I spent the last eight weeks working as one of four gross anatomy teaching assistants for the incoming first year VCU DPT class. I am so grateful for the experience for many reasons, including the following:

Firstly, I am grateful to have participated in cadaver dissection a second time. Many physical therapists only dissect cadavers once—if at all—in their careers. I gained a new appreciation for the structures we dissected thanks to the didactic education and clinical experiences from my first year of PT school. My favorite moment from dissection lab occurred when our neuroanatomy professor and I performed a full laminectomy of a vertebral column to remove an intact brain and spinal cord from a cadaver. I am grateful for the individuals who donated their bodies for study to make this experience possible.

I am also grateful for the chance to work with three of my peers with whom I had not worked extensively before. I appreciated getting to know them better and to compare our PT school experiences. We worked very well together and had lots of fun while doing it!

Finally, I have a renewed sense of gratitude for the work my professors and clinical instructors put into teaching. I have greater empathy for professors who field questions from students anxious to master new and challenging material.