Bipolar, doing better, wanting to get an MBA...
I have bipolar (II) disorder and social anxiety and probably five other things (the therapist and the psychiatrist I currently see are still sorting it out.) I began experiencing symptoms at age 14, was diagnosed at 20 after seriously screwing up during undergrad, spent the better part of a decade floating around, despairing, going crazy, recovering, rinsing, and repeating, and have been stable and under medical supervision for three years. I do require medication, and still have bad days where I'm hopping up and down like crazy or trying desperately to convince myself I don't really want to sleep, but I haven't missed work for my mental illness (other than severe reactions to a new drug) in over a year: not even a "I feel like shopping, so I'll call sick" moment. I'm really really proud of myself for this. I have never had a full-blown manic episode.
I have a good, steady, professional job, and have gotten raises totaling 25% of my original salary since being hired about three years ago. My supervisor loves me, and their
supervisor loves me. That supervisor wants me to get an MBA, and I am assured of at least two if not three really good professional recommendations. Impressive titles and everything.
My undergraduate GPA stinks. I basically have a 3.0 for the main part of my classes, with some failing grades from the term I locked myself in my room for a month and a half, a medical withdrawal, a really prestigious internship, research awards, and several changes of major. I finished most of those classes ten years ago, but only graduated about three years ago (when I finally got my act together - I was 10 credit hours shy of my degree.) Since graduation I've taken ten (online) courses at a local community college, including business/finance/accounting classes, with a 4.0. The heaviest load was 10 quarter credit hours, but that was three classes.
I haven't taken the GMAT yet, but given my SAT/ACT/etc. history I expect to get something in the 680-720 range - maybe higher; I've never been this stable before an exam before.
I intend to enroll in a part-time, "for working professionals" program, that meets twice a week, and takes four years to complete. About 25% of the total tuition/fees will be paid by my employer. I will more or less double my total debt load by the end of it all.
I intend to attend the same school I attended for the bulk of my undergraduate career. They're the highest-ranked business school in the area, I'm already comfortable with the campus, and I'm very pleased with the flexibility of their program as compared with some of the other schools here. They should be able to see lots of really wacky transcript stuff, but I've been told that (unlike the medical center people, who knew how well I was doing at school - they bring up classes I took when I stop by for tests to this day
) they won't be able to see things like reports from my dorm adviser.
My questions are:
If you were an admissions officer, would I seem like an OK enough candidate?
Is there anything else I can do that I haven't already, that would make me seem like a safer bet?
Would it be helpful to insert an additional paragraph, on a separate page, explaining my medical history and how it affected my undergraduate record? This is discussed as an option not on the business school site but rather on the disability services site, where it says you should consider it if your disability impacted your academic record. I did read this
, and I plan to keep this out of my statement of intent.
Are there resources out there for helping bipolar/socially anxious/PTSD students cope, especially in terms of approaching professors and getting needs met without coming off as a needy albatrossy freak? I do intend to register with the disability services office (which I didn't know existed in undergrad, even after the one suicide watch the university put me under,) but they seem to want me to tell them what I need, and, well, I just know that undergrad went badly and online classes ten years later went OK. I don't know what I need, and I'd rather learn by asking than by failing a class or having a breakdown.
(For the concerned: I will be continuing therapy throughout my education, and my therapist supports my desire to go to grad school, as does the employee assistance officer at work. My funding will not depend on me finishing the degree; they'll pay for any courses related to my degree. I'm already in the "for 25 years you pay 10% of your disposable income" plan for my loans anyway.)