Given Harvard's premium branding and strong financial resources, it tends to be a risk-taker. So it really should be no surprise that someone who had been turned down by 19 other medical schools was accepted by Harvard Medical School. Therefore, unhappy lawyers who yearn to veer over into the medical-doctor career path might apply to Harvard.
A funny, well-written book tells the tale of how Mark Vonnegut pulled that off. The book is "Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So" and here you can order it from Amazon.
Vonnegut had endured three severe psychotic breaks. But he bounced back. His undergraduate GPA in math and science was under 2.0. And he was heading toward age 30. Like his famous father Kurt, he had had some success getting published as a writer.
Yet, he heard this voice inside him, and it wasn't one of the unauthorized ones which precipitated his breakdowns, that he would be happy practicing medicine. He went back to school for pre-med courses and aced them. His MCAT score was very good. Intuitively, he knew what hand to play in his written application and in-person interview.
As anyone, including myself, who's been admitted to any school at Harvard recognizes, atypical seems to contribute extra points to the admission score. The differentiation Vonnegut had going for him included:
- His history of both mental illness and recovery
- Being published
- Famous father
- Older than most other applicants.
After he got in, he did fine academically and clinically, almost effortlessly. The only thorn in his side was the grousing of alumni that he was allowed entrance and their better-qualified family members and friends weren't. Therefore, he decided he had to lay low. That included not writing anything for publication for decades.
After he started practicing medicine and being hailed in Boston Magazine as the best baby doctor in the area, he did have a fourth psychotic break. But he, again, bounced back. Only not as easily as before. And this time, since he had joined the establishment, there were more consequences.
Even unhappy lawyers who aren't considering medical school would find "Just Like Someone" an uplifting read. The optimism about figuring as graceful-as-possible exits from bad things is contagious. Yes, we can put the pieces back together again, only differently than they had been arranged previously.