I'm starting grad school in physics at UIUC this fall and I'm really agonizing over course selection. In particular I'm not sure whether to take Quantum Mechanics or Quantum Field Theory. I want to do Condensed Matter Theory, and learning QFT would probably make it easier to find someone to work for during my first summer. But I've only had one year of QM, and looking over lectures from previous years, I would certainly learn some new physics in the graduate course. I think QM would be fairly easy because I have a good background in the relevant math and I've been studying Shankar all summer as Qual preparation (UIUC uses Shankar for graduate QM, and also Baym, which seems somewhat more advanced.) But I also think that I could succeed in the QFT course - I'm just worried about later being blindsided by some basic QM topic that I skipped over... I guess what I really want to know is if I should think of my first year as a time to really solidify my knowledge of fundamental topics, or if I need to be gearing all my decisions towards being a useful researcher as soon as possible. Thanks for any advice!