The First Day

Today was the first day of my first graduate class: Human Functional Neuroanatomy. I am simply blown away. The task set before me is quite daunting. The sheer amount of memorization that I will have to do for this one class is incredible. Also, my grade is only dependent on two tests: mid-term and a final (which is cumulative). That’s it. From a certain perspective, that’s good because I won’t have projects and quizzes and what not along the way. On the other hand, I won’t have anything to bring up my grade should I not do as well as I hoped on the tests. The tests will consist of multiple choice, fill in the blank, and what the professor calls “practicum”, which is slides with pictures and arrows pointing to certain features and I have to write out what it’s pointing at. For instance, there are twelve cranial nerves; I will have to know each of them by memory.

After going over the syllabus, we took a ten minute break and then went right into the first lecture: Neurodevelopment. We looked at how the neural system develops from zygote to a three year old, in a nutshell. We covered basics, and were told repeatedly that we weren’t doing it justice in a small lecture like that. What struck me while listening was how incredibly easy it is for the neural development to go wrong during fetal development. We looked at a broad range of disorders that are caused by bad neural development, most of which looked awful and were quite serious. The most disturbing thing about it was that I was looking at sonograms of and pictures of real children who were inflicted with these disorders.

In a less depressing note, I did enjoy seeing how the separation of sensory and motor nerves form. What struck me about that is how separate they are, with the Basal plate containing primarily motor neurons, and the Alar plate containing primarily sensory neurons. It’s really amazing how separate they are, and it seems to me to be a sign of higher design. Without knowing more specifics, I can’t really back that up, but that’s just my overall impression of it.

Anyway, what a first day! I see now what I’ve gotten myself into, and it’s quite a hole. I think I can dig myself out with hard work and study, which I plan on doing. My goal is to get an A in this class, and I am not going to stop at anything to achieve it. This is my goal, and my resolve is not going to falter, even as I get deeper into the subject matter. We’ll see how I hold up as we go along. Next week’s lecture is on gross anatomy and the meninges. Assigned reading is chapter two in the book, as well as I probably want to look over the slides posted on the course website. After I do my studying for next week’s lecture, I’ll post some thoughts regarding it. I might post something between then, though. It juts depends. By the way, if anyone is reading this, feel free to leave comments, even if it’s just “hey, I read this”. I’d like to know if anyone actually reads this stuff, and what your thoughts are about all I just said. Thanks.

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One Response to “The First Day”

  1. Shelley Says:

    WOW!!! I can’t believe that you are so deep in science and it is only the first day!!! I am amazed at the depth of knowelage you will be gaining…. I guess I can’t make fun of you any more….. Love SHelley

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