Week 10: Final Reflections -- Dear Justine

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017


Justine Boecker

For my final blog post, I decided reflect on all the changes in my thoughts, perspectives and plans from May to August. Below is a letter to Justine a few days before I left for DC from Justine now as I am going home.


Dear Justine in May 2017,

You know one of your favorite books Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss? In the next 10 weeks, you are going to live that. You are going to places that you didn’t even know existed. You are going to think thoughts that you never thought about thinking about. You are going to meet people you have never heard  of. You are going to see things in a whole new way.

Stop worrying. You will absolutely love DC. To your surprise, you won’t be homesick at all. It is an amazing city filled with culture and opportunity. You will explore and find your favorite spots in the city. You will feel like a local in no time. You won’t get lost. With the help of the GPS on your phone, you will know where you’re going. In fact, when people from home come to visit you, they will be thoroughly impressed with your newfound navigation skills.

Stop worrying. You are going to make friends. You are going to live with 13 other interns who are all really cool people. (I mean they are physics majors so of course they are cool people.) Plus you will meet many others too. You don’t know it yet, but this summer is all about changing perspectives, meeting people and building relationships. You will work with a number of master teachers that are interested in hearing your story and supporting you as you grow. You will compile a list of emails of those excited to see where you go. The strongest and most influential relationship you will build will be with your mentor. Rebecca is a strong, confident, highly-motivated, and passionate woman. She will support you and teach you things that you can’t even imagine learning right now. Rebecca will become one of you most important role models and greatest resources.

Stop worrying. You are qualified for this job. This will take you a little bit to realize, but you are not expected to come into this internship knowing everything. The point of the internship is to learn. It is okay for you to say that you don’t understand. It is okay to ask for help. It is okay to ask why and how. Rebecca didn’t only take you on to work for her but to teach you. And, even though you don’t need to know everything going in, you have a solid foundation. You worked hard at Bethel to learn all that you could. Come on Justine. You did two of the most incompatible education degrees and still finished in four years! Stop doubting yourself. You are qualified.

Stop worrying. You are ready to be an adult. As you are expecting, there are a lot of situations this summer that require you to do adult things, but you are ready.  Your parents have taught you to be smart, and your time at Bethel has given you a solid foundation to make informed decisions that maintain your integrity. Adulting is hard, but you are ready for this.

Advice: be open to change. One of the most important things that you will gain this summer is a change in perspective. You have a solid understanding of the basics of Minnesota state education and district level education, but the world of education is so much bigger than that. You will learn how to look at systemic problems not from an individual classroom level or a district level but at a national level. While you are realizing that all these issues are so much bigger than you could have imagined, there are going to be things in your life that get smaller and smaller. By the end of the summer, you will have a completely new perspective through which you see education and your career.


Overall, you will leave Washington DC longing to go back. Enjoy the experience while you are there. Go to Captain Cookie as many times as you can with your roommates. Spend afternoons at the National Mall reading and people watching. Ride the Metro as far as you can and everywhere that you can. Don’t be afraid to do things by yourself, but still spend plenty of time with new friends. Enjoy the walk to get everywhere because you will miss it in the end. Be bold in meeting new people. Keep yourself open. Ultimately choose to love every minute of your time as an intern because it will end all too soon.


Justine in August of 2017



Today is your day.

You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know.

And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go. You’ll look up and down streets.

Look ‘em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”

With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,

you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any you’ll want to go down.

In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town.


And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed!

(98 and ¾ / 45 percent guaranteed.)



Justine Boecker