I strongly recommend that Dr. Crockett read the Dec. 9 letter posted at PAW online by Dr. Loren Walensky, who is on a medical school admissions committee (chair of Harvard/MIT M.D.-Ph.D. program admissions) and says they do consider applications holistically.

I salute Dr. Crockett’s persistence in studying Organic Chemistry during the summer, a path that quite a few premeds have taken according to the online letter by Bruce Merrifield ’72.

However, her personal idealism and drive to become a doctor seem somewhat narrow-minded, almost as if it’s the highest calling for every human being. I recommend reading the online letter by Nabarun Dasgupta ’00, who failed Jones's course but reoriented and became an epidemiologist instead of a doctor — and now runs a chemistry lab at UNC.

My classmate Dr. Lyn Sedwick notes in her online letter: “His course didn’t make me a good doctor, but it made me someone who understood that learning facts needs to be coupled with the ability to rework them, and sometimes quickly. This mental facility I see in most good doctors.”

I think that is the point that most people are missing in their cries about fairness and effort. The point isn’t whether Organic Chemistry is essential to becoming a practicing physician; the point is that it trains one’s mind. The NYU misadventure is just more evidence of “customer” mindset: “I paid (or at least got a scholarship) to study at a selective university so I am entitled to the degree.” The purpose of a selective university is to develop your mind with better guidance than at other colleges. Denying the value of its challenge reminds me of the maxim, “You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.”

Martin Schell ’74
Klaten, Central Java