In my undergrad I took a design class that would permanently change my perspective for the better, but not without some all nighters, some swearing, and more coffee than the surgeon general would recommend as safe for a human being.
I needed the class to graduate, and unfortunately had not previously been able to take any of the prerequisites for the class. Any of the three prerequisites. I was expected to frequently use programs that I had not previously opened at length and had no idea how to use. On top of that, I was expected to use them well enough to design at a level that I had never even come close to in school.
The first day of class the professor brought in a CEO of a company and explained that we would be working alongside his company the remainder of the semester, and I immediately closed my notebook and zoned out. I thought to myself, "How could I possibly pass this class? I've never designed much of anything, and now I have to impress the leader at a multinational company? No thanks, I'm out. I'll switch to marketing or something like that".
I sent an email to my professor that night about how I "didn't feel like I was qualified to take this class yet" and asked to be placed in a lower level class, and he agreed to meet with me the next day. I walk in and enjoyed a pleasant conversation with him up until the words "I think it will be good for you" left his mouth and my smile dropped from my face. I thought to myself "I'm stuck here now, and will have to suffer through this awful class all semester." I reluctantly agreed, not knowing how right, but also how wrong, I would be over the next few months.
Through the course of this class, I pulled 5 all nighters, working through the night each time to learn, correct, relearn and re-correct assignments. I left class on multiple occasions thinking to myself "I actually do not have time to get this done, even if I don't sleep for the next 24 hours, I still don't have enough time", but each time I tried. Several times I failed, but each time I got a little more done, a little further, and a little better. My roommates started asking where I went at night. I learned to sleep 4 hours a night. I learned to love black coffee. I learned time management. I learned Indesign and Adobe Capture. I learned what typefaces don't look good on a poster. I learned about apparel design, book design, and how to work in a team. I was often miserable, but I learned, oh man, did I learn. My tolerance for poor design shrank and my work ethic grew. I got a taste of what a fast paced job was like, and I got through it with a decent grade.
I would recommend strongly that every design student should take their classes in order, but if I had given up and switched out of this class I would be half the designer I am today, one that is still very much learning, but so much more motivated than I was before taking that class. We can never really realize our full potential without being pushed beyond what we think is our limit. Growing hurts sometimes, but we are always better for it. I hate the phrase "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger", but in this case, it was definitely applicable.