Hey PF one and all, Quick prequel, I'm a sophomore in college, physics maths double major, my arms are incredibly sore from working out right now, my parents raised me with the notion that being anything less than the absolute best was a disappointment, and I'm just getting around to learning good ole special relativity. I really like learning about physics. Its great. Probably the only time I've ever enjoyed schoolwork, besides doing trivial math problems, is thinking about the implications of a good physics problem set. etc. etc. point being, I really like *learning* about Physics. But I'm not sure if I'd like *doing* physics. My dad wants me to fulfill his old dream of being a "successful" academician, you know going to the top grad school and post doc and getting a cream of the crop professorship at the "best" school... I have neither the intelligence, nor the blind drive, for that kind of thing. I'm just about smart enough to appreciate the incredible beauty all around us, but I really really really doubt I could ever make any sort of meaningful contribution to the field, and lately I've lost interest in being very "successful" as far as the world or my elders define it. So I don't know if researching a single question day in or day out, or playing department politics and climbing the ladder, would be the right fit for me. I could neither make a real contribution, nor play the game...I'd much rather sit around and read a lot, than go out and spend years on one thing. I want to go to grad school. Not because I want a shiny degree with a "good" name on it, but because I hear they teach pretty sweet physics there... Besides that, I don't really know what I want. Maybe one should consider this post a rant, in which case I'm just looking for commentary. But I think I'd much rather be a rogue mind than a paper-producing machine academic or the poor soul who sits around in a cubicle tuning parameters on a constant or two...how do I approach my education and career then???