Freedom from freedom
When I was at art college in Brighton, the course was structured as follows:
First year: Students given projects to work on by the tutors
Second year: 50% of the projects come from the tutors and 50% are the students setting their own briefs
Third year: Students set all their own briefs
Looking back, it seems like a strange way to write a course; most working illustrators do pictures for other people and only a lucky few get to do what they want full-time (and make a living doing it). In practice it meant that we spent the first year of our course complaining that we didn't like the projects being set for us and spent the third year not knowing what to do. In desperation some of us approached the tutors and asked them to give us projects that we could work on, and they took pity on us.
Not everyone can cope with complete artistic freedom. Given unlimited time and unlimited licence to do our own thing, some of us just stall and splutter and die. I've always known that this is one of my limitations. My ideal scenario is having a job to do and being allowed the time and space to get on with it.