There are many aspects I think one learns about the University experience and the ladder - it's all about time management. I have absolutely no idea what college was like in the past, if it was at all different. But by today's standards, all college teaches kids is time management. Most kids (I'm talking about those who aren't lowlifes smoking pot and drinking every day) are taking 15+ credit hours, spend countless more on homework and extracurriculars, and by the time the weekend arrives they indulge themselves in blackouts galore to forget all the headaches and knowledge they accumulated that week.
Many go in and out with the notion that the professional world is the only world, thus the serious students is he who enrolls in 6 science and math classes per semester, or he who takes 18 credit hours of commerce, literature, political science, and matriculates himself in several university groups related to his field of expertise. Such preset individuals never stop, pausing to explore the rest of the world, themselves, and their cause. Consequently, many are plagued with stress, abnormal insecurities, and a very closed perspective.
College life is definitely stressful. With that said, many do find healthy outlets for their stress. Some friends and I will venture of the city to hike through mountains, or walk along rivers, for instance. Many read, explore new philosophies and use it as a to analyze their own. Many play sports, which stimulates competition and other healthy forms of socialization. I am lucky at my university, which also has many opportunities to study abroad.
College is where a person can really define themselves. There are many paths to explore; you can chose to waste your time in college, applying your skills in subjects that do not truly interest you, or even at frat, making stories that you'll reminisce over tears and 10 shots of Jaeger twenty years later. Or, you can chose to engage in subjects that truly do interest you and challenge you. You can challenge yourself after class - pick up power lifting, or learn to cook (sparks creativity and works dexterity and care for the intricate). A word of wisdom - if you are interested in the sciences, do not deprive yourself of a liberal arts education. Those Shakespeare classes are what really builds a person.