As an interviewer, I'd much rather hire someone who is enthusiastic about a topic and chose to learn about it, than someone with a high GPA. You learn way more when you're learning what you like, and you do a much better job when you're doing it.
Agree, I am fortunate enough to head a sizable group and my stars are the cats. I call them cats because they are curious, independent and self reliant. I don't have to worry about them.