Sharing news and commentary about education, careers, investing, and life.

Sharing news and commentary about education, careers, investing, and life.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Augusta Views: Reflections on Anatomy

This past Monday, my lab group did our last dissection together in Gross Anatomy, and I found myself less ecstatic than I expected to be at that moment.

A little background: I've spent the semester declaring my undying hatred for the entire subject of Gross Anatomy. This is the first (maybe second) time in my life that I have truly despised an academic course. Thus, you can see how I'm a bit perplexed. The other course that I detested with all my might was Comparative Vertebrate Morphology in undergrad. Thinking back, I actually enjoyed the subject matter, but could not resolve my immense frustration with the way it was delivered & tested. To some extent, I believe that my issues with Anatomy were the same. It's not that I didn't like learning about the human body and how all the parts fit together. (After all, I am in medical school, so I should have some interest in the matter or else I've got a problem!) No, instead I think that I was again frustrated with the manner in which the material was taught.

So why wasn't I jumping for joy on Monday morning? Why did I linger a little wondering if there was any more to be done?

The answer, I feel, is a good learning opportunity for all those who have found themselves positively miserable with a class.

I had learned to appreciate the subject and that the way it's taught is the only way to teach it properly. I came to understand the excitement of searching for a particular structure and then finding it (hopefully) intact! I realized that actually seeing the muscles and tugging them to see their action helped me to remember their origins and insertions. Knowing the physical location of a nerve aided my understanding of the clinical significance of its injury. It's really elegant, the human body. Everything comes together so neatly and without excess or unnecessary bits. (Yeah, okay, the coccygeus muscle doesn't actually wag our nonexistent tail like it "should," but it's still pretty helpful as part of the pelvic wall.)

On to the lesson! Just because a course starts out as painful and seemingly without redeeming characteristics, doesn't mean that it should be written off and/or ignored. Too often, such classes turn out to be interesting & enlightening, not to mention important for one's education! I made the mistake of skipping Comparative Vertebrate Morphology 98% percent of the time, and my grade suffered severely for it. Not only that, I missed out on potentially exciting new knowledge, which is the true tragedy. Contrastingly, I stuck with Anatomy (not always by choice, but still), learned quite a bit, and even managed a couple of A's!

Don't wait to be pleasantly surprised that you've come to like a class you hated. Start looking for the good things in every learning opportunity life offers. That's all class is, by the way, an opportunity to increase your knowledge (and subsequently wisdom), so take it! And believe me, if I can come through Gross Anatomy with a positive attitude, Algebra can be tackled. It has no olfactory involvement!

Now that I feel sufficiently like a motivational poster, I'll be done! Not that there's anything wrong with motivational posters or anything...



Anonymous said...

missing out on knowledge is a great tragedy, I agree fully with you. Great insights!! -rc

Kathryn Wehunt said...

I remember the comment you made after your first week of med school. "It's only ONE semester! I can get through ONE semester of Anatomy!" I also remember the phone calls home.....the rants and the tears....and the temptation to quit. But, like the "little engine that could" you persevered. With experience comes (hopefully) wisdom and now
you appreciate and understand the human body in a way not otherwise possible. You have always had an insatiable appetite for learning, but coupled with your desire to serve your fellow man, your light is shining and will be far-reaching, my dear! I am extremely grateful that you are my daughter and I learn from your example daily! I look forward to each step of this crazy journey called life not only through my own experiences, but also through yours! Life with you has never been boring and I have been richly blessed by being your mom. You never cease to amaze! Keep up the good work! I love you.

Anonymous said...

It's like hiiting your thumb with a's feels OH SO GOOD when it stops hurting! You learn quickly to try to not do it again. But if you continue to use a hammer, it will probably happen on occasion.

Becca Wehunt said...

Yay for comments! Thanks y'all!

By the way, don't I have the bestest Mom ever? :-)

And I love the hammer's oh so true!