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Ask a Wizard: Slaying the unholy homework hydra

by The Concordian November 17, 2015
Ask a Wizard: Slaying the unholy homework hydra

A truly magical advice column


I’m feeling a bit stressed. Term papers, year-end projects, and all those readings I’ve neglected over the term are suddenly due and I’m overwhelmed. Do you have a potion to help me study? Any fauns or mermaids who give discount tutoring rates? Any and all advice is appreciated.



Seriously tested


One doesn’t need to possess much skill in scrying to know the difficulties you’re facing, so I shall put my crystal orb aside. I do believe I can be of some service, however, in this, your pressing hour of need.

Photo/Graphic by Michelle Gamage and Pierre Lepetit.

Photo/Graphic by Michelle Gamage and Pierre Lepetit.

The hard truth of this matter is this: you will find yourself in this position again. Not because you are weak but because you are human, and humans are finite. The feeling will come and go and change form, but like a pendulum it returns unbidden. It is the same for wizards, if you can believe it.

As finite creatures we will always be surrounded by a crushing amount of opportunities, challenges, and decisions—not to mention homework.

But now is not the time to give in to despair! Neither is it the time to chase after magical shortcuts like spells and potions. Also, steer clear of fauns when there’s work to be done. They’re rubbish with deadlines; I swear all they do is dance.

Perhaps there’s a chance we can get at the root of the problem if—and only if—we avoid moonlit forest clearings rife with the hoof-beats of a faun party.

While there are a number of tinctures and potions available in enchanted mountain-side caves and from traveling sales-gnomes, I do not recommend them. They help for a moment but weaken the will as well as the body. You will grow to need them and they will not love you back, no matter how great your desire for them.

If a gnome offers you a vial, say no.

Potions are off the table then, but I can still offer you a bit of magic: perspective. It’s a funny bit of sorcery, perspective, and can hurt as likely as it is to help. Few of us seek it out in times of trouble, but what a help it can prove to be!

I will try to be tactful. You, are small. Very, very small. Not pixie-small but, in the grand scheme things, really quite little. Even a Grand Wizard, while undoubtedly a bit larger up close, is just as insignificant from the proper Perspective.

And here is where Perspective cuts two ways: it can either be liberating or debilitating.

To see one’s self and one’s projects as small; as one person in a big school, on a large planet, in what may as well be an infinite universe—it can free you from the crushing nearsightedness that many humans suffer.

Or it can crush you—if you believe the lie that you are insignificant.

What is a letter grade compared to love? What is the whole of philosophy to an evening of good bread and wine with friends? If the whole of your humanity is actually quite small, how much greater are you than your trials?

We can learn from the difficulties we live, even when we fail. The only real failure is running away. It’s a lesson that everyone keeps on learning and no matter how long your beard gets, it remains a struggle. This dragon has many heads, but it can be vanquished.

You have a lot on your plate. But when you’re finished there will be fauns and dancing and friends and laughter.

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