I'm a senior undergrad at a top-ish(say, top 15) math school. I'm a solid, not stellar, student. This year I'm taking the qualifying exam grad courses in algebra and analysis and have been taken aback by the "pressure cooker" atmosphere among grad students here. That is, even moreso than in the undergraduate program.
If I'm self driven, could going to a "less prestigious" school afford me more space(I mean in a psychological sense) to produce a more solid contribution to math? By "less prestigious", I mean a school "ranked" significantly lower than the range of schools that I could comfortably get into. For me, "less prestigious" would be ranked around 40-60 on, say, USNews or NRC.
My reasoning is that at such a school, I would be more able to learn the fundamentals at my own pace, as opposed to a pace dictated to me by the program. I know I want to do math, and I think my learning style may be better suited to going at my own pace. Thoughts?