November and the Terrifying Exams

by Dee


Goodness me! It’s nearing the exam weeks. Have I been here that long or is the semester really short? Sheffield can be so grey outside, but in my room, it’s definitely colourful. 

November and Exams
November & Exam

Anything Goes in November

It’s November now, and we’re nearing the end of the semester. Assignments and anatomy exams are in front of my eyes, while I don’t even know I can pass them. No, I don’t aim to excel on each exam. That’s somebody else’s job, not mine. Being a non-native speaker student, I am very much aware of my limitations in academic language. One of the girls once commented that she couldn’t fathom the way non-native students’ brains work because even as a native speaker, she finds it hard to comprehend the materials given to us. 

Well, welcome to the Master’s degree, Dee. This is not a playground anymore. You are not in your home base. Anything goes.

Five days ago, I found out that I flunked my second bone quiz even after studying really hard to memorise all the important landmarks of the bone anatomy. Oh, why is this so hard! It’s not even a language problem. Perhaps I was too nervous to remember everything at once, and when the quiz happened, my brain just shuts down? I don’t know.

All I know is that I have to do better on the third one. Somebody placed a damn sheep bone fragment on the tray too! I realised that this is a trick used to see if we’re able to distinguish faunal bone fragments and non-faunal bone fragments (a.k.a. human). Maybe I thought about Paris trip a little bit too much it became overwhelming, and it overlaps the mandatory reason of why I am here now.

Who would’ve thought that studying about human bones isn’t merely about human bones? There’s whole lotta stuff that intersects with studying human bones. During the past month, my brain is filled with muscles, sinews, tendons, attachment sites, adduction, abduction, flexor, as well as fragments from faunal remains. Will I ever master how to differentiate faunal and non-faunal bones? It’s said that this trick is important to do on the field, on the spot—gosh, do I have what it takes to do all of this on the site?

Failing on my bone quizzes really bugs me to the bones—pun intended. I mean, I have bones, you have bones, we all have bones. Why is it so hard to memorise all of it? For Anatomy, I tried that palpation method in front of the mirror to methods of writing each muscle on myself with a Sharpie. Can’t bother to differentiate the little muscles, although I know my body won’t function correctly if one of them is damaged.

Can you imagine that all of this is only in the first month of schooling? All I know right now is that I need to focus myself on the books and try other methods to stick those muscles names in my brain better. I got over the intrusive smell of the morgue already. I began to get comfortable finding my ways around the slab and the sink and handling the scalpel so that I don’t accidentally cut myself. So, I should be able to absorb the education now better than the first weeks. But why is it hard to be optimistic about this subject? Grr…

Wednesday the 12th of November was Anatomy mid-exam for one full hour. I can’t tell if I did it right or at least passable, so we’ll see. It’s so frustrating, so I decided that I am going to Stonehenge on the 22nd of November with four of my classmates through the Give It A Go program. That should be exciting and perhaps can take my mind off a bit from cold dead bodies. I’ll be sure to write and share something about my trip to Stonehenge because it’s frikkin’ Stonehenge!

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