I never went to college for design. Much of my educational experience involved me figuring out which homework assignments I could skip and still get a C in the class. I flew on auto-pilot for a great deal of college; sort of aloof and non-committal. I didn't join clubs, wasn't interested in fraternities, and it wasn't uncommon for me to begin and end a class at semester's close without meeting a single new person. When I started at my university, I didn't have any idea of what kind of future I wanted. I was interested in film, philosophy, writing—basically anything that wasn't guaranteed much of a "plan". And, I think (for some time, at least) I was alright with that. I didn't mind so much about not having a direct course of action. The future that our high school guidance counselors had long tried to bury into our minds had less to do with finding any sort of real purpose and more to do with making sure we went to college by any means necessary. As if finding any sort of further education was more vital than discovering what it was that made us tick the hard way (also see: long way).
I've known friends who didn't find what it was that they wanted to do until much later in life. For my own story, it took a couple decades to really develop a taste for my future. I would have loved to have had an interest in design from a young age; any small spark, really. Unfortunately, that's not how it happened for me. That's not to say one way is better than any other, but for those privileged few who do find what it is they want to pursue in a lifelong career, those early years spent honing, learning, and failing before the rest of us are invaluable.
The truth of it is, our schools aren't poised to unearth our hidden passions. That will take something more than a class that ends with a 101.
When you don't have professors who teach you how to fail at your craft, you either learn what it feels like to do so alone, or you can choose to assemble a team of people to journey with you and experience life beside you. I didn't do my learning under the tutelage of anyone who worked on the original Apple campaigns or who co-labored beside Saul Bass, but I've had the opportunity to enter into a community with people whom I trust, respect, and admire. Not just their body of work, but the people behind it.
I can't tell you in enough words how vital to my confidence, my work ethic, and my overall professional success the body of people around me as been. Not just those that will tell you how awesome your most recent piece is, but those who will give you honest, open feedback when you produce something that's less than you're capable of. The kind of people that push you to do better work than you thought you could produce and encourage you to keep at it—even when you falter (which you will). They're the people that know how you work and can help you develop safeguards for when you're tired, weak, and feel directionless in your efforts.
Building these relationships will take time. It'll, perhaps, take you reaching out to someone you admire. Maybe it's sending them an email or engaging them in a dialogue of some sort elsewhere. One thing is for sure, it will take some sort of effort on your part. Most of these relationships won't just form organically while you sit back and wait for one to fall in your lap.
Get proactive in building a community of co-laborers. That doesn't just mean getting "critiques" on public platforms like Dribbble.
I'd encourage you to enter into a mentorship with someone more experienced than yourself. Give back and take the time to help someone else who's just learning. Ensure your relationships do more than just "take". That could mean something as simple as offering an insightful portfolio review or maybe hopping on a Skype call to lend some wisdom on your journey thus far.
In teaching others, you'll learn even more about yourself.
There were parts of me in college that were lazy, insubordinate, and unwilling to try at something that didn't seem worth my time. I know myself well enough to know that those parts of me haven't completely disappeared, they're just dormant and I've learned how to better handle those parts of myself and to surround myself with people who will help me every step of the way. And hopefully, those tendencies will lie comatose for a long time coming.
After all, there's still so much to do.