This must be human. What is pathetic is that it never goes away. You get older, but you're still a slacker. It hardly matters what you've accomplished, there's always room for self-criticism.
Did cave people feel this way or is this what we call civilized thinking? Did cave people stare at the stars and think, "Geez, I spent way too much time looking at the fire this week," or I should have been killing a tiger instead of cave painting. I'm such a caveman."
Anyway, the writers in Tom's class are so earnest and young and worried about their standing in the universe. It's a bittersweet read.