Hi there, it seems that there are some good physicists and also some good people around here, so I'm just gonna try this. This is going to be a bit long, so maybe just browse over it, if you feel like helping. It is the story of my "career" as a physicist so far. I have a bachelor's degree in physics from a German university and I actually did quite well during my studies there. However, when it came to writing my bachelor's thesis, things went south. My original goal was to understand, as in really understand, quantum mechanics and while I have gained a lot of insight, I still couldn't explain to my grandma what spin or what a particle actually is without either resorting to half-truths or speculation. Anyhow, so I went to this one professor who was supposed to be doing research in quantisation and asked him whether I could write a thesis on geometric quantisation. Quantisation seemed to be a fishy thing when we had it in quantum mechanics, so I wanted to take a peek. He said yes and it actually turned out to be one of the standard topics he was giving out. At that time my knowledge of geometry and topology was rather limited. I didn't know him at all at that point and he said that he would like to have me working mostly on my own, which I took a bit too literal, I must confess. So I started reading the book he was referring me to and at first I didn't understand a single sentence. After reading up a bit on general manifold theory and symplectic geometry, I was actually able to understand what was going on, even though I sometimes needed half an hour to understand a single sentence. When it came to the part I was supposed to write about, I had a good, though not fundamental, idea of what was going on and I found an error in the book, which was one of the main motivators for something called "metaplectic correction". So I wrote my second supervisor about this and he was saying some things, which turned out to be not very sensible. I then started to question what they were doing and why, and played the skeptic. Without going too much into detail, what I figured out was that they knew what they were starting out with and what they had to get to, so all they tried was trying to find a sequence of ad-hoc steps to get to the desired result. There was no real physics behind, just mathematical playing around. It seems to me that we never actually understood what was going on this tiny scale and we were just looking for mathematical structures that seemed to reasonably model what is going on without actually knowing what is going on. I find this incredibly unsatisfactory - as opposed to putting in clear cut principles and then using the math to understand the physics behind, one just uses the math without having any idea what is actually going on. I know the quantum world is fundamentally different from our macroscopic world, but that doesn't mean it doesn't admit a clear-cut realist interpretation leading the path to an actual understanding what is going on. It seems like physicists have just given up on this. For this reason, so I believe, we look at this in the wrong direction. We shouldn't start out with a classical description (which is based on principles that directly contradict the few quantum principles we know) and then find one or more corresponding quantum descriptions. We should start with reasonable ("new") principles and see whether we can use these to account for the effects we observe. This was the first time I denounced a scientific concept. Anyhow, I couldn't support what they were doing there so I just restricted myself to the classical part of the thesis. Obviously, my professor didn't like that at all and when I told him that it is the wavelike-behavior with which one can already do a lot of physics (e.g. derive the Schrödinger equation), he lost his temper and became very patronizing. I remained respectful and polite, but I haven't talked to him since and any attempt in doing so failed. Anyhow, I then went on to continue my studies in theoretical physics at another university in the Netherlands. So when I started grad school, the first semester we had to dive into quantum field theory. I understood why they were doing what they were doing, where all the equations came from, but a) I was bored by these endless calculations without actually knowing what was going on physically and b) I didn't really believe in what they were doing. Don't get me wrong, I know QED for example is really well tested and stuff, but there's so many ad-hoc assumptions, guessed equations and conceptual problems that I just didn't know what was right and what was wrong anymore. Even worse, they actually quantized a second time! I consider it close to a miracle that they actually made it work and I find it very impressive, but what I was looking for was a coherent, clear theory - like GR. I wanted to understand on a fundamental, everyday language level what was going on and when I saw what they were doing in renormalization I started to denounce the entire thing. I said to myself "until and here and no further", applied to the mathematics master and didn't even bother to show up to the exam. I talked to the QFT professor and while he was rather helpful and kind, he couldn't help me with my further path. They did admit me to the mathematics master. Moreover, I didn't really like the GR course at my current university, because they didn't treat stuff in the language of modern differential geometry and also because my mathematical maturity was not developed enough to translate everything into a formal mathematical language. I prefer to really understand the math first and then dive into the physics, but the physics courses here are designed to make you understand enough math to apply it and then they make you calculate loads and loads of examples just for the sake of making you calculate stuff faster. I felt like an inferior form of a computer algebra system and it seemed like "shut up and calculate" was the main message we were supposed to get. I do not think this is the way physics should be. The lack of mathematical rigor and non-well-definedness of some of the concepts really gave me the rest. So, currently I study mathematics and while I find what I learn here a lot more interesting and useful, it lacks what I was actually looking for: Trying to understand what this world around us is and how it works. I believe I could get the master's degree with my abilities, but my situation for this at the moment is far from optimal. This is because I have trouble making new friends and I have been feeling incredibly lonely and I feel separated from my peers because of the political and scientific views I hold. I have been diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder and related to that I suffer from depressive episodes. I am about to start treatment, but I don't want to do their drugs (they have horrible side-effects!), don't really think they can help me and I am afraid that if I tell them what I think about all day (spacetime geometry) they'll label me totally nuts. I really like physics and I am very interested in it, but the direction of my own questions is orthogonal to the direction my lectures took. I also believe that I am good at it and that I could actually figure something out, but I know that I need independent guidance and honest discussions with physicists about my ideas to get there. Do you have any good advice for me?