The best approach to any learning situation is to remember that the less you think you know, the better off you'll be.
Speaking of knives ... one skill that will serve you extremely well going in is sharpening. They don't teach it. You need to know it. Might as well learn now. Invest less than $20 in a Norton IB-8 (8", combination, India stone) and learn to freehand sharpen. There are a number of free videos on the web. Try, http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/default.asp
(look for the How To Sharpen buttons along the top center), and Learn to Sharpen a Knife using a Sharpening Stone
The method shown at the second link, Sharpening Supplies is the most commonly used, the method shown at JCK, the "Murray Carter", is more efficient -- don't worry about "Water stones," "Arkansas stones," "Diamond stones," "Stixen stones," "Kidney stones" or anything else stones. When it comes to your freehand technique -- stones is stones.
You'll learn to use a steel in school, and until you know whether you prefer 10" or 8", in a French or German style chef's knife, you're not ready to invest in a good chef's knife. You'll eventually want fine-better-more-expensive stones than an IB-8 -- we'll talk when you're ready. We ALL have advice for you. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Ah, but if you can sharpen ... you will be, how you say, beaucoup popular.
FWIW, Emeril can cook, Alton can't.