Before you start reading this post, let me get one thing in the clear; no matter what, i will continue to study mathematics - let it be either a hobby or profession, its in my blood, and i am not going to quit :) Now im a norwegian gymnasium student on 2nd year (i think it is compareable to HS, i'm not certain though), and i am really fond of mathematics, and to some extent physics. My career dream is an academic career in the field of mathematics. I hope to get a phd and get into mathematical research, in some way or another. I just have a few problems, that may complicate or even block the road to this goal. My ideal career path looks something like this; Main interest is math, but i am planning to study physics besides it, since its my other great passion, although not quite as strong as math. bachelor's math --> masters math --> phd math --> research math (hopefully as a professor lol :) But - i am worried that i will be hindered by intellectual capability. See the weird thing is, that (and i hope this doesnt sound wrong..) i am considered a near-genius by my peers. My classmates (science-oriented math/phys HS program) consider me a genius, but i think that's due to their own mathematical capabilites, which aren't very good. My teacher on the other hand, whom i actually consider a very "smart" Gymnasium teacher comp. to the norm, thinks that i am somewhat of a mathematical genius as well... He says, and i dont quite believe it, that i am the strongest mathematical student he has seen in his approx. 15 years of teaching. This may all sound rather nice, but the issue is; the numbers say, that its not enough to get my optimum career path. I haven't really cared much about my own intellectual capability up until now, i've basically just had fun deriving, proving and studying math, since especially inventing formulas and proving things are my great interests. It's also something i do in the class hours, since i haven't learned anything from my math classes the past year. I have taught myself the curriculum for A (highest) lvl Gymnasium math, so i can pretty much do what i want in the classes. The issue is just, that my iq is only 130-135ish. This was a bit discouraging as first, since all math phds have in the 145+ region i guess, and succesful mathematicians even more. So even though, when i ask my teacher whether i will be able to complete the uni study his reply is something like:" If you cant, then who can?" it seems that its not enough? My impression from poking around is, that you have to somewhat of a mini-riemann in order to get your math phd. It seems that my determination and hard work, and i am def. willing to work hard, is just not enough. But lets say i work my *** off to keep up with the other guys on the courses, then BARELY make it to my masters, just barely get my phd from working 25h/day when the other guys ace it from 2h of work per day, then i obviously will be out of a job when i have finally gotten my degrees - and that is, if i don't flunk out due to the material being too complicated .. Obviously i won't be able to get any job, since all the other phd students will be better mathematicians than me, since i am not intelligent compared to the general scientist. They will get all the jobs because they have better qualifications, they will publish all the research, and i would have spend 7-8 years of my life doing something i really enjoy, but i won't be able to feed myself... So maybe i put my ambitions too high? I have all the drive in the world, but thats not enough. Perhaps i should instead aim for an easier degree (bachelors), get a job, and then practice the math i want to in my spare time - as a hobby mathematician :). Of course this will not be as satisfying as working in academia doing real research, but if i would fail at around year 4-5 anyway, not being smart enough to get my masters degree, then i might aswell go for something realistic - and i would still be able to practice math, just because i like it :) Im just a bit worried i won't be able to get a research position - how am i suppose to produce original research, when i can only prove easy number traits in real analysis? I am not a genius, and solutions to very complex problems do not just pop up in my head :) It is actually a bit unfair that you have to be a genius to make your way in math and to be competetive, but the same does not apply for doctors. Not saying they are not smart, it is just not the same. I soon have to choose what i wanna do after gymnasium, since i only have 1 year left here. What do you guys recommend? Even though i want to practice pure math, maybe i should aim a bit lower than my precious research position (bachelor's?), so i am more sure of being able to complete the degree. Then i could work in industry, and practice math as a hobby? Thx for reading this very long post /the confused ..