In college and grad school I was obsessed with figuring out how to succeed, how to pass a test, how to get that A. I basically wanted the teacher to tell me what I was "supposed to know" to pass the class. I'd study what I was told and regurgitate that onto a blue book on test day. Boom. A. On to the next one. I had it down to a science. And I was kinda miserable...
Looking back on my school days, I wish I would have done things differently. I did everything their way to achieve what I thought was success. I wish I would've been brave enough to do it my way. Don't get me wrong, doing well in school is important. But I don't think it's as important as really loving the learning process. My goal was the grade and I wish I would have made my goal learning a bunch of rad stuff and enjoying the academic journey.
For example, instead of writing a paper on how great Judy Chicago's Dinner Party is - cuz I knew that's what professor so-and-so wanted - I should have been like "eff you, Dinner Party! You're embarrassing yourself and women everywhere." Even if I didn't get a good grade, I would have stood up for myself and my unusually strong opinion of the Dinner Party. And I would've written a bombass paper that I was really proud of... and that's really the point. Create things you're PROUD OF.
Focus on excellence, ignore success. (Yes I got this from Deepak Chopra and I loove eet.)