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[some of the things I say may sound like bragging. I do not mean to brag! I mean, I'm 27 frickn' years old--I've wasted a whole lot of time--so I know my place]

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First off, I dropped out of highschool when I was 16. The reasons are complicated, but they had absolutely nothing to do with academic ability. When I was 22 I decided that I needed to use my brains in whatever career I choose, so I taught myself algebra, trig, and some calculus. In 2004 I took the SAT and scored 1500; 720 on math 780 verbal (My verbal ability comes naturally, my math came through work). I went to a local community college where I took Calc I, Calc II, Physics I (basic mechanics) , and Linear Algebra. I have scored A's in every class I have taken (including non-science/math classes).

I have developed something of a passion for pure mathematics. While most students in my calculus classes were just concerned with their grades, I was supplementing my learning by reading books on real analysis, history of mathematics, and mathematical proof. I also really enjoyed the Physics course and supplemented it by reading some of Feynman's lectures on physics. But there is something about pure mathematics that draws me. The letters QED have, at times, given me goose-pimples.

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O.K. With that out of the way, I would like to ask for some help.

To whom, or to what resources, could I turn to for advice in my rather peculiar situation? The counselors at my community college are friendly, but I don't feel that I am getting advice that is best suited to my circumstances.

Above all I want to choose a career path that is imaginative. But at the same time I don't want to make the mistake of being impractical. The idea of getting a PhD in pure mathematics, although enticing, seems ridiculously impractical at my age (If I was rich, I'd do it anyway... But I'm not rich! )

Arghh... To be honest I'm so confused and panicked about my age, that it's hard to think of the right questions! What can I do to get some focus?