Tom, Discipline and the Rest of Us
He also studied three hours a night, every night, and was assigned to the elite section of his class. He was a math major at a level where they were generating concepts so original that they had to invent their own names for the stuff.
He did everything with assured confidence.
Tom was the first member of our college class to marry, which he did a few days before graduation.
He went on to earn a doctorate and spent a long career teaching university-level math. He wrote textbooks that were popular enough over the years to keep him busy producing revisions.
And he fathered children who grew into successful adulthood.
I had the mixed fortune of rooming with Tom for our last two years at Holy Cross. Occasionally I would try to match Tom’s disciplined evening study hours. Invariably, after a day or two, though, I would revert to my accustomed life of bull sessions and coffee breaks leavened by modest doses of class prep.
I gained a lot personally from the college experience and did well enough academically. Tom did somewhat better: He was the summa cum laude in a class of 500.