The first thing that dawned on me when I entered college was if I wanted good grades, simply tell the professor what he wanted to hear, and write what he wanted to read.
I eventually got a masters degree, with excellent grades all along.
Unprincipled? Sure I was. But I realized early on the cards were stacked against the free thinker who opposed The Powers That Be. So I look at it like I beat them at their own (crooked) game.