As someone who started her college search by searching the phrase "universities that look most like Hogwarts," I think you can say that I'm a pretty big Harry Potter fan. After I read the series, I wanted to shop in Diagon Alley! I wanted to get lost in the halls of Hogwarts, take a class from Professor McGonagall, and be a seeker on the Quidditch team! J.K. Rowling made it all feel so vivid and beautiful and detailed.
Of course, there is a downside to that magic. Because sadly, real life isn't quite the same as life in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Sure, we Muggles have laptops and batteries, but we don't have magic wands or Albus Dumbledore. And though you can shop at the Honeydukes in Universal Studios, the candy selection isn't quite the same.
As Harry Potter fans, we all knew that the series was fantasy. That's what we loved about it! But despite knowing this, we couldn't help feeling a little disappointed when our eleventh birthdays came and went with no letter from Hogwarts on the doorstep. Because in the end, Harry Potter definitely gave us all some unrealistic expectations for life.
1. You Thought School Uniforms Would Be Amazing
When I read Harry Potter as a kid, I desperately wanted a school uniform. Obviously, that would include a floor-length black robe, and a scarf in my house colors. And there would be a school crest on something. In reality, we just had a boring school dress code where shorts had to be a dollar-bill-width above the knee. And the only school crest was the one I embroidered onto a blouse for my American girl doll, Samantha. At least she was living the dream.
2. Your Pets Do Not Deliver Your Mail
Hedwig wasn't just a beloved pet — she also brought Harry his mail. And he didn't even really have to address it; she just knew where he intended to send it. Not to mention, in the Hogwarts world, people actually write letters. In reality, no one writes letters. Most of the time, we don't even remember to respond to that text from a few weeks ago.
3. Nobody Got Sorted Into Anything At School
Harry and friends get sorted into a dorm by a magical hat that can see into their minds. The closest thing we have to houses, I suppose, are high school social cliques. And those are much more like High School Musical than Harry Potter, except no one is singing. Doubly disappointing.
4. There Are No Magical Creatures
Where are all the unicorns, centaurs, goblins, and house-elves? Heck, I'd even take a blast-ended skrewt. Just kidding, I'm not crazy. Maybe we should just count our blessings. We may not have unicorns, but we also don't have giant spiders or snakes or dragons.
5. You Don't Have An Archenemy
Hogwarts wouldn't have been complete without Draco Malfoy. And of course, the entire series wouldn't have been complete without the struggle between Harry and Voldemort. In reality, you probably don't deal with such an intense level of rivalry and adventure — except when someone tries to cut you in line at Starbucks.
6. Secret Rooms Are Hard To Come By
J.K. Rowling, why did you have to create the Room of Requirement? That place was a DREAM COME TRUE. Of course, I always check behind paintings and bookshelves, just in case there happens to be a secret room as amazing as this one in reality. I haven't found one yet, but I haven't given up hope.
7. Your Career Options Don't Include Fighting Dark Wizards
When you took the career aptitude test as a kid, it didn't list "Auror" as one of your options. There were no classes on Defense Against the Dark Arts offered in school. And school clubs didn't include choices like "Dumbledore's Army." Instead, you had to be content with Mathletes and debate club.
8. Gifs Are The Closest Thing You Have To Moving Photographs
Moving, talking portraits were one of my favorite details of the wizarding world. Can you imagine conversing with an old-time portrait? Instead, we have gifs, an argument on how to pronounce that word, and no Sir Cadogan in sight.
9. You Don't Get To Eat A Feast Every Other Day
It seemed that every day was a reason for a feast at Hogwarts. Reality is eating cold pizza for breakfast, because you wanted to sleep in ten more minutes. Though, let's be honest: even if I went to Hogwarts, I would probably oversleep and miss breakfast every day.
10. Your Bed Is Not A Four Poster
Your bed is a Fjellse from Ikea, and you're pretty sure you set it up incorrectly.
11. Sports Seem Meh Now
When you watch sports, all you can think is, "Why is no one on a broomstick?" If I had lived in the HP world, I would have totally been an amazing Quidditch player.
12. You Can't Purchase An Invisibility Cloak... Or A Pensieve
There were so many amazing products in the HP world. An invisibility cloak? A Pensieve? Magical candy? You're not getting any of that for your birthday. You're getting a rice cooker. Oh, well. You needed one.
13. Trains Aren't As Exciting As The Hogwarts Express
A private compartment full of your best friends and a woman who comes by offering you cauldron cakes and pumpkin pasties? Nope, not real life. Reality is someone sneezing into your mouth while you squish your way between a crowd of people on the metro.
14. Your Romantic Options Aren't Childhood BFFs And World-renowned Athletes
Hermione Granger, the brightest witch of her age and your childhood role model, had some pretty great romantic options. First, Ron Weasley. Book Ron is super witty and smart. His family is amazing, and he's incredibly proud of Hermione's intelligence. Then there's Viktor Krum. He's a world-renowned athlete who chooses to fight for the good side and writes Hermione letters. There are also really amazing date options: Hogsmeade, the Yule Ball, studying in the Gryffindor common room, etc. Also, everyone in the HP universe meets their soulmate at an extremely young age. This sets up some seriously high expectations.
15. You Can't Use Magic
The worst part about life as a Muggle? You can't use magic. You can't just wave your wand and pack a suitcase. You can't Apparate to Europe for the weekend. And you definitely can't whip up a Cheering Charm. But you know what you can do? Reread Harry Potter. Just because the story is happening in your head, doesn't mean it's not real.
Images: Warner Bros (16)