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To be taken with a cauldron of salt

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Ron sniggered. “I love medical schoolWe’re going to be getting free time this year. Whole periods where we can just sit up here and relax. We’ve got a free afternoon today… and a free afternoon tomorrow… and the day after… excellent.”

“We need that time for studying, Ron!” said Hermione, as they set off down the corridor.

“Yeah, but not today,” said Ron.

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

As Hermione had predicted, the free periods scheduled for first-year medical students were not the hours of blissful relaxation Ron had anticipated, but times in which to attempt to keep up with the vast amount of homework they were being set. Not only were they studying as though they had exams every day, but the lessons themselves had become more demanding than ever before. Harry barely understood 2% of what Dr. Pomfrey said to them these days in their new course, Sorcerers’ Perspectives on Medicine. Even Hermione, who started out each lecture by scribbling madly onto the pre-loaded slides with her tablet stylus, acknowledged the halfway mark of the two-hour class by shutting down her tablet and staring in a silent, wide-mouthed stupor at the projector screen for the rest of the session. She only emerged from her altered state of consciousness when Dr. Pomfrey shut down the presentation and said, “Any questions?” to a classroom full of delirious students.

Harry frequently looked over at his classmates in the lecture hall or in the Great White Tent to see them purple in the face and straining as though they had overdosed on U-No-Poo; but he knew that they were really struggling to comprehend the assembly and disassembly of clathrin, COPI, and COPII-coated vesicles. It was a relief to get outside to the neighborhood clinics; they were dealing with more challenging patients than ever in Care of Magical Humans, but at least they were allowed to commiserate together after a blood pressure cuff fell off the patient, or an inadvertent tap against the stethoscope’s chestpiece sent shockwaves of gunfire blasting through their tympanic membranes.

“Just call them ‘eardrums,’ now that we’re out of the clinic, will you?” Ron snapped at Harry on their walk home that day. Clearly, Ron was still flustered from the experience of wrongly diagnosing gangrene in an 85-year-old man.

For those of you unfamiliar with Harry Potter lore, you may read the original excerpts from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince here.