The only person more suprised than I was when I did so well in my history exams was my teacher. I think each of us disliked the other.
Things changed to a certain extent shortly after I left school when I came across two quotes. The first one was Edmund Burke's quote "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it" and the second (I can't remember who said it) was "Learn from other people's mistakes. Life's too short to make them all yourself". I still made no systematic effort to learn history, but I made sure I picked up a fair bit along the way!
Chemistry was the basis of my professions.