Hi, I'm a sophomore physics and computer science major. I go to a "well-regarded" university in the top 20 (I'll keep it anonymous unless you guys think details might help), yet I don't feel like the academic experience has been particularly stellar. I loved my freshman multivariable calculus and intro mechanics course, but since then, my linear algebra, Diffeq, and quantum physics courses have been letdowns. I'm majoring in computer science as well, but those courses haven't been particularly special. In terms of grades, I have a 4.0, but I feel like this is a result of the courses being watered down. This semester, I'm currently on a leave of absence from school due to some circumstances. I've been spending some of my time doing research at an observatory near my house, which is going relatively well for a first time research experience. I have a summer research project lined up as well, but my core concern is that I don't feel tremendously good about my problem solving skills, both in depth and in breadth. I don't feel like if you gave me a problem, right now, that I would be able to provide much in the way of insight. Lately I've started to self-study a few courses, namely Mathematics for Computer Science through MIT open course ware. I've also considered spending time preparing for math competitions. I never did much of them in high school, but as I got to college I did some problems here and there with friends and I found it to be a lot of fun. I'm a sophomore without a whole lot right now, apart from grades, but I'd like to be strive to stand out from the pack by building up my problem solving skills one way or another. I have a good bit of time right now, and I'm wondering what I should be dedicating my self-study efforts to. Teaching myself courses (that I'll probably have to repeat once in school. I don't know if they support letting you take grad courses early if you can teach yourself the prerequisites) or trying to focus on competitions like the Putnam? I'd like to get an idea of what's worthwhile, or any other advice you may have. Edit: I forgot to mention my goals. I'm considering physics grad school. But I want to be confident by the time I graduate from college that my problem solving skills are up to snuff, and it doesn't feel like things are on the right track right now.