A Word About Gross Anatomy Lab

Get a Cheap Pair of Sneakers

Get a cheap pair of sneakers and a couple of pairs of cheap scrubs for anatomy lab. The smell gets everywhere. I’d even consider showering and changing in the Student Exercise Room before going home. Also, you and your tank partners should invest in one Dissector (the book which describes the dissection procedure) and one Atlas to use in the anatomy lab. You do not want anything that was in the lab laying on a cadaver or splashed with juice anywhere near your locker or your home.

You certainly do not want to study in the library or your kitchen with a contaminated atlas. Talk about gross. Some people kept them in a plastic bag in the tank with their cadaver.

Oh, and get a turkey baster. Trust me. It will come in handy draining body cavities.I can’t give you any good advice about lab other than that.

I hated gross lab and was something of a slacker. Since attendance at lab was not enforced let’s just say that I never spent more time in lab then I had to and stopped going completely in October of second year. (Since our curriculum was organ system based, we had a brief introductory course in first semester and then have a couple of days in the lab for every organ system for first and second year.)

Some people have a lot of anxiety over gross lab. For most of us, this is the first time that we are not only exposed to death but are intimate with it. I think everybody worries about how they will respond, whether they will be able to control their revulsion. Don’t sweat it. I had the same feelings. After five minutes with your cadaver the novelty will wear off and it will feel perfectly normal. After about half an hour you will probably start getting hungry because, like most people on their first day of lab, you may have decided to skip breakfast.

After a few days of lab you will find yourself carrying on perfectly normal conversations while casually leaning on the dead body or absent-mindedly picking at some exposed muscle. Eventually you will dread lab, not from some fear of the dead but because it can be dreadfully boring. The only thing that bothered me even a little was sawing the skull in half for the neuroscience course. That was kind of wierd. Oh and looking at the sludge that collects under the body. The funny thing is that after a while, your cadaver will look like old, crow-eaten road kill. I kid you not.