets me is that I’m not in the same place is Taylor. We are trying to make the most out of weekend visits every other weekend and though it is not what I want, it is what we have to do. We both realize that the most important thing for right now is to chase our dreams before we can Chase the dreams that we have together. I’m still so very lucky to be able to have someone as supportive as Taylor in my life. He keeps me motivated every day. Okay, I’ll stop being sappy now.

Other than all of the academic stress, things are great around home. I have the two most beautiful nieces that anyone has ever seen and I get to be around them often. I even took Lucy to my first University of West Georgia football game last weekend. We had a blast and I was excited to be able to experience this game with her. She was excited because it was homecoming and someone got a crown. It is definitely nice to be able to see my family so much.

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So, there you have it. That just about sums up the past three weeks. I will try to write more often , but let’s be honest. The only reason I even wrote tonight is to avoid the work I need to do. Lol.

Go wolves.

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Week one Wrap- Up

Well, guys, I survived week one of grad school… Somehow. I remember many professors telling us that grad school was way more intense than our undergrad Communication Disorders program. I just kept thinking “It can’t be much different than this, right?”

WRONG.
Grad school is a whole different level. For me, it’s just weird to have so much “independent learning” time and opportunity. I have also found (and this might just be a difference in schools) that supervisors here are way more into letting the grad students develop a unique course of therapy or “treatment paradigm” for clients. I really like that. Though it is way harder to do than to go to a supervisor meeting and proceed exactly how your supervisor would have, it is rewarding to think critically about my own style of therapy. I am slowly gaining confidence in my own ideas, which is something I am not used to. I am also learning that “fake it ’til you make it” is a good strategy if you are not feeling confident!

It’s been an adjustment to begin working as a team in graduate school after having to be so competitive to get in. My instinct was to blaze through it all alone, but I have decided that it would be much easier and more enjoyable with a little help from the others in my cohort.

We were assigned clients last week. I am excited to work with mine. He will come twice a week for an hour and a half. One good thing about UWG is that they ease you into clients. One of the ladies that interviewed me told me it was so we would become quality clinicians before loading on the quantity. It’s good because my client is using a type of therapy that I literally just got certified in. It gives me time to focus on that before he comes next week.

All in all, I’m getting pretty used to being here. I’m still not quite comfortable with everything, but I am trying to adapt. I’m glad to have the opportunity to be a student clinician at UWG. I’m excited about the possibilities with my new client.

You’ve graduated… Now what?

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After four long years and one long ceremony, it was all over. My times at Auburn were done. Was I really there for four years already? I couldn’t believe it… but at least my senior year was awesome! I witnessed an unimaginable football season and even saw the Tigers play for a National Championship in Pasadena, CA. I also had the best job and coworkers imaginable. It truly was a great time. Oh, the memories.

Anyways, graduation was over and I was standing outside of the Auburn Arena with a large group of family and friends and I was giddy with excitement. My oldest sister had made the trip even though her due date was the exact same day I graduated. She tried to refuse pictures, but we got a couple of good ones.

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For the next couple of days we would anxiously await the arrival of Livy Emersen Phillips. She made her debut on August 4th, two days after my graduation and her due date. It was an amazing time to be in our family and an amazing time to move back home. I got to spend a lot of time with my oldest niece, Lucy, while she waited to become a big sister. I even watched her devour a pancake that was bigger than her head! Overall, it made my move home so much easier because I get to be closer to my beautiful, wonderful family. There’s nothing to take the edge away from a painful move like two beautiful little nieces!

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A couple of days after Livy was born, I got the chance to take my first full length beach vacation with Taylor and his Aunt Terri and Uncle Carl. We went to Seaside, FL, and it was absolutely gorgeous! We even met a man named JT who claimed to be the oldest living and shortest ever Aubie (we still need to verify that this was the truth, but I was convinced). I had an amazing time and fell in love with the 3 bedroom condo we stayed in. I also will never forget the time I got to spend with Taylor. It was nice to be able to not think about moving away from the town we shared for the first time in a long time. These few days were better than I could have ever imagined they would be and I am forever grateful to Terri and Carl for inviting me along.

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When I came home, I had one week until I started my assistantship (which I will write about next), so I decided to do a little bit of room renovation in my room at home. Previously, three of my walls were painted the brightest pink sold by Home Depot and it looked a little too much like a fifteen year old lived in my room, so I got a nice color called french silver and said goodbye to the pink!

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Lastly, on August 18th, I started my assistantship with the University of West Georgia Athletic Department as a mentor in Academic Support. So far, it has been interesting and entertaining. It is exciting to be a part of this blossoming Athletic Program and I am glad to have been given the opportunity to serve them.

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Well, that’s all that has happened until this week when I started actual classes. I will save all of that orientation and class madness for a different post.

Great sisters are blessed by being promoted to Aunt. -Anonymous

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..

Look, your whole life is ahead of you.
Not the fun part. That part’s over. But the other part. -Seth Myers

Sometimes, you use a word your whole life without having really experienced it for yourself. For me, that word was bittersweet. I might have gotten a tiny taste of it when I graduated high school and left my hometown, but I got the full dose when I turned my tassel at Auburn University on August 4, 2014. I had never felt anything like what I was feeling: equal parts elation for my future in graduate school at University of West Georgia and literal heartbreak that my time at Auburn was over. I told myself that I would never love a school like I loved Auburn and that I would come to UWG and refuse to make any friends. I wanted to hang on to my Auburn life and nothing else.

The thing is, I lie to myself. Though it is true I will never feel another school in my veins the way I feel Auburn, there is no version of Brianna Cofield that will not make friends in any situation. Even on the worst day, I am a person who craves companionship and I have already begun to get to know people in my cohort at UWG.

Still, living anywhere but Auburn feels strange and wrong… I’ve compared it to being at summer camp. It feels like at any moment I will pack up my things and go back to Auburn and resume what has been my life. It’s like at any time I will go back to my couch, invite my boyfriend over like always, and watch goofy movies and TV shows with him until I ultimately fall asleep and he gets bored of watching alone and wakes me up to make me go to bed so he can leave.

That, however, is not my life anymore. At least it isn’t for now. We all must grow up and move on, and it is both extremely uncomfortable and extremely rewarding to pursue your dreams. To even be accepted to graduate school in my area of Communication Disorders/ Speech- Language Pathology is nothing short of a blessing. I realized that any apprehension to go on with this next step in my education was downright ungrateful and even disrespectful to those who were not as fortunate as I was in the admissions process.

So, with a new attitude towards the challenge that is grad school, I begin to dive in fully to this next step in my life. It is definitely a journey to have to start over on a new campus in a town that neither my boyfriend or my best friends from the past four years live in, but I am here and I am doing it. I will not stop until I am Brianna Cofield, CCC-SLP.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined! -Henry David Thoreau

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