I'm having a difficult time trying to discover which academic pathway to pursue. At first, the difficulty came from having broad interests, which I narrowed to a toss-up between space, science and engineering. I found space (astronomy, astrophysics) to be too specialized, physics (pure science) is riddled with competition and ego, and engineering relegates one to cubicle life. I then discovered engineering physics, and that seemed to be the best of both worlds; I can discover AND create. But now I'm stymied with the concept of applied physics. So here is what I want/where I see myself. I want the freedom to solve problems of my choosing by conducting research, creating (designing and building) new technology, and contributing to the knowledge base of humanity. The problem could be anything. It could be a new material, depollution, alternative energy, food security, environmental policy, orbital colonization, etc. Emphasis on freedom. The problem on the back-end is where to be employed. The lust for profit arrests human advancement. I don't want to be in a position where I am a tool for company profit, or my hands are tied from budget restrictions. I'm not so naive to think this is avoidable, but I have a low tolerance for that kind of bs, and no tolerance for corporate mentality. I need an environment where people are serious about progress, but laid-back enough that it's also fun. Education also comes to mind. My question to you is, what is the appropriate degree to pursue?