Stanford's not as great as I thought it would be. After graduating, I really wished I had been given the $200,000 instead, and set free to do what I wanted. I found myself yearning for freedom time after time during my undergraduate education. I actually had some of the worst teachers I've ever had while at Stanford.
Case in point, I took a year of Japanese at Stanford, but my accent and fundamental understanding of conversational Japanese was still terrible by that time. So I dropped out of the program the second year, followed AJATT.com's advice and self-studied with RTK, anime, and JUNK Japanese radio, and launched ahead of my classmates who were still stuck in 2nd year Japanese. AJATT's method is vastly more effective than the method they teach in language classes (yes, even at Stanford).
And I imagine this is true with many subjects.
I wouldn't be where I am if I hadn't gone to Stanford. That's for damned sure. But who knows where I'd be if I took the self-education route instead?
(Incidentally, I read Life Nomadic when I was junior, went to Japan that spring, and decided I didn't want to come back for my senior year. My parents held the money gun to my back, however, so I finished. And I'm glad they did. But now, living the nomad life, I have the impression that I'm learning way faster than I ever did at school.)