This past week, we had our first anatomy practical exam. Walking into the anatomy lab, it was clear that all the joy that used to exist in the world had been sucked out of the room along with the formalin fumes. The perimeter of the room was lined with stoic-faced, lab-coated zombies waiting to be instructed to assume a seat at various stations set up throughout the space. You could cut the tension with a scalpel blade. Easily.
Anatomy is a subject that, in order to learn, I find you need to let consume you. When I close my eyes at night, my thoughts are no longer restful visions of my mind’s own creation. Instead, visions of osteology and muscles dance through my head. I can’t seem to turn my brain off as it chants: biceps brachii, cleidobrachialis, omotransversarius…origin….insertion…function. But, honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
As we stood in our rubber globes and safety glasses anxiously waiting for our practical to begin, I took a moment to think about the long hours and overall experience that brought me to that moment. Learning anatomy challenges me every day. But at the same time, it brings everything I’m learning together in a comprehensive way. Anatomy is elegant in that way. Difficult? Yes. Intense? Of course. Yet, ever so rewarding. And, at the end of the day, that is what learning is all about.