In the ‘glowing emails from my professor’ department:

I feel your intelligent presence in the class contributed most substantively to all discussions.  I appreciate your consistent preparedness and engagement with some challenging material in the class readings, which did not go unnoticed.  That required a tremendous amount of work right there.  I am grateful to you for meeting the reading challenge.  Your work from now on will be stronger for your serious assimilation of the theoretical framework of scholarly research, I feel sure (thesis, dissertation, etc.).  So I will look forward to continuing to work with you as you grow and develop your own approaches to books and culture.

This is awesome, because a) I adore this prof, who is brilliant and eloquent, and b) because she’s pretty much become my mentor and agreed to be my thesis director.

It’s also awesome because I was unfortunately a rather poor and addlepated student this past semester (wedding, beau moving in, mom in and out of hospital a few times, house broken into, etc.), so I just need to remind myself as I embark upon this shiny new semester that somebody believes in me, and then figure out how to translate that into believing in myself.

God, even typing that made me want to throw up a little.

But I hope you get my point. It’s always easier to believe you can conquer if you are actually already fooling other really smart people into believing that you are in fact conquering already.