Hello, I am a 21 year old recent physics graduate somewhere in the USA. My ultimate goal is to go into research in condensed matter theory or computation. Last year I took two graduate level courses in solid state physics and I did some "research" (I learned a lot, but no results) in it. I never enjoying learning material like that in years, even though I was far and away the dumbest person in the room. I'd love to talk to any condensed matter theorists on here if there are any, especially those with a computational focus. In particular, my interests tend to look at exotic phases of many-body and strongly correlated systems, and computational methods that look at them. Once I get back from the summer, I will attempt to start doing research with that with a group at my university, assuming I decide to stay for the full MS. I did not do too well in undergrad for a variety of reasons (let's not go into details until I get a little more comfortable on this forum. I did a lot of things that I'm not proud of and hurt a lot of people that I shouldn't have. I'm really not in the mood to depressively beat myself up over it while I still calculate if there is some way to come back from the damage) and hit rock bottom in a lot of ways a month back. It's a miracle that I haven't done some serious damage to myself physically if not emotionally. I had to do some serious thinking on my life and where I was headed. I realized that I was not the person that I always envisioned being, and that if I didn't change ASAP, I would waste my life. To be quite honest, I don't know if it is possible for me to recover. It might be that I'm screwed for a graduate physics degree and there ain't a whole lot I can do about it, but we'll see. I fully admit that this could all fail. But I'm determined to give it a go. It gives me a purpose in life, which is what I need. So, for now I am a non-degree student at my current university, will try for an MS depending on if I apply at the end of this fall. I will have around a 3.0 and the PGRE by then, so theoretically I could, but I don't know if I want to. I did do OK in the graduate solid state courses, so theoretically I should be fine in other ones, but occasionally I worry if that was more of a function of "if you stand by a waterfall, you get wet". I did learn a lot, but... To sum it all up, I'm revamping my whole life right now, or trying to. If I could get some help here, great, but part of that will be spending less time online. I've gotten active help in my life for the first time. I do have a summer internship lined up thanks to me getting involved with a software project online and we have a decent if not slam-dunk shot at publishing a paper if things go well, so there is that. I take the PGRE in late September and plan on starting my practice this weekend. I have no desperate ambitions to go onto academia after the Phd(and yes, I know I want it. It's something I thought about during the whole "rock bottom" thing very deeply), so that is a bit of a stress reliever on the choice of academic groups.