Take education in your own hands
Don’t expect knowledge be handed to you on a silver platter (even though you’d think you would have bought a few platters with all the $ you are spending)
Intern. You will not only learn more by supplementing you’re education with experience, you will find what you are missing in school, what you like, and hopefully a bit of what you want to avoid.
Demand quality from your instructors, you pay them for it. As a part time instuctor myself I can say students than engage get them most out of it.
Don’t be satisfied, if you think you are not getting enough from your school, don’t whine, no one will listen. Set up a meeting with the head of your department and try to find a way to get what you need. If they can’t help, transfer. It’s not that hard. I did an exchange semester with another school. I learned a lot and felt I had a better grasp on how varried the feild is.
If your cockey, try not to let it show while you are interning. It’s a small world, and you don’t want to build a negative reputation (like I did) with visiting professionals, and other designers at your internship. Keep your ego out of it and you will learn faster.
Know what you want to get out of your school. Do you want to learn how to sketch, learn anylitical thinking techniques, modelling, a bit of everything? Direct your own path or others will do it for you and you might not like where you end up.
That said, take the time to have some fun. You will be building bonds with friends you will keep for life, and together you will be the future of design. Of the people I went to school with: my roomate designed the olympic caldron for the Salt Lake games, my old TA designed the Jeep Willy’s concept and now is at VW advanced design, the guy I enveyed has done several concept cars for GMC, another friend, she is at New Ballance and is in charge of Advanced Design there, several friends are at Samsonite and Michael Graves Product Studio… I could go on. Be a good friend, you are more than each others’ competition, you are peers.