I was, more or less, a fuck-up as an undergrad, trying to manage more than I was capable of: a girlfriend I wasn't happy with, two or three jobs, money home to the family (sometimes from student loans), being young and away from home for the first time, and, oh yea, school.
That I made it out of my undergrad career with a degree is perhaps not a miracle, but certainly a testament to will and patience - some of it, even mine.
One of the good bits, though, was that my undergrad adviser actually saw something in the mess that I was, and pointed it out when he could. I wouldn't have imagined being able to go to grad school - a time I'm not ashamed to admit will probably be the glory days I compare other things to for the rest of my life - without that. And for all the things that keep me up at night - fucked-up family, approaching 40 with the potential of looming genetic time bombs, a mountain of student loan debt - I've got a pretty good life that's come out of it.
I say this because, by happenstance, as I was wandering to get a drink of water between sessions in the conference I'm attending overseas, my undergrad adviser spotted me out of the crowd and came over to say hello.
It was nice to be able to say a quick thank you, and to be reminded of one of the things I have to live up to in my own interactions with students.