Cadaver dissection easier than exams

The following story is part two of a three-part series on OCCC’s Human Anatomy course where students are working with human cadavers. Part one of the series ran in the Jan. 30 issue of the Pioneer and can be found online at

I think the most interesting part will be when we get to the brains.”

Eight weeks into the spring semester, Nursing student Johnny Wong said dissecting the six cadavers that were donated for OCCC’s Human Anatomy class remains the most interesting part of the course.

Nursing major Jordan Garner said she feels the same way.

“Dissecting and finding all the muscles and the nerves has been most interesting,” she said. “I’m realizing how much is inside your body and how much is inside just one small space.”

Wong and Garner are two of three students the Pioneer is following this semester as they work their way through the Human Anatomy course.

Wong said he is most excited for the day he literally comes face-to-face with the cadavers.

At this point, he said, the cadavers’ faces are still shrouded. Students won’t actually see the faces until they reach the final unit of the course.

Wong said while working with the cadavers is interesting, it comes with a small price. He said the embalming chemical vapors coming off the body irritate his eyes sometimes.

Garner said she looks forward to working with the cadavers each week. She said she got over the uneasiness of working with human bodies early on in the semester.

“I love the class even though it’s really hard,” she said.

Wong and his classmates said the tests have become far more intimidating than working with dead bodies.

“Yeah, they suck,” he said. “They’re very word-for-word from the lectures.”

He said tests are lengthy and students have to recall an extensive amount of medical terminology.

“The tests are the hardest part.”

Garner agrees.

“There are two different tests,” she said. “We have a lecture test and a lab test.”

Garner said the lab tests have been the most stressful of the two.

“I still get anxious about every lab exam,” she said. “You really need to know everything.”

Wong said the class requires extensive work outside of the cadaver lab as well, an investment of personal time that’s proven too much for many of his peers.

“You might as well just come in every day and just live there,” he said.

“There have been a few students who’ve dropped the class. But not the majority of the class.

“I think they’re dropping because of time management,” he said, “The ones who drop early on, they realize they have to put a lot of time into studying for anatomy and then they drop out because they don’t have that kind of time.”

Premed major Bart Consedine, who initially was in the group being interviewed, is one of those students who dropped. Consedine could not be reached for comment by press time.

Garner said, of the students who have withdrawn from the anatomy course, most had done so in the first two weeks of the semester.

Wong said this is his second attempt at finishing the course, having come within one percentage point of finishing with a passing C last time. He said he expects to finish strong this semester. This is his last remaining class at OCCC before he moves on to the University of Oklahoma.

“I should have spent more time,” he said, “I know people [who] have quit jobs to study anatomy.”

Garner agrees that the only way to succeed in this anatomy course is to dedicate as much time to it as possible.

“Open lab is a really big deal,” she said, “If you can’t make it to open lab, it can really hurt you. It’s really beneficial but there’s a big difference between the people who can go to open lab and go to class all the time and the people who just go to class.

“Class is getting pretty difficult but it’s good,” she said.

Garner said the days the campus was closed for bad weather pushed exam dates back for her class and have added new pressures.

“I wish I could say I was going to relax over spring break but I’ll be studying because we have a test the day we come back,” she said.

Wong said he might study some over the break but said he mainly needs a little time to relax.

He said he just wants to complete the course — the one thing he’s looking forward to more than anything else in this class.

For more information about OCCC’s Cadaver Lab, visit

Look for part three of this series in the May 8 issue of the Pioneer.

To contact Jorge Krzyzaniak, email

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