In short, I completed my first year as a physics major and have off for the summer. As such, I wanted to dedicate some time to studying but am not sure what should be prioritized. I am currently studying for the GRE, keeping up with my calculus, studying Spanish (foreign language requirement), and have been studying command line in Linux. Since I have the basics of command line down and am happy leaving it at that for now, I wanted to figure out what I should study next. I was given some suggestions previously, but I was hoping for some clarification on the suggestions from those of you who are familiarized with these things if you don't mind. I'll try and keep this as organized as possible. 1. Is Mathematica similar to MATLAB and Maple R, or are they different things? I am not sure which ones do what, so I don't know how they compare. I have Mathematica (though I haven't used it much yet since I haven't taken the time to learn how), but I don't have either of the others yet. 2. Is latex used in any of those in #1, or is it something completely different? A lot of people told me I should familiarize myself with latex at least a little bit. A couple people said they hit a brick wall when teachers expected them to know it and gave assignments using it when they never saw it before. Also, is latex a type of programming language like python? 3. If I were to delve into some type of computer programming a bit, which one would you recommend? I got a lot of mixed feedback between C++, python, and perl, and it seems like the topic has been beaten to death on the forums. However, I am hoping that by seeing everything else I'm looking at studying, it might help narrow it down to one of these to start. 4. Primary modules for scientific computing were suggested as well, such as numpy, scipy, and matplotlib. From my take on these, they seem like some type of add-ons for programming, so I'm assuming the first step is familiarize myself with computer language first? 5. Of all that I mentioned here, what do you think is the most important to learn now before I get into classes that I will use it for? Is there any of them that would be a waste of time to study on my own (ex. they are thoroughly covered in required courses later on or are impractical to try and teach yourself without the assistance of an instructor)? I really appreciate whatever feedback any of you can give me on this stuff. I have a lot of time on my hands right now, so I figured I'd really like to learn some of this stuff. However, since I don't have the time to delve into all of it, I'm debating on what is the most valuable to learn at this point.