I don't think you are expecting too much from film. It is a very capable medium, but a different animal from digital photography, and different again from scanning and ink-jet printing. This is especially true of consumer-level technology that does the "thinking" for you. It's "thinking" is engineered to a very generic standard that the creators feel will satisfy the most people for the most usual tasks. When I was last using a darkroom I spent a lot of time learning how to get prints that I was satisfied with. I don't have that kind of patience with scanners/printers, and I work in IT. When I scan, I just settle for something that is sufficient to get the point across.
On a more technical note, (and perhaps forbidden, but I'm just commenting on your post) you may want to calibrate your factory-calibrated monitor. It's a good monitor, but if you are going to scan and print, all devices should be calibrated to the same "standard." Factory-calibrated basically means they chose a standard configuration and made sure all the monitors meet that standard before heading out. It is probably set to look best for movies or games.
You probably won't require that level of accuracy, but it might be a fun way to kill some time when you are bored, and you could eventually equate the experience to wet-printing when you get there (step wedges, color charts, etc.).
As far as wet-printing, if you develop some 120 you can try contact printing it. You could do the same with 35mm, but it would be difficult to appreciate images so tiny.
You would not really need much more in the way of equipment, just a light-tight room, some trays, and a few extra chemicals. Technically, you could use the daylight film tanks to do small paper prints. Getting the exposure right with a bare bulb would be difficult, though, but can be done.
I think the most important part is learning and having fun.