I have a dilemma that I don't know how to solve, and I'm hoping for advice. My dilemma is that I simultaneously love mathematics and hate school. If you just want to get to the point, skip to the last paragraph, but if you want the details, read on. To elaborate, I have dropped out of college twice now, and am dropping out for a third time at the end of this semester. Any time I have not been in school, I have found myself drawn back to mathematics and studying it in my free time. I taught myself trig after high school, and later calculus. I find number theory incredibly interesting and am very interested in cryptography and data compression. However, every time I go back to school I find myself laying in bed every morning dreading the day ahead. I find the lectures long and boring, the course material shallow and vapid, and the emphasis more on student's work output and memorization and mindless application of equations rather than on intuitive understanding of the course material. One of my calculus professors once said that the work load in the course was as heavy as it was because there were "so many possible variations, and you have to know what to do when you encounter them." My question to him, if I actually understand what is going on intuitively, then shouldn't I know how to applying that understanding to any variation of a problem? Isn't it impossible to teach an algorithmic process for solving EVERY possible problem? (He didn't seem to like that line of questioning much) I feel I have to add that I'm not one of these "I'm really smart, but I have a 2.2 GPA" people, either. I do well in my classes when I am taking them. I currently have a 3.87 GPA and the only reason it isn't a 4.0 is that I was passing kidney stones during finals week one semester and didn't do so well on a few of the tests. But I hate it. I hate dragging myself to class every day. I hate sitting in a classroom and listening to someone lecture on material that I know I could read in half the time and understand twice as well. I hate doing the mindless assignments and stupid tests and jumping through all the academic hoops so I can get the GPA that is dangled in front of me every semester. Add on to this that the way the economy is, it's really incredibly doubtful that I'm actually going to get a decent job in a field that I want after graduation anyway, which makes me wonder what the hell I'm putting myself through this for. I seriously feel like my brain is rotting and oozing slowly out of my ears. If I continued school, at this point I would have 2 1/2 more years until graduation, and the thought of pushing myself through that makes me want to shoot myself. I can't put myself through another semester, and I don't want to keep going with this stupid cycle of "enroll, complete a semester or two, drop out, repeat" because I don't see it getting me anywhere in the end. So my question is this: what other options are there available to me? Work is difficult to come by right now, but I've considering joining the military and just studying on my own in my free time. But could I actually go anywhere doing this? Is there some sort of field for people with an aptitude for and interest in mathematics who are willing to study the subject, but not willing to go to school? I can't imagine the only path available to me is the typical school -> internship -> office job, but it is the only path that I know. Thank you to anyone who actually read through all of this.