School was a lot of fun. Middle school and high school. While I've always been rather quiet, I had loads of friends. I could get along with the studious types, as I checked that box. But my group of friends were the ones that got into trouble, all the time. I was just fascinated by them and gravitated towards them, and as unlikely as it was, that became my gang.
Very quickly, I deconstructed the game of school as score enough marks to stay out of trouble, at home and school. I was one of those kids who would study reasonably last minute and get 90. Trying to compete for the 1st rank involved real, serious work. Being around the 5th rank was reasonably easy. That number suited my ego ( I was not okay if my rank was lower) and the amount of work it entailed (not much at all).
This allowed me to go undetected in school. This also meant I had enough time to do non-academic things - play a lot, as a simple example. I was never going to trouble the first-rankers or record books but at the same time, any time I got in trouble with the establishment, I was let off reasonably easy. My school gang was like The Usual Suspects. The same line-up outside the teacher's room or the principal's office, or kneeling outside the lab. And, every time, I would walk away scot-free because "he can't possibly be involved. he gets good marks". I milked it because it was all part of the game.
From 10th standard, for the next 6 years, I gained zero knowledge. I was just bored of this stupid game of scoring marks. It was not exciting or challenging or stimulating. And that's where I missed the point. The point was never to score marks but to learn, and to develop a love for knowledge. Apparently.
But the school system being so, and the benchmark being established in our culture, I was just happy to check the boxes and get my 90s and my 5th rank.
It took me a while to re-discover my love for learning and knowledge. I cherish my memories of high school. But I essentially got dumber every year after 10th grade until I graduated college. College was essentially rock bottom - any joy I had from learning was steadily drained from me over those 4 years. Hitting rock bottom is not so bad, because the only way is up. It is terrible when you are over there, but in hindsight, not so bad.
Most times, the point of the game is larger than the game. Even if the folks running the games are not the best. Especially if the folks running the game are not the best.
The point is sometimes not the point at all. Change the yardstick. Change what you want out of the game. Measure what matters to you.