I absolutely love TA-ing! There’s just something about it — dropping by from table to table, talking to students and fellow TAs, explaining things, and helping people out — that’s so fun and intellectually rewarding. There’s also something very satisfying about reviewing all that material that I learned last semester — brachial plexus nerves and the muscles they innervate, clinical symptoms of the upper limb nerve injuries, blood vessels… The second time around, I now feel much more comfortable and fluent with the language of anatomy.
Last Saturday night, several other TAs and I came into the lab to do some dissection on the bodies in preparation for setting up the mock exam for the Anatomy students the morning after. As I surfaced the parts of the anatomical snuffbox from the hand, I was reminded of how much I loved dissection. Already familiar with the scalpel, it was relaxing, sitting back and scraping away at fascia, focusing on making a clean and beautiful dissection and nothing more. I already had the map of the body in my head and knew what to look for. Before I realized it, an hour and a half flew by. Dissecting seems much more relaxing than sitting on the beach outside.
I’m not getting a grade for being a TA, nor is it really required that I TA. Perhaps it is this absence of stress over the thought of some pending exam or deadlines for finishing dissections that makes me truly enjoy anatomy. Although I only have to commit one hour per week to the anatomy lab, I find it so unsettling to just go for such a short time. I find myself staying longer, returning to the lab day after day. And before I even finished my second week as TA, I’ve already accumulated 9.5 extra hours in the lab. The problem now is, that’s 9.5 extra hours that could have gone into studying. Some people have an alcohol problem, and for others, it is gambling… did I just get hooked onto a new addiction?