Hello f(r)iends! I'm new to the forum as you can no doubt tell, but hope to make this place my digital home for many hours if possible now and in the future, but I really need to get some feedback and help for the moment, here's my conundrum and background: You see, I am 17, in highschool, and am very much in love with the woman that is Physics. Ever since I was a little boy I was absolutely and completely fascinated with the world and how it worked; and that curiosity managed to be my partner in life up to this point (I'm more interested in theoretical than exerimental physics). I can, with reasonable certainly, say that I've read darn near every layman's book and slightly more technical book on physics there are (as long as the book doesn't apply Calculus); everything from classic Max Born in explaining Relativity to the supporter of the testless theory Brian Greene, to the physicist with a technological vision Michio Kaku, to the lover of black holes that now holds Lucasian Chair of Mathematics, you name it. However, I'm not sure I have the education needed to pursue physics and fulfill my dream of getting my PhD and a career in modern physics! I live in Missouri, attending a small rural school containing less than 400 students (that's K-12)! I am far from saying small schools are all complete garbage, but mine seems to have fallen prey to such a quality level. Our teachers of all subjects have left and been replaced numerous times, and most of the new teachers complain of the ignorance of the students and impedence of their ability to teach us their subject due to lack of knowledge building up to it ("You guys suck at Algebra II because your last teacher didn't teach you Algebra I right!"), so forth and so on. Attending this school my whole life, obviously I had been a victim to the horrid education there. Up until last year I thought myself horrible at mathematics, and could hardly do the simplest Algebra problems, and even hated fractions, probably due to the lack of my teachers ability to do his or her job. But my love for Physics persisted, and I decided to take on mathematics on my own, for the obvious connection beteen the two that would inevitably keep me from pursuing physics if I didn't learn the mathematical discipline -somehow. After much practice and trial and error trying to learn on my own, I managed to raise my mathematical ability tenfold, if such arbitrary values could express such an increase in know-how. I raised my previous Pre-ACT mathematics score from a horrid 19 to a 26 - and that was months ago; I've been plugging away ever since to better my ability. Whereas I hated mathematics and loathed that I had to learn it to pursue physics, I now have a profound respect and compassion for mathematics that I most certainly didn't get from any math teacher I had, and I seriously considered wanting to be a mathematician instead of a physicist for awhile! The majority of the physicists I see today, and read about from the previous generations of physicists back through Einstein, Newton, so on (and it doesn't have to be the giants) have all come from families who have provided them with the utmost care in education; providing the best available. And I have nothing of the sort, coming from a small school with horrid teachers, surrounded by (if you'll excuse my bluntness) ignorant rednecks who care nothing for their education and whose teachers most certainly don't provide competition to facilitate healthy academic motivation! Do you think I should discontinue pursuing a career in theoretical physics? Is it to strenuous an activity for someone like me who was raised with a horrible education? Is it too late for me to repair my disfunctional education no matter what strides I've made so far? It seems to me that, regardless of my deep passion for physics, I am faced with the daunting task of going through an academic journey far to epic for a young man without proper education, who will probably not have enough time to (if even possible) fix the broken shadow of an education he received in the past. Any opinions or comments are welcomed and very much appreciated. What do you guys think about the poor pre-college educational system, these days? Is there any solution? I should hate to think any child born into a bad educational system should have to go through the extra hardships I've already endured just to pursue their passion when the material could've been taught the correct way, once. Any opinions or comments are welcomed and very much appreciated. Thanks. -Daniel Y. P.S, as a recent annoyance, in our final in Math (Algebra II), the highest test score was a 45%...(at least, until I got back from getting my wisdom teeth removed to take it). And that was a *good* average for them.