My questions are rather unfocused... I don't really know if they're really questions yet, but chime in as much as possible. I'm just tossing ideas around here. 1. I think all physics programs offer an advance lab class. they offer a range of experiments and you pick some to repeat. Is this class worth taking more then once? It feels almost like an introduction to research in that you aren't given a lot of hand holding and the experiments are not confined to 4-8 hours periods or whatever. they give you a key to the lab and you work on a project by yourself. and you have to give a presentation on it and what not. was it a key experience in your undergraduate physics education? 2. I'm planning on taking a year off, but I don't quite know what to do with it just yet. I know a lot of people work--how has that worked out for you? I know some people just do it for the money, but intellectually, how have you found it? did it help focus you for graduate school, researach topic wise? what about spending time as a post-bacc doing research somewhere? I'd love to use this as an excuse to travel and see other countries but still doing something productive. Or taking a 5th year and a lighter course load to focus on research? Also, is there a point when doing so much research as an undergrad simply doesnt help anymore? I'd be working with the same professor for 3 years, but would that really help me getting admission/fellowships and what not? What if i just wanted to dick around and surf/play music/relax? 3. If I want to do engr graduate school, is it standard to take engr classes first? Like, if i wanted to do semiconductor physics, it would obviously be helpful to take several semiconductor classes, but as a physics major, would not having taken them kill my chances of getting into elec engr graduate school for example? 4. part of what im looking at graduate school is basically a boot camp on how to truly work independently on a long term project. If i decide graduate school isn't right for me, are there other areas I could go to get this kind of training? 5. this is related to number 3; how easy is to to get into an area you have no coursework in? Say I realize im interested in numerical analysis or signal processing, but i haven't taken a class on it. Are PIs hesitant about accepting graduate students how have no experience in said field?