This is the final part of the story of someone who has NOT followed in her parents' footsteps. At times, she seems to regret not having done so. Here is how she feels:
"I wonder what being a doctor would have been like. If only so at parties I could receive admiration and respect, instead of being regarded as uninspiring and unimaginative."
I have no problem understanding the meaning of the sentence in general. However, from a grammatical point of view, I can't clearly figure out how those bold parts work and what exactly they mean.
Does would have been like refer to the third conditional clause? and what if only so mean?