Throughout my five years of college I was pretty much a straight-A student (except for one B at a cognitive biology exam) who completed all his degrees with distinction.
I don’t accredit my academic success to my intelligence, which I don’t deem to be outstanding in any sense. I certainly wasn’t some nerd either who obsessed about getting good grades: I couldn’t have cared less. My passion for the topic was also not exceptional, at least not in the context of my likewise enthusiastic classmates, who were already an elite sample (only 20 students got accepted in my field every year). What made me stand out, I think, was my mindset—this mindset:
I study hard because I want to discipline myself.
Self-discipline, however, is the most fundamental and most appreciated value I could (and still can) always rely upon. I knew I wanted to grow stronger and become a better version of myself. The best way to actualize this True Will in college is by regarding study load as a means to train willpower.
Studying hard won’t just make you smarter or yield good grades. First and foremost, it strengthens your will and makes you mentally tougher.
More likely than not, you will never actually need your knowledge of all the million notations, concepts, and minute details of already inconceivably complex scientific mechanisms. Yet you will need to have the willpower that you develop by studying these things. Studying is a training in self-discipline, which will be the cornerstone of your success in whatever area you want to explore and dominate later in life.