Due to certain reasons, I don't have the chance for going to college for under-graduation, but that doesn't mean I can't choose to walk the hard path and learn. Over the past month or so a lot of people have asked about resources for physics online or offline, but what I want isn't just the resources, but advice on what to study.
I have taught myself the basic undergrad stuff (essentially classical mechanics and electromagnetism with a bit of modern physics with things like the one dimension time in/dependent Schrödinger wave equation) through a combination of MIT OCW, Giancoli and asking around, but what boggles me is how to proceed ahead. I want to understand things instead of just knowing their names and there is so much to physics beyond this that I don't know where to start.
I'm reaching out like this because I'm hoping that someone will give me a basic idea on where to start tackling these things. For example, I have a deep interest in thermodynamics to learn it what I would love is an answer that actually talks about; what's the next step (or book)? What do you recommend to get a solid grinding for any special math behind it? Any good experiments to actually see what I'm learning? And so on...
I know this might be a tall order, but I just had to ask. I'm sorry if this detracts from the main purpose of this site.
Oh and as far as where my interest lies. Well I just like to create things and what I'm fascinated about is creating systems no matter what form they take.
Update: I know that this question may seem broad and vague, but it's just that I see things in a sort of connected way in my mind. So, although I want to create things and it might appear to be an engineering question it really isn't. I think that traditionally what comprises of engineering is just one view at the same problem. Physics is another. So, if you're wondering what topic to answer on then pick anyone that you know well and you think is connected to the world and helps to expose some of our day to day realities. Things I can use to gain perspective while creating designs. (Particle physics for example, doesn't really make the cut, but fluid dynamics does and so on.)
Update 2: I'm sorry for all of the confusion, but I'm essentially asking how to learn applied physics.