takes an interest in a Muggle-born reader, whose hair ties seem to always snap
when she tries to put her hair up.
Draco Malfoy sat at the very far corner of the
library, pretending to be immersed in his copy of Unfogging the Future as the other students around him worked on
their homework or simply read for fun. Truth was, he couldn’t care less about
Divination or Professor Trelawney’s –he was there waiting for someone.
Someone who didn’t even dared glance his way.
And he was okay with that; he was a Slytherin (and a
pureblood) while she was a Muggle-born. They would never cross paths, he was
sure of that. Still, he had acquired a certain fascination of watching her
study at the same table on Wednesdays. Even if he could never talk to her, he
wouldn’t deny himself the pleasure of her presence.
He buried his nose back into the boring book as soon
as he saw (Y/N) walking in, heading for her usual spot just three tables away
from him. After a couple of seconds of re-reading the same line over and over
again, he dared to look up, finding the girl pulling out her books from her bag
and placing them on the table along with a scroll of parchment. Draco then
watched as she took out a small flask of black tint, and a quill. Soon enough,
she was working, and he had to read his book once again. Or at least, pretend
Nearly thirty minutes had passed since her arrival,
when Draco noticed a different motion coming from her, other that wasn’t the
constant dipping of the quill in the flask or hurried scribbling. He watched intently
as she seemed to pull something from her wrist, to then grab her hair and comb
it with her fingers until it was up in a ponytail, held together by her hand.
(Y/N) pulled on the hair tie that lay on her wrist, and began to twist in in
her ponytail, passing the strands of soft hair through the loop.
Draco watched dumbfounded as her fingers moved quickly
around the back of her head, until he was taken back to reality by a snap and a
hiss. He watched as (Y/N) sucked on her finger before pulling out a thick
string out of her hair. The hair tie had snapped.
Mumbling a few curses under her breath, she packed her
things in her bag and, in no time, she was out of the library.
The blond boy closed his book and decided to leave as
A week later, Draco Malfoy walked around the big
aisles of books the Library owned, fishing for a book that might spark his
interest while he waited for (Y/N)’s arrival. Just as he passed the Invisibility
Section, he heard a pair of footsteps approaching the girl’s usual spot. He
quickly dragged a book out of the bookshelf and opened it, pretending to be immersed
on its content. He peeked discretely, noticing that it indeed was (Y/N) who had
just entered the room. She placed her bag on the wooden table and proceeded to
pass her fingers through her hair, pulling it up into a bun. Then, she pulled a
black hair tie from her wrist, and just as she twisted it for the first time…
“Bloody hell!” she whispered, letting her hair fall
back on her shoulders and taking her bag before stomping out of the library.
Draco huffed and
closed his book angrily before stepping into the other aisle, in search for a
useful book that might help him at the moment.
Two Wednesdays later, (Y/N) stepped into the library,
carrying a heavy bag full of books and parchment next to her. She basically
tossed it on the table, receiving a glare from Madam Pince, the librarian. (Y/N)
pushed her bag aside and sat down, taking out her books and a large scroll of
parchment. As she placed the quill on top of her open book, she searched on her
wrist for a hair tie, noticing that she had forgotten to carry one.
A frustrated sigh left her lips, and she hopelessly
introduced a hand to her bag, searching frantically for a hair tie and praying
she had one with her. Just as she was about to give up, a paper swan flying in
her direction caught her attention before it landed on her book, right in front
of her. She glanced around, being too confused as to why the figure had been
sent to her, or by whom. Carefully grabbing it, she opened the swan to find a
small note written on its inside, along with a circular, black rubber.
A hair tie.
Examining the object curiously, she put it aside and
began to read the note.
“The world might run out of hair ties because of you.
To liberate you from your constant pain and bitterness, I gift this to you.
If you manage to break it, you’re a lost cause.
a fellow classmate.”
(Y/N) looked up and exanimated the room, trying to
find the person who had sent her such gift. Seeing it was just Madame Pince and
her, she focused once again in the hair tie, and pulled it. And she pulled, and
pulled, and pulled. Amazed, she began to cut on the edge of it with the end of
her quill, which was made of a sharp metal.
It didn’t break.
Happily, she began combing her hair upward, using her
new hair tie, which was as unbreakable as the Unbreakable Vow, and then
proceeded to open her book and dip her quill in tint.
There, hidden behind the Invisibility Section, stood a
certain platinum blond boy, smiling proudly as he saw his plan had worked.
ALWAYS check to see if textbook websites have online coupons. Check outside websites like RetailMeNot.com but also sign up for their email listing. They often send you a coupon for just signing up and will continually send you other coupon deals.
Amazon has good deals on books sometimes and they offer college students temporary free membership. Here’s a link explaining some of the details.
Amazon and other retailers, like Barnes and Noble also offer textbook rental. You get the book for a certain amount of time (30 days, 60 days, 90 days, etc., then mail it back to them.) Much cheaper than buying.
Some professors put textbooks on reserve in the library so you can check them out for an hour or two instead of actually buying them.
If your class textbooks are at the library and you need them for longer than allowed, you can always photocopy them.
Look for Facebook pages/groups with your school name and year, people are always posting online to get rid of their textbooks.
If your books are older/literature type books they are often available as e-books for free or easy to find at used bookstore or thrift stores.
Ask your professor after hours if you can borrow and make copies of the class textbook.
Many colleges use the Link+ library sharing program or something similar. If the textbook you need isn’t offered in the library, another school within the program can deliver the book for free. Ask you school’s librarians about it.
If you have a class that requires a “reader,” which is just a bunch of articles, you can usually find them at the school library or online.
Keep your textbooks in the best condition possible, so they sell for higher when you no longer need them.
If you can access your class list and the emails of your classmates early, ask if anyone would like to share a textbook. Split the price and share it or just ask to copy the chapters needed.
If you get financial aid, set it up to deposit into your own checking account because FAFSA ATMs are frustrating.
Check out the dollar stores for some college supplies. They have pens, notebooks, planners, etc.
Find upperclassmen who are moving out of their dorms/apartments, they often sell/give away items they are no longer going to be using.
Find out if your department offers free printing to undergrads. If yours doesn’t, find a friend whose department does.
Pretty much every school offers a MS Office license to students for free. It may not be well advertised but make sure to find out before paying for the programs on your own.
Bulk supply stores are usually cheaper.
Use your phone’s planner and alerts for assignments.
If you need energy boosts, it’s definitely cheaper to brew your own coffee and tea, then use a travel mug. But if you need to go to places like Starbucks, sign up for the Starbucks card so you can get free refills on certain items and get discounts for members only.
Find out what free courses your school offers and go to them instead of paying for a tutor.
At many universities there are conferences and talks almost daily, which often offer free lunches and dinners.
Some colleges offer free cab services so make sure to look into that.
Most school health care places give out free condoms and they are often given out at events too.
Besides math, older editions of textbooks are usually just fine and much cheaper.
Thrift stores are great if you need items for your dorm or apartment, they have appliances and offer testing areas in a section of the store.
Specific to Seattle: There’s a place called Seattle ReCreative and you can get school supplies for extremely cheap.
Check when stores offer back to school sales and get supplies then for cheaper than usual.
Get your syllabus as soon as possible so you can photocopy all the needed pages in textbooks.
Look for websites that offer similar information in the textbook, sometimes it’s explained better online, gives examples, or just generally better worded.
Buy school supplies during tax-free weekend.
Apply for as many local scholarships as possible and do it every year in college, not just freshman year.
Ask absolutely every place you go if they offer student discounts. Many places don’t advertise this, but will offer some kind of discount if you show your student ID.
Find out if your school has assistance options for lower income students.
HERE is a list of food budget tips, recipes, and websites to help.
Some classes have extra fees for whatever reason, for example they will charge more if certain equipment will be used. If it’s not a course you need, sometimes it’s better to find cheaper elective classes.
Consider community college to save money, and then transfer to a 4 year school. Or attend community college classes during the summer but make sure to always check if the credits transfer.
If you need to use a credit card, try to get on with cash back rewards. Also check which banks offer perks for students, like free checking or a no-free policy for low minimum balances.
Check out your college newspaper and signs around campus. You will often find information about free events or find coupons with discounts on near by businesses.
School supplies that don’t sell at stores like Walmart and Target are extremely discounted during the last week of August.
Happiness feels like jumping into the lake on a hot day, a sore stomach from laughing hard, the warmth of the indoors after being out in the cold, confidence when you’re wearing new clothes, a hot shower to wash a bad day away, your team favorite winning.
Happiness looks like tiny lights or city lights or Christmas lights on a dark night, colors blending in the sky during a summer sunset, the powerful ocean waves that make you feel so small, a dark summer night completely scattered with stars, the first snowfall where everything is peaceful and still, watching other people lost in conversation or a good book.
Happiness sounds like your favorite music that you like to sing at the top of your lungs, laughter, midnight frogs, a bustling city full of people going nowhere, birds singing, rain falling, the purr of a content kitty.
Happiness doesn’t have to come from other people. You can find it anywhere if you’re willing to look for it.
Excerpt from a book I’ll never write, 71
“Happiness is everywhere”
I realized that the essential book, the one true book, is one that the great writer does not need to invent, in the current sense of the word,
since it already exists in every one of us – he has only to translate it. The task and the duty of the writer are those of a translator.
Happy Birthday, Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser!
“Do you know when I was born?” I asked, looking up. I knew my hair was wild and my eyes staring, and I didn’t care. “On the twentieth of October, in the Year of Our Lord nineteen hundred and eighteen. Do you hear me?” I demanded, for he was blinking at me unmoving, as though paying no attention to a word I said. “I said nineteen eighteen! Nearly two hundred years from now!” […]
He didn’t move for a second. But then he looked down and smiled faintly at me. “Happy Birthday, Sassenach,” he said.
It took me completely by surprise and I just stared stupidly at him for a moment. “What?” I managed at last.
“I said, ‘Happy Birthday.’ It’s the twentieth of October today.”
~Outlander, chapter 25, “Though Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live”
“How did ye ken what I was doing? Taking stock, as ye say?”
I let him keep hold of the hand, but shifted to set my chin in the center of his chest, where a small depression seemed made for the purpose.
“I always do that, when I have a birthday – though I generally do it the night before. More looking back, I think, reflecting a bit on the year that’s just gone. But I do check things over; I think perhaps everyone does. Just to see if you’re the same person as the day before.”
~The Fiery Cross, chapter 58, “Happy Birthday to You”
Slytherin students acting as spies in their own homes. Creeping down hallways and waiting outside doors. Pressing their ears against the wood and listening hard, catching as much as they could. They pass this information through well hidden notes in library books. Never with a name or signature, never directly addressed to anyone. No trails. No clues. Hermione received the first one in a book slipped into her bag. It was a simple list of other books, not suspicious in the least. Mostly rare books on obscure topics. The only indication that this was even meant for her was a small sentence at the bottom of the page. For DA . She searched for the other books immediately, finding more notes. All coded, and took time to figure out, but she was positive they were secrets of the Death Eaters. Each code had the name of another obscure book. She wondered who had sent them, had her suspicion that it was slytherin students. Who else could it be? She didn’t pry or dig though. She knew the risk that these students were taking, in some cases even more dangerous than the ones she was. Each time a slytherin student disappeared, went home and never came back, she wondered if that had been one of them. The notes keep appearing though. Students still disappeared.
I was going to talk about how I was bummed that Penguin didn’t make a Centennial edition of the Winter of Our Discontent so that I could have a copy that matched my others, but Cheddar thinks that a Steinbeck is a Steinbeck and should be loved (or at least laid on) anyway.
I don’t have my life together. Not at all. I’m none of the things people expected me to be.
And I’m struggling so much.
But I promised myself to stop waiting for better days, to stop waiting for when I’m less depressed, when I’m thinner, when I’m less tired, when I have a structured life, when I found my place in this world.
I’m here now.
And if I’m depressed, then I am. And if I feel fat, I do. And if I’m tired, that’s life. And if I’m nowhere close to where I want to be, I’m still here and it still counts.
And I’m allowed to feel alive right now, no matter how fucked up this moment might be. I’m allowed to feel it.