OCD for Credit

4 Sep

In Anatomy, we have this assignment where we have to draw specified muscles and skeletal structures on a plain white crew neck tee.  We do not have access to a cadaver in class, which is usually THE point of Anatomy.  So I guess this is a crafty way to get around the school’s limitations.  And maybe this assignment is fun for someone, somewhere.  I HATE this project.

I like anatomy, am a kinetic (learn by doing) learner, and love art–and yet.  I hate it mostly because it touched off an OCD frenzy.  I just want to get a good grade.  No, it’s more then that–I want to get a good grade, do my very best work, AND impress the rest of my class, the former students helping us, and our prof.  That’s all.  So maybe a little bit of unreasonable expectations–but try to explain that to my OCD.  And once you indulge OCD at all–it cannot be stopped.  And bleeds into other areas of life.  There is nothing fun or useful about OCD.

I got wind of this undertaking last May.  And it made me worried back then.  I tried to prepare ahead of time over the summer, marking page numbers for the best views in the book, making lists, measuring and doing ratios, sketching various anatomical structures, and just trying to set myself up for success (as Mary would say–but f that b). I even started a shirt over the summer, but because that is cheating (to start and finish an entire shirt when class was not in session) made sure it was a v-neck so I wouldn’t be tempted to turn that one in.

After receiving the assignment I was stressed, but ready.  Because I had a game plan.  But I guess my professor’s game plan (and procedure of at LEAST the last 3 years of giving this assignment) was different from my own.  She gave us class time, “. . .  To put on our shirts and trace each other’s spine, ribs, etc. . .”  And there was just NO way I was going to have any stranger/classmate touching me.  So I had planned to decline to get traced, but offer to trace someone else.  But I changed my mind when an old, fat redhead sat next to me that day.  I didn’t want to (have anything to do with her, really) trace her because I realized I would really have to press hard to get through her fat.  And that would be awkward.  So I quietly worked on my spine math.  Meaning I measured how long the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum were on the best book picture, then using the length of my shirt figured the ratio my shirt’s spine needed to be.

First, a former anatomy student stood in front of me and said, “Don’t you guys [me and the fat-redhead] want to trace each other?”  Fatty looked eager like she definitely wanted some tracing, but I just said, “No, not really.”  I did not want to give any mixed signals that under any circumstances was this stranger getting touched by me–of vice versa.  It’s not like I was being insubordinate–this was time to work on the shirts, and most people were tracing–but that was just a suggestion, not a mandatory assignment.  I’m not sure touching each other could be mandatory. . .  And of course, my professor came over and asked if my neighbor and I wanted to trace each other.  Then saw what I was doing and got a critical/judgmental look on her face and tone in her voice.  She said measuring was too much work, too complicated, and too inaccurate for MY own body.  Looking annoyed she continued MY body might be different from the book so doing math probably wasn’t going to work.  And even after I told her I was doing ratios using the length of my shirt with the intention of putting down the spine and ribs and then basing every other structures upon those landmarks, she looked critical of my idea.

Honestely, I cannot understand my professor’s logic on that.  How can making a subjective assignment more quantitative be a BAD thing? I think she had a tone of criticism only because she hadn’t thought of the idea first.  And I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to her, as a PhD and all.  And next year she’ll probably recommend they do a quick ratio to get a landmark down on their shirt to base the rest off.  It makes good sense.  I think anyway.  So now I’m not only struggling to make my shirt really awesome and accurate, I am paranoid.  I know my prof will be just looking for a reason to prove herself right about the math.  So she will be scrutinizing my shirt for errors.  So now it has to be even better.

I am on shirt #4.  These muscle shirts for Anatomy are going to make me insane.  BUT I didn’t let it ruin my Dave Matthews Band concert at the Gorge Ampitheatre like I always have in the past.  I totally put the stress of the shirt, impending anatomy exam, school at large, and work completely out of my mind.  I’ll keep you updated on the shirt for sure.

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