The other evening, Mary Ellen Bates and I were guest speakers in Kim Dority's U. of Denver class on alternative career paths for librarians. It's something we've been doing for several years, and we talk about using our MLIS degrees (masters of library and information science) as independent researchers and owners of information businesses. It's especially fun for me, since I graduated from DU's MLIS program and took Kim's class many years ago.
My biggest piece of advice for students? Start building your network now. It's not something you do later. Once you've graduated, it's too late - too late to meet people who can influence where you work and what you do. And too late to develop relationships with your peers.
If you're going to school simply to complete the required courses, you're missing out on a huge benefit of higher education. Faculty and administrators want you to succeed. They know the field, and they know many of the players. Get to know them outside of the classroom. Stand out in class (in a good way, of course). The same holds true with fellow students. Get to know them. Form study groups and work on group projects. These will be your future colleagues.
The network I built while a DU student helped my business get started (Kim was my first client), and I continue to stay connected with many of my fellow DU MLIS graduates after all these years - sharing information work and resources.
As long as you have to spend all those hours in class and completing assignments, why not make it worthwhile?