I have come to realize that little of my actual learning takes place in the lecture hall. In my humble opinion, I would get much more out of school if the curriculum put less emphasis on PowerPoint presentations during the first few years, but thankfully there are numerous outlets for learning. The beauty of lifelong learning is that you never know when and from where the next lesson will come. Ben, one of my best friends in college and former roommate of three years texted me the other day with the following question:
Which of the following animals has no pleural space?
A. Elephant B. Giraffe C. Vampire bat D. Etruscan pygmy shrew
Ben studies human medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. So what was he doing texting me about the unusual case of the elephant? It turns out that it was covered in one of his med school classes! He, too, loves learning about animals and likes sharing tidbits that come up in his classes. (For those readers interested, the elephant is the “odd man out,” or “odd animal out.” Elephants lack pleural space and instead have connective tissue surrounding their lungs, which helps them “snorkel” under the water when their bodies are completely submerged save for their trunks. The absence of a pleural space and thick connective tissue in its stead is an adaptation for elephants to withstand the immense transmural pressure of up to 150 mm Hg and protect the pleural microvessels that would otherwise be compromised.)
You never know who will teach you your next lesson, but make sure to be open to receiving it wherever you are and not necessarily in class!