Hi, PF! I'm headed for a physics-based career. I have read the ZapperZ wisdom. Thanks, ZZ! I just want to relate my situation to see if you guys think I'm viable. After high school, I just drifted through different cities and did manual labor and entry-level jobs. I didn't really know anything except a little programming. At 25, I got a couple of CompTIA certifications and then I returned to college for a 2-year technical degree in EE. There I gave an hour lecture to some 30 faculty and students about a personal project involving microbial fuel cells. The experience inspired me to consider teaching or research. At 27 I then transferred to an EE BS and yesterday I submitted a form to switch to a Physics BS. I've especially homed in on condensed matter topics and I've begun plodding, gradually, through "Mathematics of ... Physics" by Byron and Fuller, as well as Jackson's EM, and I like where it is going. Most importantly, I do not want to ever run out of puzzles or to run out of new ways to look at things. Out of high school, I did get into some trouble with the law (for contraband and alcohol) and I'm curious if that will affect my job prospects. I got letters from the FBI, state police, and city saying that my offense had been stricken from the record as part of a second chance program. I am upstanding these days, but I read some things here on PF about security clearance and background checks, even polygraphs. I'm still worried I will somehow be prevented from getting jobs or internships. Will my history really be a big issue? Also, my resume before college is spotty. Will my degree heal this somehow? This is a wonderful website, by the way. Thanks for your consideration here.