I came across my Practicum Journal the other day. As a senior in college, in the midst of student teaching, on the road to graduation and teacher certification, we were required to write a journal entry every day. I would spend time before and after class, jotting down notes, reflecting on the day. I would type it up in a long, rambling Word document and add to it each and every day. Some entries were several pages long, others just a sentence. Those are some of the most meaningful to me. On the last day, I printed out the stack of paper, spiral bound it, painted a cover, and arrived at class ready to show off my hard work. To my surprise, the professor handed us each a ribbon, told us to tie it up and put it away; to refer back to it someday. I couldn’t believe all my hard work, my sweat and tears, wouldn’t even be looked at. I had always been a reluctant student, but I have to admit, I had cried my face off that day. I cried leaving the school where I was teaching, wishing I could stay there and keep learning, I cried while thanking and saying goodbye to my professor/advisor who had gotten me to this point; I didn’t even know what it was I was crying about. Learning and teaching is all about growing, and sometimes growing is just plain hard. That isn’t always a bad thing. Reading back, that journal was one of the most meaningful components of my education. I keep it in my desk drawer and refer to it when I’ve had a challenging day in the classroom or an exhilarating day in the classroom. It reminds me who I am and why I am here. Reading back through my 25 year old self’s mind, I am astonished at how I have gotten to where I am. As an undergrad, I struggled every day. I never could find the hours in the day to focus in class, get the homework done, get the sleep I needed, get to my myriad of part time jobs, get the bills paid on time, do my laundry or make my bed. I never could figure out what combinations of majors or minors would make me happy and help me to build the future that I wanted. I tried everything. I let myself fail. I tried again. I added to my student loans while I struggled to figure it all out.