I was a diligent enough student without being too much of a stand-out. I would say that you afford yourself a certain social latitude among others in having that kind of disposition about you — quiet, yet punctual. I'd say solely that those kinds of people (as I was at the time) are classed as misunderstood, which to me in some way hints at some indefinite wanting to get to know the person's interior life. Or at least that's how I would have liked to class myself in my collegiate years, if I were to be favorable.

I only realize as I get older how that can be a fortunate thing, to make yourself apparent while also keeping people at a distance, as enough to balk at off-hand social overtures. Only those more attuned would so register. Friendships become few but more meaningful, less enervated from the banality of the more usual things to speak of. Or so the common wisdom would have me believe.

In the margins of my looseleaf, I drew unfamiliar shapes out of restlessness: a cat's face, spirals, irregular geometric shapes, names of people I didn't know. I was hardly awake enough to remember anything of the lecture, but I passed my classes without much issue. I talked to some other students but they were much like me. My father would have called that sort of thing an example of “soft power.” I had no inkling to want to do more than I already was. It would be much the same after I left.