Coming to the Masters in Public Administration (MPA) program at BYU in Provo, Utah is one of the best decisions I have made. Graduate school is a fulcrum of growth and knowledge, a place to develop character and experience.
As I have gone deeper into my studies, I have come across a great discovery: My graduate school is actually a version of Hogwarts.
1. Isolated From The Outside World
While I attend BYU, my program is in the Marriott School of Business, housed in the Tanner Building. The campus has 560 acres, carefully designed buildings, great arts programs, an excellent library, but I spend my days in the 120,000 square feet of the Tanner Building. There are other buildings around it, but, once inside, it is as if we’re no longer in BYU, or Provo. We are in a world far, far away.
Also, there are sometimes deer wandering in from the Forbidden Forest.
2. We Live, Sleep, and Eat Where We Learn
While I have a theoretical space known as my apartment, most of my time is in the Tanner Building. There, similar to the House Common Rooms, we have an MPA lounge. This is where many of my classmates and I spend most of my time outside of class, socializing, studying, eating, and resting. There are days I wonder why I have an apartment, since most of my time is spent at school.
3. Secret Passageways
While I haven’t found a Marauder’s Map yet, I have discovered secret passageways – elevators which only go to certain floors, secret doors to the outside, secret stairways. (Ok, maybe these aren’t so secret, but my classmates and I have gotten excited when discovering these lesser-known entryways.)
There are also sparkly windows, and the atrium area would be a great area to fly broomsticks (as one of my fellow students pointed out).
4. Curriculum Is Practice-Based
While there are books at Hogwarts, there are few classes without actual practice of magic skills. In the MPA program, there are theories and books, but we apply those to real-world experiences. We use the magic of Excel, statistics, and analysis in real-world applications. We practice organizational behavior skills (otherwise, how to get along with others). Sometimes, we practice real magic, but I’m not allowed to disclose any information.
5. We Are Arranged Into Houses
While we don’t have a sorting hat, we do have individual houses in the Marriott School of Business- MBA, MPA, Finance, Accounting, and Information Systems.
6. Our Professors Care And Are Remarkable
The professors in the MPA program are a friendly group of people who care about us beyond the classroom, just as the professors of Hogwarts provide mentoring and guidance beyond the curriculum.
7. Lifelong Friendships
The crucible of intense studies and attacks of dark lords can bring any rag-tag group of friends together. While we have yet to face a dark lord, my classmates and I have helped each other through tight deadlines, intense assignments, and epic Foosball wars (Foosball might be popular in my program). While we walk together now, we will eventually graduate and travel on to other adventures. Some will return as professors themselves, while others will grow on to great renown.
Wherever we go, we will keep in touch, help each other, and, if necessary, form our own Dumbledore’s Army.
In short, I have discovered graduate school is a magical place. Although I disappear for many hours into assignments, and have stressful moments, I am glad I’m here.
And that’s not just because of the secret ninja-magic class.
(Also, I haven’t found any ghosts yet, but I’m sure I’ll find some.)
- What in your life feels like it came out of Harry Potter or another fictional world?
- How is your work or school like Hogwarts?
- What fictional world do you wish you had in your life?
Speaking of fictional worlds, this week my world, Pippington, is featured on Annie Douglass Lima’s blog Realm Explorers. Click here to explore an in depth tour.