If you were in my shoes, what would you do?

<p>Hello all,</p>

<p>I have a question regarding graduate school. I will tell my longwinded story, so if you don't want to read, please just skip. I just need something of an "advisor," and I don't know of anyone in a situation similar to mine.</p>

<p>First, my background. I graduated from MIT in June 2010. I received a dual S.B. in Aerospace Engineering and in Physics. While in college, I never determined whether I wanted to enter industry to goto graduate school. Being busy enough with schoolwork, I didn't take enough time to think about it. Schoolwork was fascinating and opened my eyes to many difference fields of study that I had never thought to be interesting before (biology being one of them, I realized how "hard" of a science it could be). An internship in-industry during my post-junior year summer allowed me to realize that industry work was not for me, and that I would not be happy with the majority of engineering related work I could get with only a bachelor's degree. I decided I wanted to go for a Ph.D. or a Masters.</p>

<p>As a result, I applied to three schools my senior year: MIT, CalTech and UMich, all in the field of aerospace engineering. I was not admitted to any of these schools, being offered unfunded masters at UMich which I could not afford. Keep in mind, since I was not intently focused on graduate school during college (or even aware of the expectations, as I had been in high school for college), my GPA was not as high as it could have been (4.6/5.0, whereas most graduate-school focused students probably would not have double majored and would have achieved 4.8 or higher) and I did not have a multi-year research track record with any professor, much less any publications. I also did not have a particular field of interest. At the point of graduation, I was certain that I was more interested in physics than engineering.</p>

<p>Determined to reapply to graduate school, perhaps in physics, with more research experience, I worked in an atomic physics lab at MIT for about 7 months. Since then I reapplied to graduate school (only 4), in the applied science/engineering fields.</p>

<p>I was admitted to the Ph.D. program in mechanical engineering at CMU, with funding, doing computational/theoretical work that was fairly physics-oriented (however, since this is an engineering lab, the work will never be as glamorous as a physics lab ;P) While the lab is fairly new, small, with only a few students, the professor is tenured and has produced successful Ph.Ds.</p>

<p>My question is, should I go? I realize I didn't prepare myself earnestly for grad school, but I always have a lingering feeling that I could or might be able to get into somewhere "better" (of higher prestige I guess). I realize CMU is a great school and a top-notch program, but I'm used to being in a room and realizing that most of the people in there are smarter than I am, and I enjoy that atmosphere. On the other hand, I have already had a year in between now and undergrad, and there is always uncertainty as to where else I could get into. I have visited, but the visit did not sway my opinion in one way or another.</p>

<p>Just some thinking. Any advice would be helpful.</p>