After a two-week break, I’m back in the swing of things. I am on the fast track here at NUHS because I want to earn my degree in 10 trimesters. The tradeoff to earning my degree on the fast track is the amount credits each trimester. The course load is overwhelming at times but nobody said becoming a doctor was going to be easy.
I am happy to be back in Florida since I missed my fellow doctors in training. Unfortunately, I am not looking forward to getting back to work (not school work… retail work). I am currently a sales associate at a local department store, I work about 15 to 20 hours a week, which can be a lot when you are in such a rigorous program. Hopefully I get some time off soon so I can head down to the beach for some Frisbee and volleyball.
This first week of school here is not your typical first week of school; we dove right in to learning new material day one in every class! Thankfully the class sizes at NUHS Florida are small so it is much easier to keep up. It has only been three days and I already have plenty of new material to study. I was expecting this trimester to be similar to the previous trimester but I am already astounded by what happened today.
Allow me to fill in some details! This trimester is dominated by neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and head & neck anatomy. Thankfully I took anatomy and physiology in undergrad so I am hoping that helps me a little bit this trimester. For every anatomy class we have a cadaver lab, which is one of my favorite parts about the curriculum. It seems intimidating at first but after today, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.
After lecture we all ate lunch and changed into our scrubs because we had lab for head and neck anatomy today. We started lab by studying models. My classmates and I were doing our best to commit the muscles and nerves of the face to memory. Soon after working with the models, we began working on the cadavers. What happened next was incredible… we removed the brain.
Each of us did something that many people will never do in their entire lives; we each held a human brain in our own hands. At first I was scared and didn’t know what to think, but soon after I was struck with amazement. I was holding someone’s life, their very existence in my hands. Every breath, every sight, every sound, every memory, and every thought this person ever had, was in my hands. It was a humbling experience and even though it was a short period of time, that memory I made will last a lifetime.
We identified a few structures on the brain prior to cleaning up, but with the first step complete we have the rest of the trimester to identify the many specific structures of the brain. It has been two hours and I am still sort of shocked especially since I didn’t know that was the plan for today. Usually when I work on cadavers, I emotionally detach myself from the situation to make it easier to work on, but today I fully embraced the human element. It was a reminder that we aren’t working on models, they were people who gave their bodies so that I could learn and use the knowledge I obtain to help my future patients. Words really can’t express how I feel at the moment but “humble” and “thankful” might be a good start.
I will learn a lot from the cadaver labs and I will be eternally grateful to those who allowed me the opportunity to have such a tremendous experience by donating their bodies to science.
If you have any questions feel free to email me at [email protected].