Hmm... Personally, I invested one academic year in a graduate program that taught me a lot about translation but ultimately didn't prepare me at all for freelancing. So I wasn't able to make as good use of that year as I'd hoped.
Still, since I've graduated in May I've made loads of progress. Do I feel established or comfortable? No, not at all. Am I making enough to pay the bills? Erm, sort of.
What I did do a few months after graduating was sign up for an online course about establishing yourself as a freelance translator. It was worth the investment (it was one of the less-expensive options out there). It got me to check some daunting things off my to-do list: creating a website, giving my business a name, emailing hundreds of agencies, deciding what my target rates are...
I guess this response has been kind of ramble-y. That's probably because I'm still in my first year of freelancing and don't feel very established yet!