I recently took an Amtrak train up to New York for a long weekend. I love the train for many reasons, especially because it gives me a chance to roll past my alma mater – the University of Pennsylvania. I always get a little teary eyed. Those years were hard for me. I learned a lot. Struggled a lot. Grew a lot. And growth is often painful. It’s uncomfortable to become something. It’s scary and difficult. And yet, it must be done. To become the people we’re meant to be, we have to grow and evolve. We need to learn hard, painful lessons about life, about the world, and about ourselves. Sometimes I think it’s a miracle of the highest order that I even survived. Do I wear my diploma like a badge of honor? You bet I do. I earned every letter of that sucker and then some. I wouldn’t want to do it over again, and yet I’m grateful for it. It taught me to stare into the fire and smile instead of flinch. And that kind of strength is invaluable. It erases fear.