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December 22, 2016: Anatomy and Physiology

In September, 2015 I signed up for Anatomy and Physiology I. I did this because it was “highly recommended” in the Centered Riding I policy and procedures manual. It was a difficult course, but I learned a great deal about the anatomy of the human brain and the skeletal system. I also learned a great deal about the physiology of the same. I don’t know if I needed to know the latter, but I kept an open mind and kept my nose to the student grindstone.

In January, 2016 I signed up for Anatomy and Physiology II. This time the draw was the respiratory and circulatory systems. Once again, I got bogged down by the physiological aspects of these and other, related systems. Then, when I was three-quarters of the way through the course I had to go to Portland Oregon, where my mother was dying. I thought I’d be there five days. I ended up being there five weeks. It was, upon my return, too long a time to make up for lost time. I came home and dropped the course.

August 2016, at the near last minute Pete asked me if I again wanted to take A & P II. I said yes, for the prospect of getting an even better grasp on the anatomy and physiology of the respiratory system really appealed

to me. I finished this course on December 16, 2016. I had a comprehensive lecture exam on the 15th and the lab practical on the 16th. A & P II, the second time around, turned out to be harder than A & P II the first time around. There were more lab and lecture quizzes and the tests were far harder than previously. I found myself growing increasingly more anxious as the semester progressed – I dealt with this by studying increasingly harder.

I tried to skate by the first three quarters of the third semester, but I had only limited recall of the second semester. But at least there was something. Then it was like the rug was pulled out from under me. The digestive, urinary, fluid, and nutrition systems were primarily physiology based and difficult for me to comprehend. I knew I was in for it when one day the teacher began doing an illustration that included (in the middle) the Krebs Cycle. I had dealt with the Krebs Cycle as an undergraduate and then, not very successfully. What I remembered was that there was once a television show called Dobie Gillis and that his friend, Maynard G. Krebs, was a beatnik. This Krebs had nothing to do with that Krebs.

I floundered like someone who’d fallen through the ice. I upped my study time. I was by the semester’s end, studying eight hours a day. I tired myself out studying and did poorly on both the lab and lecture exams. I will always remember looking at a model of the female reproductive system – parts had been labeled in green, but additionally there were numbered white tags. I got confused as to which tags went with what. The now always there knot in my stomach tightened even further. I forced myself to breathe and in this way calmed myself enough to begin anew.

I did pass. I ended up getting a 90.5 which is a very low A but nevertheless an A. In retrospect what happened was that I lost sight of the fact that I was taking this course to learn something, and that something had nothing to do with getting an almighty A.

But it must be kismet that I got a 90.5. I could have gotten an 89.9 which would have been a B. Had that happened, I would have spent from now until the end of eternity wondering what I’d done wrong study wise. But here’s the catch: I got that A because I knew how to be a student. I had in being in school more than half of my life (give or take a dozen years) learned how to jump through hoops. I did each and every crossword and case study. I also got credit for being in class and answering all the Power Point lecture questions. You didn’t even have to answer them correctly – you just had to answer them. I frequently met with the instructor and went over the test questions that I’d missed. I even went to college min-lectures and got my passport stamped. In the end, I got five points for having attended a lecture on stress, two ti chi classes, a class on cognitive learning, and a class on happiness.

I have since been wondering, was this all a waste of time? I mean, I got increasingly less writing done as time went by. I will never know. I have begun writing about this – I drew upon my experiences in my philosophy of teaching statement for Evergreen College. I already know that I didn’t get the job. My application came in after the deadline. I’d missed the deadline because been too busy studying Anatomy and Physiology. Oh well.

I’m going to continue to write about my experiences in a series of essays entitled Coming Up for Air. This will be a personal account in which I make the connections inherent to horse and human anatomy. At least right now, this is the plan. I am just glad that there is no Anatomy and Physiology III because I’d feel compelled to take it. Yes, there’s a fool born every five seconds and I happen to one of them.

Next: 110. 12/23/16: Online Horse Agility and Honoring Tradition

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