Hello all. I'm an 18 year old high school graduate going into university next year. I consider myself to be a longtime lurker of these forums, and cannot say how grateful I am to have stumbled upon them. The breadth of the quality of people and knowledge on this forum is quite admirable. Before I get into the specifics of my current situation, I think a little background information about myself is necessary. I don't think I define myself as specifically a math and science person. I say this in reference to a sort of mold I expect "math and science" people to fit. Granted, I know stereotyping is a rather superficial and ignorant thing to do, but I cannot help but feel that because I have not met the prerequisites, so to speak, of what a math and science person should be like, I can thus never hope to become as accomplished as someone who has a certain natural flair or insatiable curiousity to achieve in math and science. The people I am talking about are the seeming prodigies. I think we all remember them , either through our own experiences as grade school students or through books that we've read. The kids who get first place at math competitions. Who make chem olympiads. Who make IMO and USAMO annually. Perhaps my usage of the word prodigy is misplaced with regard to these competitions, as many would argue that the amount of work put into preparing for these competitions is more important than one's natural, unalterable intelligence. That may be the case, but I cannot help but wonder, as I am sure other young students in my position have, about the relationship between intelligence and existential purpose. How are these things intertwined? Well, it seems to me that although the capabilities of one's fixed intelligence can be maximized, the point that intelligence is indeed fixed and unalterable is in fact somewhat of a limiting and rather repressive thought. How can I, a mere high school graduate, possibly hope to make any new, meaningful contributions in any field? I am aware of my own intellectual curiousity, but why act on this curiousity when I seemingly don't posess the ability to just "see" the answer rather than work it through using brute force? I've pondered these questions and tangential ones as well for quite a while now, and I'll admit that the effects of these thoughts have led to somewhat of a depressive paralysis where I've been afraid to putting effort into my studies in fear of discovering I cannot just "see" the answer. Really stupid, I know, but now I am paying the price for this mentality as I was rejected/waitlisted from almost all top-tier universities. It hurts, to consider in retrospect, how my laziness and fears were able to so pervasivally eviscerate any motivation to study. However, I'll be going to the University of Florida next fall where I've declared my major preliminarily as chemical engineering. My specific questions regarding this decision are as follows: -By selecting chemical engineering, am I eliminating any possibilities from studying mathematics or physics in graduate school? My parents had a significant influence in my decision to take ChemE: they said that UF's chemistry departement is quite strong, and the engineering degree will help me in the long run not only for graduate school but also for job opportunities. (Would fields such as alternative energy research be interested in chemical engineers, if I indeed go to graduade school and eventually attempt to earn a phd?) However, the idea of studying theoretical physics and mathematics is somehow much more romantic to me, but then again I may simply have idealized view of what it means to be a physcist or mathematician. I may also double major in philosophy, since I enjoy it very much as well (it's actually more romantic to me than being a physcist or mathematician haha). Also, if anyone has any thoughts how how to overcome self-doubt and depression, I would greatly appreciate that as well. Perhaps this is not the appropriate sub-forum for that topic though.