Need Some Honest Feedback On "late Bloomers." Ok, here's my current scenario. I am 34 and changing career paths to one in physics. I have always loved the sciences ever since I was a child, but a dysfunctional family upbringing stunted my life pursuits. I was never pushed to pursue college, and high school bored me. It lacked challenge, and 95% of the information I learned was just not interesting to me as it wasn't stimulating. After high school, I worked in the health and fitness industry. I never planned on it being a life-long pursuit, but opportunities kept coming up over the years that kept me involved in it. I never attained a degree since as a personal trainer, you typically get a certification and continue with C.E.U.'s (continuing education units) each year. I did, however, study business management, worked my way to the top of my field, and also ran two different (very small) businesses of my own. I continued to study physics off and on as time allowed, but didn't realize until recently that it is my calling. I know without a doubt that I want to be involved in physics research and possibly teach as a college professor as well. I have never been so passionate about anything in my life. However, I am discouraged by the fact that many of the most well recognized physicists knew this was their calling ever since they were children. Though I have always scored in the top 99% on aptitude tests, I still feel like it isn't enough; I feel like I wasted so many years not pursuing what I should have because life got in the way of my vision. To make matters worse, it seems like colleges favor the younger students. Financial assistance is much harder to receive as an adult, which makes it very difficult for me to juggle a full-time college schedule (I want to have my PhD before I'm 45), extracurriculars, co-ops, and still work enough to support the family. In addition, though I am not 100% certain on this as the information is conflicting, most sources seem to indicate that the younger students have a better chance at getting into the top schools. Now, I can't go back in time yet because I haven't developed time travel (I kid, or maybe not). However, I am just looking for some honest feedback. Has there been well known physicists who were late bloomers? Do I still have a chance to get into colleges like M.I.T. or Caltech? I have extremely high aspirations for myself, but after reading some biographies of some of the most well known physicists, I am feeling very disheartened. It's not that I have any doubt in my abilities. It's just that I have doubts that I will be able to catch up within my lifetime to be among the best in my field. I would appreciate any feedback any of you can give. Oh, and thanks for taking the time to read all of this, I sincerely appreciate it.