How My Graduate School Is Like Hogwarts (Plus A Word On Pippington)

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.


Even better?

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 there aren’t moving walkways, there are hidden stairways.

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


Look! We won the House Cup!

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


Flat Facer, Professor Facer’s version of Flat Stanley, chilling on the beach in Southern California. Also, he can apparate.

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.

Snow in Tanner Building parking lot:

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?

Side Note:

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.

12 thoughts on “How My Graduate School Is Like Hogwarts (Plus A Word On Pippington)

  1. I love all the comparisons you made – your school certainly seems like Hogwarts! Unfortunately, nothing about my life comes close to being fictional. Or maybe it’s a little bit close to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because my life never runs out of sweets, haha.

    Voted for your book! Good luck! 🙂

    • Graduate?
      I’m working on finding job opportunities that leverage my experience and my education. I have no idea where I’ll be. Once I do, I’m sure I’ll do a blog about it.
      In between classwork, I’m trying to be better about visiting the blogosphere, and getting the second book, The Lady and the Frog, ready for publication (I’m an epilogue away from the beta reading stage, but three academic papers and 100 pages of reading away from having the epilogue done).
      No matter what I’ll do, it’ll be epic.
      And thanks for the vote!

  2. Pingback: The Month I Wrote A Novel: My 2013 NaNoWriMo Adventure | The L. Palmer Chronicles

  3. Pingback: My Epic Journey Through Graduate School | The L. Palmer Chronicles

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