@HelloTheFuture Don't want to delve too deep into the ethics of caring for elderly/disabled family members, but maybe it was just too much for Gran? She already had Neville to raise and being a full-time caretaker to two low-functioning/high-needs adults is a lot to ask of anyone.
@apples and oranges Well, presumably there are still costs for potion-making supplies and other healing "substances" (bezoars, Skele-gro, etc.). I like to think of the spells as more like surgery - procedures to be carried out by highly trained, competent medical professionals and supplemented with medication.
I feel strongly that the wizarding world has universal health care and also that the Ministry would provide long-term care and survivor benefits for Aurors injured in the line of duty.
I finished in 3 years at an expensive private school in an expensive city, thanks mostly to a glut of AP credits. Between scholarships and my parents' contribution, I was paying for about 25%-30% of the total cost of my education. I managed to fit in an a summer abroad (study abroad was required for our honors program) and a senior thesis, but not much else. Between the core requirements, my major, minor, and honors program, I had maybe one or two "just for fun" classes. My three years flew by and I never felt like I had a chance to explore anything other than my poorly conceived plan to go to law school, where I ended up immediately after undergrad. I definitely could have used the extra time (especially after taking the LSAT) to figure out what things actually interest me (hint, not the law!). In retrospect, the extra year of undergrad would have been a much cheaper deal than law school.
Having fully investigated this yesterday when it was announced, you should be aware that you DO get a cot, though you are asked to bring a sleeping bag (see here: http://www.amnh.org/plan-your-visit/amnh-sleepovers/for-grown-ups). The FAQs also clarify that the "breakfast snack" consists of "fresh fruit, granola bars, muffins, yogurt, coffee, tea, and juice." All that being established, this event is now sold out.
Hey, you guys are talking about me! A thought. There is a flip side to the "I'm a grad student/struggling writer/freelance creative type and all my friends are corporate shills that make so much money!" lament. Us corporate shills make a lot of money because nobody would be willing to do these jobs for less than the suitable compensation we make. Many of us have advanced degrees that put us into six figure student loan debt. You cannot afford to take an unpaid or low-wage internship when you are staring at a $1700 monthly loan payment shortly after the bar exam is over. Trust me, we are envious of those of you that can make your own schedules, study things that interest you, and ignore your emails after 6pm and on the weekends. From our side, those look like luxuries in the same way our brunches and weekend trips look like them to you. Corporate shill jobs obviously have their perks. A pleasant work-life balance and fulfilling/satisfying/enjoyable work just usually aren't included.
I had to do some fact checking here. Though you are technically correct that in the Gossip Girl book series, Blair Waldorf seems to have been admitted to Yale, in the television show, she has her dreams shattered when she is rejected. Instead, she enrolls at NYU and then later, Columbia. NYU has so many fictional alumni that during freshman orientation (nearly 10 years ago, ughhhhhh) they showed us a video with clips from basically every time the school was ever mentioned on film/tv.
I was lucky enough to have Lunchables on occasion in elementary school, but more often I brought a thermos containing one small individual serving size of Chef Boyardee meat ravioli, which had been heated up in the morning and wrapped in paper towels to stay warm. I probably also had some string cheese or a granola bar on the side. Sometimes I would have those pre-packaged cottage cheese and fruit combos, which I now find horrifying. By high school, I had scammed my parents into giving me $20 a week to buy school lunches. However, I was also bringing what they believed to be a mid-morning snack of one strawberry Nutrigrain bar, one Yoplait Light yogurt, one single serving Sunny Delight, and a watermelon Tangy Taffy bar. In reality, I would eat this disgusting combo at lunch, occasionally springing for a soft pretzel and a Snapple Peach Iced Tea instead, and pocket the rest of my lunch allowance.
The key to NYC DMVs is to go first thing in the morning when the lines aren't terrible and the employees aren't completely exhausted/frustrated from a full day of dealing with people like us who don't want to be there. I went in once about two years ago to trade in my expiring out of state license for a shiny (well, matte, actually) new NY license. I didn't have to retake any tests but they did have to snap my picture. I was prepared for a good two hour experience, but I was in and out in about 40 minutes, which seemed fairly reasonable given the number of steps involved and different desks I had been shuffled to. I think I even ended up getting into work early that day.
I used to work at a big NYC law firm that paid typical lockstep salary. Earlier this year (after I'd just been upped to a third year associate's salary), I left to work at a very very very small firm that specializes in an area of law that I have always wanted to practice and generally centers around a very small community of lawyers. As is typical in the legal field, I took a HUGE paycut (around $75K - slightly more after bonuses) to work in a specialized field. My hope is that I can transition my work here to an in-house position in my field as soon as possible, which should make up some of the salary difference. It was an incredibly hard decision to make and frankly, I'm still not positive it was the right one, but lots of former BigLaw attorneys will tell you that at a certain point, it just becomes impossible to work at a big firm any longer. Losing associates along the way is built into the law firm model. More than anything, I miss the free espresso machine.