If you are in school currently or getting ready to start do not play. The teachers that you have may cut you some slack. But if they do cut slack then they are not doing their Job. If you take it serious and really devote yourself to becoming better each day you will began to see results.
I for one had started design school and went full time. During that time I was finding myself. When I say finding myself I was learning more so about what it takes to be a designer. The designers that you are learning about or currently learning they had to start from the bottom. So what if they live in New York or Switzerland. If you think location matters now then your wrong.
The internet has leveled the playing field for so many industries. You can start a website and blog to gain traffic. When you gain traffic and check your statistics you will be amazed. To be honest its more then just blogging and not promoting your site.
What they teach you in design school is only the beginning the rest is left up to you.