I have this poster on my wall back home and anytime I have self-doubt, I read Ira's quote, and it serves as a reminder that I must keep going, keep pushing, and keep making myself better; that it is up to me to make myself great.
A Documentary Gold Mine
Click the image for more information. One of the main things that helped me through both my undergraduate and graduate studies was owning a high-quality printer. It gave me the flexibility to continue to work on my designs until I was satisfied with them and often extended my working schedule.
If I were to recommend a printer today, I would suggest the EPSON Artisan 1430. At $300 you gain the ability to print on various types of paper up to 13 x 19 inches.
When I was in school a favorite class of mine outside of design was photography. At the time digital photography was in its infancy and was extremely expensive for even businesses to pursue, so I learned how to work with film. Many of the tools you use today in Photoshop originated in darkrooms like the one I spent many hours in myself. The article linked below specifically discusses the origins of dodging and burning and how you can use them today to enhance your digital photos. Enjoy!