M.I.A. thinks she was too "hyperactive" for university because she just wanted to "change the world".
The musician attended Central St Martins College in London, UK, where she studied art, film and video. Her friend Steve Loveridge comments she seemed "bored and frustrated" most of the time in the forward of a new book M.I.A. is bringing out, which focuses on her love of art.
The star admits she did struggle with aspects of her education.
"I was quite young and I was a hyperactive person with loads of ideas," she told The Independent's Radar magazine. "I wanted to change the world and was really inspired all the time, and it was really difficult for me to come into school and sit down and listen to theory that didn't really apply to my real life at the time."
Although M.I.A. initially thought she would build a career in the art world, she soon realised music was going to help more with her mission. The 37-year-old feared she would never be able to get her message heard unless she started writing songs and was thrilled when she won her first record deal.
She was determined not to forget about art completely though, with her self-titled book included photographs, collages and other visual ideas she's come up with throughout her life.
"It's been difficult. Or at least at the time it was; now it's more acceptable because technology is changing, but in 2004 when I was getting a record deal at XL, they would say, 'You've gotta choose if you want this or this,' and I always had to sort of sneak stuff in, and half the time not even tell them that I was doing it," she recalled.