After the funeral, my life changed. I felt as if time were suddenly precious, water going down an open drain, and I could not move quickly enough. No more playing music at half-empty night clubs. No more writing songs in my apartment, songs that no one would hear.
Mitch reveals this resolution in the third chapter of the book, The Student, in which he describes the passionate, earnest, innocent young man he had been before entrenching himself in greed and material wealth. Upon the untimely death of his favorite uncle, Mitch's outlook on life is forever changed. He suddenly feels that the time is precious, and is compelled to live his life to its fullest potential, which, at the time, he believes is the attainment of financial success. The quote serves as Mitch's explanation of how he has transformed from an honest, hopeful young man into a money-grubbing professional who has abandoned his long-harbored dreams in exchange for financial security. It is clear that Mitch feels disconnected with the young man he once was at Brandeis, but desperately wants to reestablish a connection with his former ambitions and ethical values. Mitch had abandoned his dreams for musical success at a very vulnerable period in his life, as he had grown increasingly discouraged by his failure in playing the nightclub circuit. The death of his favorite uncle only served to compound his disillusionment, and, more than any other factor, influenced Mitch to envision life as a race to beat the clock, sucking dry every moment to attain wealth and power as a business professional.