Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Beast that is Anatomy

Just a short list of some anatomy flashcards that I have made so far this week.
I am only making flashcards of the barest essentials for Anatomy. Otherwise, I'd never have enough time to actually study any of them...

Anatomy is easily the most intense class of the first semester at MSU CHM. It's a six-credit course with multiple two-hour sections of lab (one to three lab sections per week, most weeks having just two) each week. The pace is faster than any class I've ever taken, and I'm still trying to figure out ways to keep up with everything. Right now it seems like every person I talk to is either behind or getting behind. Weekends look like they're going to be our saving graces. In all premed classes, you would only have lecture every other day, giving you time to study before getting new material. Now, we have lecture for four hours every morning, sometimes doubling up on a subject. For example, we might have one hour of Physiology, one hour of Biochemistry, then two hours of Anatomy.

Don't get me wrong - I am loving how much I am learning. I would never have thought it possible to learn as much as I have in such a short period of time. I don't do much other than go to lectures, eat, sleep, and study - but I am learning so much! Anatomy lab was a lot of fun the other day because I prepared well beforehand, so it wasn't as stressful to find all the objectives. Actually, let me explain that really quickly.

In anatomy lab, we are given several pages of objectives for each official lab period. Basically, these are structures that we have to find and take notes on or describe. There are also a lot of supporting questions designed to further our retention of the anatomy that we are studying. The bodies are arranged in two rows that run the length of the room, and they remain covered to prevent excessive drying when not being actively studied by students. The bodies have been dissected beforehand to different degrees and in different positions to facilitate viewing certain structures in certain bodies. For example, one body might be deeply dissected and in the supine (face-up) position to facilitate viewing the anterior portion of the spinal cord. Or, a body might be in the prone (face-down) position with only the external skin and fascia removed so as to allow students to view the extrinsic (and maybe some intrinsic) back muscles.

A lot of the lab objectives can be completed before going in to lab. Many questions are things that can be looked up in anatomy atlases ("The nerves extending from which thoracic vertebrae innervate the iliocostalis muscle? The splenius capitis? Multifidus and rotatores?" or "What are the inferior and superior points of attachment for the semispinalis muscles, and what type of action do they cause when contracting unilaterally?") and written in beforehand, leaving me free to roam about the lab and find all the structures on my lists.

Anatomy is a completely different experience, both in lecture and in lab. Nothing is graded aside from quizzes and exams - which means no lab reports! However, this actually makes it that much more important that I stay committed to doing everything. There's no way to know what's going to be on the next lab quiz or exam, so it's important to learn it all...

Speaking of which, I've been writing more than I expected already, and I still have several hours' worth of lecture slides and prelab pages to go through in preparation for tomorrow... Oh, for the days when sleep didn't come at a premium! Don't worry though - I'm loving it as much or more than any of my fellow classmates, which is (in my book) a very good sign! :)

3 comments:

Nicole said...

You can do it! I'm soooo glad we invested in the iPad and Mental Case for your notecards...

Susan said...

It's so cool to hear how you're loving the learning! Great to read your post! Keep it up... Can you believe you're already finishing up the second week of school!!

elisabeth said...

I'm loving Mental Case! Thanks for writing about your iPad and the apps you use.. it was a major influence on getting mine, and it's made a huge difference in my studying. Keep it up in anatomy.. so daunting, but fun, nonetheless!

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