I could feel the blood pulsating through my vessels as it rushed into my face. I could hear my heart beating in my ear faster and my breathing increase with every step as I got closer. It was almost as if the world was moving in slow motion around me. I pinched myself. It was finally happening. The dream I dreamt for years was finally manifesting into reality. All the hard work I dedicated, every time I chose to study over going out with my friends, every exam I stressed over even in my dreams finally paid off. I was finally in medical school, walking to my first day of Anatomy class.
Anatomy is a unique experience to say the least. On my first day, we all walked in the room and sat with our designated groups, waiting for further instructions. Before we could even start to get acquainted with each other, we were greeted by a man. He was small in stature but was impressive in charisma. Dr. Kwasigroch (better known as Dr. Kwas) walked in wearing an electrifying seer sucker suit, but even more intriguing was his shoes. The way he dressed was admirable, but what was more significant was his gift of teaching. In Anatomy, we had a total of three teachers in addition to a variety of medical doctors to assist us in understanding particular aspects of the human body. We were about to dive head first into the understanding of nature’s most precious work of art. The flipped classroom (watching the lectures at home before class) took some time to get used to. In the most literal way, your education was in your hands. Getting overwhelmed was inevitable, and the only way to avoid this overwhelming feeling was to not fall behind.
One of my most memorable days was the first day in Anatomy lab. I changed into my scrubs, pulled my hair back, and tried to prepare myself for what I was about to witness. I opened the big heavy doors separating the dead from the living. The cold breeze caressed my skin and sent a shiver down my spine. Formaldehyde filled the air as it grasped onto the intricate fibers of my clothes like a constant reminder of the responsibility and privilege weighing heavily on my shoulders. Pulling open the cold, tin drawers, we saw the pale white sheets laying so delicately on his body. We uncovered him. I remember crumbling under the weight of what this meant. He was a man—a man I am sure had hopes and dreams, a man who belonged to a family who probably loved him. Even though he was a man I never met or knew anything about, he deemed me worthy to understand the most venerable part of his being. He generously gave me the opportunity to learn the wonders of the human body. He provided me with the most valuable gift— his body.
Now that I have moved on from this part of my education, I feel a sense of urgency to strive for more. I have now accomplished the first step in a myriad of steps to come. Even though it’s not much, slow and steady always win the race. I intend to win the race.