>August 27 2001

>Are you kidding me!?! The pace we are on after just four days of class is incredible. Each day it seems you have a huge amount of new material to digest and then the next day they double it. The first few days I have vacillated between feelings of panic and confidence I have a handle on things. If all of my classmates didn’t seem to be in the same boat, I would be worried that I was in over my head, but everyone is fighting the same feelings it seems. And it actually has gotten better now that we have had a weekend to catch up a little.

In Biochemistry we started reviewing some concepts from undergraduate chemistry. Unfortunately I have not had physical chemistry in some 15 years! While many in the class were having trouble with the algebra of solving pH problems, I was struggling to remember how the reactions would go so I could set up my equations. I went from feeling like I had a huge advantage on the mathematically challenged folks around me to realizing that I couldn’t write an equation to solve if I didn’t know which chemical was the acid and which was the base. And some of those pesky compounds can be either! But after a weekend of serious reading, I have my confidence back.

In Gross Anatomy we have already dissected the superficial and the deep back muscles. I know where to find the levator scapulae (my favorite muscle name) and can identify a subcutaneous branch of the dorsal rami of the spinal nerve. Our class is divided into groups of four. I am working with two other guys and a girl. Following an apparent long standing Gross Anatomy tradition, we first had to come up with a name for our cadaver, an elderly white male. We settled on “Rupert.” The professors have really stressed the importance of respecting the dignity of the people who have donated their bodies to science. No longer do most schools accept bodies of indigents and unclaimed corpses. All of the 35 or so cadavers in our lab were donated. Dr. Moore, the head instructor has reminded us that these are not just chunks of flesh to cut up, but the remains of real people. Someone loved them and they loved back. They have given us a great privilege and by the end of the semester we will know things about our cadaver that he never knew himself.

Nobody in our class has freaked out or anything and had to withdraw yet. I always thought the first few days of Anatomy were supposed to chase a few people out, but apparently the admissions committee screened for squeamishness pretty well this year!

We got a few class statistics the other day. We have 107 first year students, 7 of those repeating their first year. 25 different undergraduate institutions are represented with 10 being from in state and 15 out of state including Yale, Notre Dame, and Cornell. Their are 34 females and 73 males, I believe. The youngest is 20 years old and the oldest is 44. Average age is 24.6 and the average MCAT was a 28.3. The class is really diverse and I have met all kinds of interesting folks. One guy has been a catfish farmer for 22 years. There is a girl who played basketball for the University of Memphis. The 20 year-old is a home-schooled wunderkind. And on it goes …

Tonight we had a real nice time at a catfish and chicken buffet dinner at the Ag Museum. The Mississippi Association of Family Practitioners sponsored it and the whole family was invited. There was a clown and face-painting for the kids and a good time was had by all. Unfortunately it took away from study time. I have found that you simply can’t afford to take a night off!

About Marcus Lee

Child Neurologist
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