Cadaver Lab

So when I was researching OT blogs, I was mainly looking for program specific things, like what a typical day of classes is like, how things are structured, and most of all; what is the anatomy cadaver lab like?? I really didn’t find too many helpful blogs that explained what to really be prepared for on the first day of cadaver lab.

I’m the type of person that likes to know exactly what I’m walking into, and be prepared. I just wanted to know as many specifics as possible, since I was genuinely concerned for that lab portion of anatomy. I had never been around a dead body, even at funerals; so I was super nervous.

I’m writing this post in hopes that someone eventually will come across it with the same concerns I had, and feel somewhat less anxious after reading!

So, we (thankfully) didn’t start our cadaver lab on the first day of anatomy- we went to the lab about 4 weeks later. This was only due to the PT students, who had seniority in the lab (the ot department only got access to it last year) still had classes up until then. I had NO problem having to wait!

The first day we had our lecture, lunch break, then went into the classroom to do a quick power point presentation before we walked over to the Medical School building where the cadaver lab is. We all walk over to the building and everyone is really nervous, but I think that I was the most nervous, and I was totally freaking out! At one point I actually thought I was going to faint, before we even went inside!

So, we finally are about to walk through these double doors into the lab, and I am hyperventilating and so nervous. Once we finally get inside, there were at least 20 metal tables off to the side with body bags on them.  None of us were prepared for that! The smell wasn’t so overpowering which was nice, but it was definitely noticeable!

As we walk more into the lab, past those metal tables, the rest of the room has about 10 more tables, with the cadavers on them, open, and showing different structures. I did not want to get close whatsoever, so I kept some distance, and the professor was extremely understanding of anyone who needed a minute. As things progressed, I got by with the smell being somewhat potent by covering my nose with my lab coat!

Once we rotated around a few different structures, we called it a wrap and washed our hands and left!

I walked into the lab feeling extremely uncomfortable, and fearing I would be the one to faint. I walked out feeling like a real graduate student, confidant that I knew what I was talking about while identifying structures, and feeling much more at ease about being in the lab in general.

We have gone in every class since then, and it still is a little strange, and the smell still sucks haha, but it is MUCH easier to tolerate. All in all, I wouldn’t say it’s a horrible experience, because I definitely have learned a lot more than I had expected. It’s definitely humbling being in there, but also a little strange!

Our last class, we went over to the other side of the lab where there are some organs in containers, and we looked over the brain and spinal cord. That was truly incredible, and I think my favorite part, so far.

I hope at some point somebody reads this post, and it helps someone out! I was looking for specifics before my program started, so I hope this can help ease someone’s fears (if any) about cadaver lab.

If you read this, thanks!


Okay, so I can totally understand why these things never last…

I thought I would be able to update this blog at least once every 2 weeks or so. Was I wrong! This last MONTH went by so quick, wow. I had another anatomy exam, lecture & lab. We started out cadaver labs, Intro to OT finished (I got an A!), and physiology class has started!

I can’t believe how much has happened this past month. I FINALLY got out of those awful dorms, and into my own apartment. The idea of dorming was starting to excite me before I actually got there; once I was there I saw how horrible it was. The room was smelly, and full of bugs. Like no joke, FULL of bugs. I was killing bugs left and right. The TINY windows had these half ripped screens on them where the bugs would just come through day and night. One night I even had to sleep at a hotel to escape them, it was so awful and I felt so uncomfortable. After that night I knew I was not going to spend the next 3 years of OT school in this god-awful dorm room. I moved into an apartment a week later! It’s been so much better. The worst part of this month actually happened just a couple of days ago- we had to put our amazing dog of 17 years down (yes, he was 17 years old) . It was the most awful experience. He was the love of my life and meant everything to me. It’s definitely a different feel in my house, but I will never forget how much joy and love he gave to me since I was 6 years old (I’m almost 24).

In terms of school, I’m doing so great, and LOVING it! Yes, anatomy is torture, and it’s boring and I find myself hating the fact that I need to know half of this stuff for the purpose of passing the test/class, and won’t need to actually use 90% of the information in the actual real-world. However, it’s so great to just be in OT school, I’ve waited SO long for this. I’m definitely giving it my all, and it shows through my participation.  So far, I’ve gotten an A in intro to OT, and I’m currently averaging an A in anatomy! Physiology just started this week so we’ll see how that goes!

I feel like I’ve been putting a lot more effort into my studies than some of my friends in the program. They say things like, “ill start studying this weekend”, and I just cry inside! HOW can you start studying a week before the test?! I’ve been studying every single day just because there is a TON of info, and it’s unrealistic to think you’ll get all of that info in just a week and do well on the tests. Those people, though, haven’t been doing well on the tests, and I’ve been doing significantly better than most of my cohort. I don’t want to sound cocky or conceited, because I have worked harder than I ever have for these grades, and I’m proud of them. I just think in general, it’s silly to think that you can get away with procrastinating, or not studying until the last minute, and still expect to pass.

So all in all, this past month has been pretty good. I’m definitely more excited for this fall semester to start already, to be able to have classes literally pertaining to OT besides just intro. This fall will consist of:

  1. models of practice in OT- where we will learn different theories of interventions and things like that for each population/setting
  2. childhood development
  3. adult development/geriatrics
  4. psychosocial development ( this will be our FW 1 class!)
  5. kinesiology (not so excited for this one)

    So this fall will be pretty tough, time-wise, but these classes are going to be much more interesting, and I cannot wait!

I definitely promise myself that I am going to be updating this more, it’s pretty therapeutic for myself, as well!


















1st Anatomy exam

Wow okay so I’m in the middle of studying for my first anatomy exam (after only 3 weeks!) and out of nowhere I realize I haven’t blogged since my first week! I totally understand now how so many of these blogs out there stop so quickly!

The last couple of weeks have been pretty hectic, but also really great! Living in the dorm SUCKS. I started looking for an apartment and THANK HEAVENS I found one! Right down the block from my school too! Today is Monday, and I move into my apartment on Saturday. I cannot wait to be out of this dump of a dorm. There are bugs, it smells, and my suitemate BLASTS music all hours of the day and middle of the night. It’s hell.

As far as school goes, I’ve been staying on top of everything (for the most part), and studying pretty much all day everyday. My first anatomy test is this Friday and I hope I’m prepared enough! Taking online quizzes and rereading my notes has definitely helped my understanding of things. The test covers 7 chapters (two of which we covered in lab and will be tested on). We’ve gotten through the entire skeletal system and that’s the most interesting part to me.

Next Friday….we go to the….cadaver lab for the first time! I’m completely dreading going there for the rest of the semester. I feel like I’m going to either pass out or throw up. I definitely do NOT want to be in there. I’ll definitely post and update after next week’s class and how the first cadaver lab went. Ugh.

First Week of OT School- DONE!

WOW! So, my first “week” of OT school is over, and I survived! For some reason, my school started the summer semester on a Wednesday, and my first class was on Friday. I had anatomy lecture, then lab. We discussed the basics of terminology, planes, movements, and the body cavities. In lab, we went through half of the axial skeletal system and used group work with skull models (pretty cool). We don’t go into the cadaver lob until the end of June, and I am not looking forward to that!

There were quite a few things in lecture/lab I was already familiar with THANKFULLY from two classes in high school. I was in the EMT/ MED tech program as my electives and we covered basically everything we’re doing the next few weeks, so I feel super ahead…for now.

Skip to today (Tuesday), and I had Intro to OT, all day. Honestly, learning about the history of the profession should probably interest me more, right? Well it was a little drab. It is great to know where we came from, and learn about the direction we’re going, but I was never a fan of a history lesson. This class will be much better once we start getting into more things like learning about occupation and practice, and the framework.

So now I have two days to catch up on reviewing all of my notes, power points, and readings. This Friday in anatomy, we finish the axial system in lab, and in lecture we will cover arguably the most boring chapter in the whole curriculum- cells.

I’m pretty sure I’m going to get the hang of studying and preparing before class, and reviewing after class. I don’t feel like I’m behind yet, so I’d say that’s a successful first week!

I’m also beginning to see how tiring grad school is going to be. Traveling back home every weekend (hopefully), staying dedicating to going to the gym, and studying as much as possible is already making me tired! No complaints though, I’d rather be tired after driving 2 hours from home to my dorm at 630AM traffic, all day of class, and more studying after…than being at home having nothing to do. I’ve been wanting this for so long, and even though it’s really hard being away from home, I’m sure I’ll get used to it.



So the last 2 days was spent at orientation! Monday was an extremely long day. Waking up at 5:45 to get to orientation by 8:30am (yes, I live that far, luckily i’m dorming!). We met all our classmates (all 22 of us), and all of the great professors. They talked to us about the brand new curriculum that we’ll be the first class taking, and about fieldwork. A few 2nd year students came in to talk to us and answer our many questions, especially involving anatomy! We also sat through a painfully long library lecture.

Tuesday, luckily, started at 2pm so I got to leave my house around 11:30 am. Our professors went home shortly after introducing us to the day’s outline. We met with campus security and learned how to get our IDs and parking passes. We had lunch and then started a CPR class altogether. yay for being able to save a life!

I still cannot believe that in just 7 days I’ll be moving into my dorm room and starting graduate school 2 days later. While sitting through some of the professors talking about what to expect from each of their own classes, I couldn’t stop smiling from excitement. It all sounded so cool! I might even be excited about the research classes!

My professors seem wonderful, and they all genuinely want us to learn and be great practitioners. I definitely want to take every opportunity to learn from each of them as I can. My school didn’t beat out NYU on the NBCOT exam this year for nothing!

I’m truly excited and honestly terrified to be starting this next chapter of my life. I have fears, as (hopefully) many others did in my position. What if I do great in the academics, but HORRIBLE at fieldwork? What if I discover that I am not actually GOOD at being an OT? Hopefully, as we learn techniques and theories and whatnot that I’ll feel less like I will be awful, haha.

I’m curious to see if my interests will either stay the same or change, in regards to a specialty field. Luckily, my school has 2 required L2FWs, and an option 3d L2FW for 8 weeks during the last summer. The optional FW is technically for a specialization, but if you’re still unsure, it’s just another way to get out into that field and learn more about it.

They say they “require” one L2 to be adult phys dis. and we get to choose the other 1 (or 2). Right now, I’m thinking I will like one other L2 to be in an elementary school, and the other L2 to be in some sort of neurorehab site. So, let’s see where I end up (in 2 and a half/3 years!).




So I’m totally new at this

I’ve never created a blog before, except Tumblr, but that’s totally different. It seems a little strange to be doing this, but I decided that I want to document my experience throughout graduate school as an Occupational Therapy student (yay!).

There’s hardly any current student blogs out there for OT, and the few that are, are great! shoutout to: for inspiring me to do this! I came across this blog while searching for students’ thoughts and advice on starting OT school. I quickly realized that not a lot of blog-type information is available. There’s which is great, but more of just a forum. I found myself having so many questions once I was (finally) accepted!

So, in hopes of keeping this blog active throughout my school career, I plan on documenting things about school as I go and try to give as much information as possible so that future almost-students will have a good grasp of what to expect during ot school.

I’m super nervous about starting in just 4 weeks! It feels like yesterday that I decided this is the career I wanted for myself. Switching colleges and majors (like 3 times) ultimately led me down this path. Years of volunteering, gathering LOR’s, and TONS of applications is finally worth all of the time and frustration. I am thrilled about starting this journey in a few short weeks. Although I’m not quite looking forward to the dorm life. My school is in-state, but too far to commute.

Anyway, I hope someone will read this, and I will continue to post as the start of the semester approaches!