I did start with hopes but instantly found out their goals and mine did not match. Then I tried to correct course, did so, struggled with the system on all fronts was a bad student, then a miserable phase of misery followed. In the end I managed to become good and mostly happy.
I was great up until grad school. Grad school is where I met people who were much much smarter than I was. My ego took a hit and confidence went down low. I stopped going to classes, struggled for a year, failed a few classes. but then I got over the shock, picked up my act and finished strong.
I have had a bit of both. It wasn’t a straight continuum. I was an excellent student up until my early teens, then my habits became total 💩 and my grades dipped for a bit when I became mostly apathetic. Luckily, I was able to get myself together and remember who I had it in me to be.