Editor’s note: This article was originally published here by contributing writer Samantha Margulies.
I have seen dead bodies before. Two of my grandparents had open caskets. I have previously visited two cadaver labs–once during a medical school tour and once visiting a friend at medical school.
Similar to seeing my grandparents, I feel a pull into the lab to see the cadaver I will soon dissect.
The entire class of 2016 walks into the gross anatomy lab after watching a video featuring upperclassmen talking about their dissections and respecting the donated bodies.
Many metal containers on tables.
Looking around at my new environment, I walk past a few numbered metal containers. Anticipating … everything.
I look for my assigned metal box. All the way in the back. Good luck hearing the professor talk.
As my lab group circles around the metal case, we wonder.
Boy or girl?
As if one of us were pregnant and revealing the sex of the baby, we take sides. I thought male–no reason in particular.
As the professor explains some procedural information, I try my best to listen despite our table’s spot in the room. Unable to catch a glimpse of the professor above the heads of my peers, I decide to observe everyone else looking at either the professor or their respective metal boxes.
Without a large plastic tub at the end of the table, our cadaver’s family does not want the dissected remains. Perhaps memories are enough. I contemplate this as our instructor allows us to open the metal cases.
The cadaver is lying face down.
We could not tell. Either way, this person would become one of my most useful resources, an irreplaceable study buddy.
Half of each lab group would begin dissecting.
With a lingering scent of formaldehyde, I walk out of the room, returning to my locker.
Let me now continue my hours of studying.