Human Anatomy at Colby

Lauren Shirley: My Experience in BI265j

February 24th, 2015 · Comments Off on Lauren Shirley: My Experience in BI265j


Anatomy and physiology form the cornerstone of medicine. Without A&P, medicine as a field would fail to exist. Thus, as a premed student, I saw it as my duty to take A&P to give myself a solid background for my other medical interests and the internships I hope to pursue. After working in a cadaver lab for several summers where I completed dissections of many different joints, I imagined that I had a fairly solid background in anatomy. Additionally, my experience as an EMT and the basic anatomy and bodily processes I had learned as part of my training should make this easy. Right?? Boy was I wrong.


The musculoskeletal anatomy that I had mastered in my lab before was approximately two hours of lecture in a month-long class. My imagination had certainly underestimated the breadth of the class and the many different topics that would be covered. While my previous experiences definitely helped me a little, they gave me nowhere near the advantage I imagined.


I was most challenged by the pace of the class. As we conquered a new body system each day, in both its anatomy and its physiology, there was little time to absorb the details of each system. Rather, the class served as an overview of many main components and processes within the body. We covered everything from the skeletal framework of the body to the minute electrical conduction pathways in the heart, and none of it really got half the time it deserved. However, this class did give me a new appreciation of the miracle of the human body and its myriad evolutionary advantages. I cannot even comprehend the different evolutionary events that would have had to occur for it to reach its current state.


Organs we take for granted, such as the eye or ear, give us a plethora of information about the world around us. While I knew the basic function and makeup of these organs before the class, I had no idea about their underlying intricacies. I was fascinated by the different components that makeup our vision. While the rods in our eyes give us “night vision,” it lacks the color and “high definition” quality that cones provide. While these components appear in different densities in different places on the retina, the brain is able to take in all of the information, which synapses through the optical nerve to create a coherent image of our surroundings. It was information such as this that I learned in the class which gave me a new appreciation for the human body and its physiology.


While this class definitely pushed me to learn a maximum of information in a minimum of time, I really ended up enjoying the Anatomy and Physiology class and would highly recommend it to any other students who are considering taking it for Jan Plan in the future. However, my advice to these students would be this: you get out of the class what you put in to it. Your interest and effort is key to your success in and enjoyment of the class.



Tags: Bi265j

Allison O’Connor: My Overall Experience in BI265J

February 24th, 2015 · Comments Off on Allison O’Connor: My Overall Experience in BI265J


This January 2015, I had the opportunity to take Anatomy and Physiology with Dr. Klepach. The human body and the way it functions has always intrigued me, but Anatomy and Physiology was not offered at my high school, so I never had the opportunity to explore this interest in a formal classroom setting. So, the JanPlan A&P class presented me with the perfect opportunity to explore my interests and officially learn about the human body and the reasons behind why it functions the way that it does. This class was even more important, since I am planning to pursue a career in medicine, and I think that basic background knowledge of human anatomy and physiology is imperative for future success in medical school and beyond.


For most of my life I have been pretty confident that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine and when I got to Colby I was very certain of the fact that I was going to take the pre-requisites necessary for medical school so that I could go on to med school right after Colby. Over the past few semesters I took many of the pre-med classes along with and EMT course. Classes at Colby were a little bit of a rude awakening for me, and I did not perform as well as I was used to, despite putting in more effort than I had in high school. Because of this my confidence was shaken. This along with a variety of personal setbacks and health issues prompted me to question my decision to pursue a career in medicine. Coming into this JanPlan I felt like I had a lot to figure out regarding my plans for the future. I was very excited for this class because of my aforementioned interest in anatomy and the functioning of the human body, but I was also anxious since this class had a reputation for being incredibly challenging and a lot of work. I found that the rumors about Anatomy and Physiology were true, however I enjoyed every minute of the course and definitely learned way more than I could have ever anticipated-not just about anatomy, but also about myself and the way I learn as well as stress-management techniques. Dr. Klepach created a classroom environment that took the focus off of grades and switched the focus to actually learning the material while maintaining a healthy lifestyle (eating three balanced meals a day, getting eight hours of sleep each night and trying to manage our stress levels). It is often too easy to get caught up in the grades that you get on an exam or to stress about the final grade that you receive in a class and in all of this worrying about the end result you forget to enjoy the learning along the way. I also have always struggled with managing my stress levels and don’t always get as much sleep as I should on a given night. The classroom environment that Dr. K created for A&P this JanPlan really gave me the space to focus on changing my habits and remind myself of how much I love learning when I am not worried about grades.


Anatomy and Physiology was one of the most engaging, interesting and challenging courses that I have taken at Colby thus far, and the course helped me rediscover my awe and amazement toward the human body and reconfirmed for me that I want to pursue a career in medicine. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have spent the month of January learning about the human body, learning about myself and creating habits that will serve me well in the rest of my Colby career and beyond.


Tags: Bi265j

Mayra Arroyo: A Healthier and Happier Me

February 24th, 2015 · Comments Off on Mayra Arroyo: A Healthier and Happier Me


During the 4 weeks of class I learned so much. Not only anatomy, but I also learned a lot about my lifestyle choices and my study habits. Before taking this class, I had never really thought about how the choices I made affected my learning and my health. One clear example is the number of hours I sleep. I was used to sleeping at 12 am or later and snoozing for an hour every morning. After sleeping at 10 or 11 pm every night and waking up 6 or 7 am, I was able to see a difference in my energy levels through out the day. I did not have to take naps during the day and I also did not have to drink coffee to stay awake during the day. This allowed me to be extremely productive and be fully concentrated on what I was doing.

Another example is eating breakfast. I was used to waking up too late and not having enough time to go to breakfast. With my new sleeping habit I was able to go to breakfast every morning. I was the most proud of this new eating habit, not because I started it, but because I was able to continue it the whole month without quitting.

The last lifestyle change I made occurred the last week of class after watching “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”. I started to remove all juice from my meals. I have always known that soda is extremely bad for a person’s health, but I wrongly assumed that juice was not as bad. After watching this video I learned that juice is equally as harmful, and have stopped drinking it. Although I have not been prefect and have had juice, I am much more conscious about drinking water instead of juice at every meal. I also learned from this video that many of the things that we eat today contain fructose, even things that most people would not even think, such as baby formula. This was absolutely shocking and horrifying. I have started to look at the labels of food in hopes to reduce my consumption of fructose. I know these small changes will make a huge difference to health.

This class not only helped me become a healthier individual, but it has helped me become a better student. One way is that I am now a more organized. I have started to make lists in ranking of importance of things I need to accomplish each day. This has not only helped me be more organized, but it has also helped me to prioritize. This was significant for this class, because there was a lot of material. I had to focus on the most important ideas concepts, because it was impossible to study every single topic thoroughly. Although these changes may seem minor, they are not because this is the start I needed in order to become better and healthier student. I plan to continue these new habits during the spring semester and beyond.



Tags: Bi265j · Human Health

Ivan Yang: My experience in A&P

February 24th, 2015 · Comments Off on Ivan Yang: My experience in A&P


Even though I am a molecular biology major, I had not taken any biology courses in the fall semester, so my advisor highly recommended me to take a biology course for JanPlan. After checking the course listings for January, I decided on a whim to sign up for the Intro to Human Anatomy and Physiology course. Later that week, I met someone who had taken the course last January. She informed me that if I was to take BI265, I would have to be prepared to learn a lot in a small amount of time. There was a wealth of interesting knowledge to be gained from the course, but, she warned, if I was expecting to cruise through JanPlan, I should drop the course. Not sure if I should take her seriously or not, I laughed it off and didn’t think about her words much after that.



After the first week, I definitely knew that this class was not to be taken lightly. The first week was especially rough because of the flipped lecture setting. Not only did we have to study for daily quizzes and lab exams, but also we had to listen to lecture and lab podcasts for the following day’s lecture and lab sessions. I was completely unprepared, and I was forced to adjust my mentality, my study schedule, and my lifestyle habits. However, while there was a seemingly surreal amount of work involved in the course, the amount of material that I absorbed during the four weeks of JanPlan truly astounded me. In addition, after putting in maximal effort just to learn the basics of human anatomy and physiology, I gained deep respect and admiration for the structure and workings of the human body. I truly came to enjoy the class and the subject, and soon enough I found myself embracing Dr. K’s recommended healthy lifestyle habits.

Beyond learning material through lectures and labs and finding a healthy lifestyle balance between working and resting, I also had many opportunities to do things that I had never done before. For example, for the first time in my life, I had the opportunity to perform a wet dissection of a pig heart. Although I was confused at first due to initial difficulties in matching the neatly-drawn heart schematics in my mind with the real deal in my hands, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of opening the heart with my own hands, placing my fingers through the valves and blood vessels to see where they connected, and seeing how the real tissues and membranes of the heart correlated with the models in our anatomy lab. In fact, I’m sure I would have enjoyed the experience even more if my partner and I had remembered that there were scalpels available for use in the dissection (we had to cut through a very thick ventricular wall with a very small pair of scissors – if you are taking the class and haven’t done the wet dissection yet, REMEMBER that there are scalpels available for use).


In sum, BI265 was a welcome and intellectually stimulating challenge. I absorbed a great deal of anatomy and physiology in the last four weeks, worked with wonderful classmates and a great professor, and learned about myself, my study and lifestyle habits, and stress management. I would recommend this class to anyone interested in thinking and in challenging his/her intellectual limits.


The blood vessel model – my best friend during the weekend before the second lab test.


Tags: Bi265j

Lauren Shirley: BI265J and Personal Health

February 24th, 2015 · Comments Off on Lauren Shirley: BI265J and Personal Health


One interesting aspect of BI265j was the emphasis that Dr. Klepach placed on personal health. On the first day of class, we were given sheets to track our sleep, exercise, stress, and eating habits. Initially, I was overwhelmed with the amount of information to absorb and the sheer scope of the class. Suddenly, I was trying to fit 4 hours of class, three hours of lecture online, sufficient exercise, three square meals and at least eight hours of sleep into a day, not to mention the actual studying part of learning for the class!

The first week was a bit rocky for me: trying to learn to use my time efficiently enough to get everything done while not succumbing to mental exhaustion at the amount of information I was trying to absorb was a challenge to say the least. However, switching back to a traditional classroom environment from the flipped environment was a lifesaver! By eliminating two hours of lecture from my homework load, I had sufficient time to study and exercise. I was able to go to the gym almost every day of the week (when I wasn’t fighting a flu).

I really enjoyed having part of the class be about maintaining our own personal health as a means to more effective learning. By placing an emphasis on exercise, I didn’t feel guilty leaving the library to go the gym for a study break. Instead, I embraced this new lifestyle opportunity and learned to play squash, something I had always wanted to do since coming to college, but had never been able to justify the time to do! Interestingly, I noticed that as I exercised more and put more of an emphasis on my own health rather than on numerical success in class, my stress decreased. I can’t say my quiz grades necessarily improved, but I felt like I was better able to absorb the material that was presented to me and was much happier while I was learning.

Also, by tracking my eating, I noticed that when my stress increased, my cravings for unhealthy foods increased as well. While I am not normally a person that eats a lot of baked goods or sugary foods, I definitely wanted them more when I didn’t exercise as much or get as much fresh air. This made me realize the importance of diet as a result of exercise.

Finally, I really enjoyed making sleep a priority during Jan Plan and received around eight hours of sleep every night on average with the exception of nights I was on duty as an EMT.

Thus, this class really taught me that my exercise habits impact both my stress and my diet, and that when I exercised less, other areas of my life would suffer. I was it metaphorically as similar to instructions for putting on an oxygen mask in a plane: Put on your own mask first before you help those around you. By focusing on my own health, effective learning and success will follow. Also, success is not defined just by numbers academically, but by your quality of life in general and how you feel.


Tags: Bi265j · Human Health

Laurel Edington: My Experience in Bi265j

February 23rd, 2015 · Comments Off on Laurel Edington: My Experience in Bi265j


This January, I was given the opportunity to take the Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology janplan class. I’m a senior biology major and have finished all of my major requirements so I didn’t need to take this class, but I’m interested in the material and figured that it would be helpful to be at least familiar with human A&P when I’m eventually in medical school.

During the first week of class, I thought that the workload was too much and I considered dropping the class. Throughout this week, Dr. Klepach kept reinforcing that the first week was the hardest and that he really just wanted us to learn how to deal with a heavy workload and learn the material while still eating three meals a day, working out each week, getting eight hours of sleep each night, and keeping our stress level low. At first, I thought this was insane. How was I possibly supposed to learn all of these bones and muscles and not be stressed?! However, throughout the month, I realized that this was possible. The way the class was set up allowed work to be spread out so that we continued to reinforce the material through quizzes and preparing for lecture and class. By doing this, studying for a bigger exam or working on a bigger project ended up not being as stressful or time consuming as I imagined it would be.

The following weeks were still intense but were more manageable. Although we had quizzes before most lectures, another lab practical, a grand rounds presentation, and a few lab assignments left, Dr. Klepach’s advice of studying to learn the material and not for the grade really helped to make the class less daunting. As a premed student, I’m used to focusing only on the grades I receive and my GPA, but this class made me focus on actually knowing the material. Out of all of the classes I’ve taken at Colby, I’ve learned the most in this class. I don’t think this is because of the sheer amount of material thrown at us and if only a little stuck with us, it would be more information than some classes teach in a semester, but rather that I was actually working to learn the information and not just studying so that I could remember the material only in order to do well on the next test.

I highly recommend this class. I think it’s a great class for any premed student, any biology major, as well as any student who is just interested in anatomy and physiology. We were given so many interesting opportunities that no other class really offers. I can’t think of another biology class that performs any sort of dissection, that teaches the important skill of giving a grand rounds presentation, or that has lectures from specialists such as Dr. Zak Nashed and Dr. Peter Millard. During this month, we learned so much and we only just scratched the surface. I found this class so fascinating and wish that it could have been a semester long, or even a year long, course.




Tags: Bi265j

Chris Lee: What I Gained From BI265

February 23rd, 2015 · Comments Off on Chris Lee: What I Gained From BI265


This year I decided to sign up for BI265 (Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology) for my Jan Plan course. Going into it, I had no idea what to expect. I knew from my experiences with high school anatomy that it would require a lot of memorization. Given the fact that the class would only last for a month, I also expected the class to move at a very rapid pace. With these thoughts in mind, I walked into the classroom on the first day, ready to begin my second Jan Plan at Colby.


On the first day, Dr. Klepach told us that one of his goals in the course was to teach us to maintain healthy lifestyles, despite the rigorous nature of his class. According to him, this would be an important lesson to learn, especially for those of us who entered the health professions field. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially while taking a course like BI265 at first seemed impossible. We were exposed to a lot of information each class and it was not uncommon for us to have quizzes the day after we were introduced to new material. During the first week, I spent nearly all my time outside of class in the library going over lecture notes and stressing over whether or not I had studied enough. I wondered how it was possible to fit in time for sleep, activities outside class, and three meals a day without stressing out. As it turned out, it was possible to achieve all three of these things and succeed in the class. All it took was some self-reflection and time management.


Self-reflection is an all-around good skill to have. It lets you evaluate where you are in the process of trying to accomplish something and lets you see where your strengths and weaknesses lie. In my case, self-reflection let me see a major weakness in my approach toward the class: my study habits. Usually, my approach to studying would be to re-read my notes until the information sank into my head. For a Jan Plan course, this is inefficient because time is very limited. After an unsuccessful performance on the first lab exam, I sat down and thought about how I was studying. I concluded that I needed to implement a more active style of learning. For instance, when studying the different parts of the eye, heart, and ear, I looked at anatomical models of these organs in addition to looking at the diagrams in my notes. Our lab exams asked us to identify structures on anatomical models, which was why it was more beneficial to study the models in conjunction with diagrams. Being able to self-reflect on my performance in the course helped me make the necessary changes to how I approached the material and improve my performance.


In addition to self-reflection, time management was another important skill that helped me get through BI265. In order to fit in time for sleep and other activities outside of class, I had to stay focused and be more efficient when it came time to work. Doing this allowed me to be productive while allowing for more time to enjoy myself outside of class. A technique I used to help with time management was setting up an organized schedule. Through this method, I was able to see when I could devote time to study, keep track of deadlines, and plan ahead. I attribute my decrease in stress levels to an improvement in my time management skills. Being more organized helped me get more done sooner so that I was not left with an overwhelming amount of work in the wake of an imminent deadline (which is very stressful situation). While I learned a lot about the cardiovascular, skeletal, digestive, and other body systems in BI265, I also learned the importance of self-reflection and time management. I have no doubt that these two skills will be beneficial to me for the rest of my college career and ultimately the rest of my life.


Tags: Bi265j · Human Health

Ariel Oppong: Flipped Lectures Were a Plus for Me

February 23rd, 2015 · Comments Off on Ariel Oppong: Flipped Lectures Were a Plus for Me

Ariel Oppong_237134_assignsubmission_file_colby id possible pic

I am pre med and am also interested in public health especially decreasing health disparities. With these future career goals in mind taking a class such as Anatomy and Physiology could be a beneficial course choice. For the field of medicine Anatomy and Physiology is not a pre-requisite, however once a student matriculates into a medical program he or she will have to take anatomy and physiology to graduate. Thus, taking the course now could be advantageous to my schooling in the future.


A lot of past students warned me earlier that this course was very hard and time consuming, but I was still unsure if I might need it in the future so I decided to give it a chance. The first couple days were rough to say the least. We had three quizzes and a lab exam within the first week. Class was almost four hours long from 9-1pm on most days. We had lecture first and then lab for the first week and then lab first and then lecture after for the last three weeks. We were asked to sleep for 8 hours a night, to eat a balacnced diet and to try to exercise as well as complete the class at an optimal level. Prof. Klepach thought it was very much feasible but by requiring that we follow the lifestyle and do well in school what he was really encouraging was for us to find a way to study more effectively, learn better time management skills, and take our well –being seriously. For the most part I was able to exercise more regularly and eat three balanced meals but I still felt stressed and was not able to get eight hours of sleep every night.


My lack of sleep was probably at first due to the fact that we were operating on a flipped lecture style. In flipped lecture the students and I would watch videos of pre-taped lectures and pre-taped lab lectures prior to class. Then the class would be operated with the assumption that we had done our part and had done the pre-work. During class we would complete group exercises including an overview of questions we individually came to class with. Afterwards Prof. Klepach would give us group quizzes and reviews. I found out that I really like flipped lectures. As someone that does not really learn very well by auditory means I was really happy to be provided with the pre-taped lectures because it provided me with the option to play back things that I might not have caught the first time. Moreover, the flipped lecture style allowed me to reinforce what I knew or did not know with the in class group quizzes and daily individual quizzes.


I plan to try to integrate some of the components of flipped lectures into my spring semester. I am already a junior but it seems like there are some study techniques that I have to start implementing on a daily basis. For an example I am going to try to spend more of my evenings prepping for the upcoming class instead of reviewing material that I had previously put off.

Tags: Bi265j

Ariel Oppong: What is the Best Way to Study?

February 23rd, 2015 · Comments Off on Ariel Oppong: What is the Best Way to Study?

Ariel Oppong_237134_assignsubmission_file_colby id possible pic

For Intro Into Anatomy and Physiology we had to complete both lectures and a laboratory component. For the lab part we were provided with at least an hour and a half to review the components of various models and structures displayed around the microbiology laboratory. During the first week I was excited to see the models and to see how much I remembered from the Anatomy and Physiology class I took my junior year in high school (about four years ago). The first day I realized that what I had retained from my past Anatomy and Physiology class was more broad physiology than college- level anatomy details. We had our first lab exam on day four of the class. I was shocked to find out we would have an exam so early but I do not think that it really hit me until the first Tuesday night. That night I actually came to terms with the fact that I only had one more night before the exam. Panic definitely was a feeing that immediately surfaced. I had never taken a pervious class with Prof. Klepach and I did not know how he tested so I was really worried.


Nonetheless, I had to start studying something or I was going to feel defeated before I even started. My fried Jay and I really focused our studying on the various parts of the human skull. We spent about two hours in total on that skull and we were pretty good after numerous quizzes and checks with the professor. The only issue is that by spending so much time on the skull we really did not get to study the other models as in depth. Even in the moment, I knew I was taking a risk by focusing on that body part for so long. I was just hopping that at least five or so questions would come from that region so I could reap the benefits of my studying. Haha I guess I was hopeful. My Wednesday a lot of people were over the amount of work. I think we lost about 7 people in the first week. But I was intent on finishing the class.


But was I studying appropriately? I really was not sure. In addition, I finished the previous semester pretty late, December 22nd , so when JanPlan January 5th, I was only home for around 10 days and I was pretty tired of school already. Was I putting in the appropriate amount of time? On average I was studying for at least four hours a night if you included watching the videos or podcasts for the next class, still it felt like that was the bare minimum. My first practical was really supposed to show me where my study skills were improving, okay at or lacking.


Whoa was the first lab practical hard! I did not actually study even close to the amount I needed to study in order to do well. Slacking off would be an understatement. I did poorly on the exam and the answers I got right were mainly give –away or identifications that I probably could have made even as a high school student. Disappointment was my main feeling during and after the exam. I just felt like with an exam like the lab practical- your performance is in direct correlation with your study skills. All the answers are predetermined and you just have to recognize the anatomy and regurgitate the medical terminology.


Basically my first lab practical taught me a hard lesson about slacking off plus it motivated me to try new methods and lastly it gave me a starting place that was so low that for my second exam I had no where to go but up.


Tags: Bi265j · Lab

Arianne Thomas: My JanPlan Experience – pt. 1

February 22nd, 2015 · Comments Off on Arianne Thomas: My JanPlan Experience – pt. 1


This JanPlan gave me many unique opportunities, and I learned so much about the human body in so many different ways beyond just classroom lectures. We spent hours in lab studying models, histology slides, real bones, and a real pig heart. We went on “field trips” to the art museum, where we identified different anatomical features in pieces of art, and to the athletic center, where we learned about our own heart rates, respiration, and metabolism. We completed a Grand Rounds project, which is where medical professionals present a patient’s issues and treatment for the purpose of educating medical students as well as other doctors. We were given the opportunity to work with high schoolers interested in the sciences during a mentoring session where we were taught them a little bit about what we were studying in class and helped them plan out science fair project ideas.

Some of my favorite learning experiences organized by Dr. Klepach was bringing in different speakers who talked to us about what they do in their day to day lives and the issues they seek to fix. The first speaker was Dr. Zak Nashed, a radiologist who specializes in peripheral artery disease. PAD is a circulation problem where arteries that supply blood to the extremities get clogged by the hardening of arteries, often times leading to a stroke or a heart attack. It can cause damage to the endothelial lining of the arteries, an increased permeability and adhesion of molecules, and if it goes untreated there could be a complete obstruction. One treatment option is medical management, where the risk factors could be modified (by exercising, losing weight, or stopping smoking) or a pharmacologic intervention could be used to regulate hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, or diabetes. Another treatment option, which Dr. Nashed specializes in, is interventional radiology through endovascular techniques. These are minimally invasive procedures where medical professionals use image guided tools to perform balloon angioplasty and place stents to open up narrowed arteries due to plaque build up. The third and most extreme treatment option is to perform a bypass graft or an amputation.

The other speaker who came to talk to us was Dr. Peter Millard who is an epidemiologist, someone who studies causes and patterns of diseases in different populations. He talked to us about his work with diseases in Africa, making the interesting point that where he worked in Mozambique is about the same distance from Liberia as it is from New York, but in reality New York is a lot closer because there is more traffic between the two places. He explained that geographic proximity is different from travel patterns and the way disease spreads has a lot more to do with traffic than geographic proximity. He also talked about the prevalence of HIV across different parts of Africa, and possible correlation between these rates of HIV and circumcision. Another interesting aspect of epidemiology he talked about was the importance of disease prevention on economic and social levels.

Having these speakers come in to talk with us was an integral part of my learning experience in the Anatomy and Physiology class because it opened my eyes to all the various aspects that the sciences, biology in particular, encompass. Having both parents working in the medical field has always fostered an interest in a profession in the medical field, but I have never had a concrete idea of what I specifically would like to do. These opportunities of having two very different speakers come talk to us made me more aware of the various directions my degree in biology can take me and interested in looking into different careers that I would have never thought about before.


Tags: Bi265j · Guest Speakers

Arianne Thomas: My JanPlan Experience – pt. 2

February 22nd, 2015 · Comments Off on Arianne Thomas: My JanPlan Experience – pt. 2


Going into my first JanPlan two years ago I didn’t know what to expect. The only thing I had known about it that it was a time to step out of your comfort zone, take a different class, and explore other aspects of learning. I signed up for the Catholic Church and Hollywood class that year because it fulfilled two distribution requirements. I thought that the class would be a breeze. Not only did I hear from upperclassmen that it was an easy class, I was also raised in the Catholic Church and went to a Catholic school for most my life, and therefore had to take church history and other religious classes throughout my high school experience. Turns out, the class was easy. The class met three times a week, and every single day we watched a movie, the hardest part of the class being keeping my eyes open for three hours in the dark room. There were three relatively short essay assignments and there was no final.

My sophomore year, I decided to step out of my comfort zone. I took the African Music class being not at all musically inclined other than my experience with the recorder in the third grade. Since the class fulfilled the art distribution requirement, and I’m even less artistically inclined, I figured I would manage. A normal class day consisted of singing, drumming, and dancing. There were no assessments other than a few performances at a local church and during the Martin Luther King Day celebration.

I knew this year would be different when I signed up for Anatomy and Physiology. My mom, a retired flight nurse in the Air Force, recalled taking full semesters of both Anatomy and Physiology while in college. She was surprised that we could fit in all the information in just one month, recalling specific parts and functions of the human body that she was required to know. I knew it would be a lot of hard work, but I was prepared to dedicate my month to working hard. Going over the syllabus on the first day, I was a little bit overwhelmed with the amount of material, quizzes, and projects we were going to accomplish during the month. Dr. Klepach also warned us that people often get C’s and D’s on the quizzes and tests, which was worrisome as my grades and my GPA are always a primary concern. On top of it all, our professor wanted us to keep logs of our eating, exercising, and sleeping habits and to monitor our stress levels. Within the first few days of the class, I was completely overwhelmed by all the work and studying I had to do and called my mom for some support, only to hear her say “I told you so.” It was a matter of days until about a third of the class switched into a different class. The first week proved to be the hardest, listening to two hour long lectures and taking detailed notes on top of studying for a few quizzes and a lab test. It was really encouraging to hear Dr. K’s words of praise after the class average on our first lab test was 40%, well above the average of last year’s class. Although the subsequent weeks lightened up and my personal scores improved, the most important lesson I learned was balancing my life. Previously, when I got swamped with school work, I would often cut out exercising or a full night’s sleep to catch up with work. Dr. K stressed the importance of a healthy lifestyle, and this transformed me to be a better student. It not only forced me to stay on top of my work, but also kept me healthy during the time of the year when many people get sick. This aspect of the class was crucial in showing me that a healthy, balanced lifestyle can be achievable even with a rigorous school schedule, which is something I believe many college students tend to forget.


Tags: Bi265j · Human Health

Alexandria Lucas: Overall Experience

February 22nd, 2015 · Comments Off on Alexandria Lucas: Overall Experience

Alexandria Lucas_237129_assignsubmission_file_ALucasSophMajorPic

Coming into this class, I had heard it was going to be a lot of work and was certainly not going to be a walk in the park. With that said, I had significant interest in Anatomy and Physiology, mostly because I have never had the chance to take a class on this subject material. Thus, going into it I know I was driven to work hard and I would enjoy putting effort into it to take on the challenge of learning so much anatomy and physiology in the four-week period. I have to say the first week of this class was certainly the hardest of all the four weeks, and definitely scared me a little. Yet, I know that in that first week I probably had my time of greatest learning as far as how to study the material most efficiently while still maintaining healthy life habits, which is one of the main goals of Dr. Klepach’s in this class. With 3 quizzes that week and a lab exam on tissue, bones, and muscles, it was nowhere near an easy first week. However, making it through that first week was incredibly rewarding.

Alexandria Lucas_237129_assignsubmission_file_largeeyemodel

In addition, during that first week of class we actually ended up trying a flipped lecture. This meant we would watch recorded lectures from last year and then go into class and do review, answer practice questions, and activities for engraining the material in our head and helping us to understand it better. I had never done a class like this before, so it was very interesting to experience. However, the next week the class vetoed to have normal lectures.

Alexandria Lucas_237129_assignsubmission_file_smalleye

Overall, I think that the lab tests were definitely the most stressful part of this class. For the first one, I truly believe I did not understand the amount of time you had to put into studying the anatomy nor had I yet realized what studying method was going to work best for me. For that first lab exam, I really only looked over the PowerPoints for a decent amount of time. I soon learned that was not going to cut it for studying for the exams, in which you walk around the room and identify not just major muscles on the models, but rather the small muscle that goes around the top of your eye or the specific name of a vertebra, for example. It is not meant to be easy. Needless to say, that first lab exam did not go very well for me at all. However, for the second exam I realized it may help to interact with the models, since after all, that’s exactly what we were going to have to recognize anatomical features on for the exam. Although I still did not do incredibly well on the exam, I made a clear improvement in my grade from the first exam, which was definitely an accomplishment as well as what Dr. K hopes students to do during his Janplan class; find what studying tactics work best for your and improve over the course of the month.

Alexandria Lucas_237129_assignsubmission_file_spine

Tags: Bi265j

Yvette Qu: My Overall Experience This Semester

February 22nd, 2015 · Comments Off on Yvette Qu: My Overall Experience This Semester


Taking Human Physiology and anatomy as a freshman, I have found the course to be appropriately challenging and a great introduction into biology major. In the first few days of the course, the materials were somehow overwhelming to me. Everything needed to be memorized, and preview and review are required to do well on the quiz. However, the stress level was what I was expecting. I was hoping to learn more about biology and to decide if I can major in biology. Therefore, though I was a little terrified at first, I continued to work hard in the course, and I did gain more than I expected. Dr. Klepach had quiz after almost each lecture, and this stressed me out at first because I did not have the habit of reviewing things after each class. Being a procrastinator, I was more prone to leave everything before the finals despite the fact that I knew it was a bad habit. This course helped to reform my study methods. I have developed the habit of previewing and reviewing for each class, and the new method works perfectly. Another issue, which remained to be challenging, was the huge amount of terms of the labs. It was extremely difficult to remember hundreds of terms of minor body parts and to avoid forgetting them before the lab tests. For many time during the tests, I knew I had memorized the name of the model but could not remember how to spell it or the complete name. I did poorly on the first lab tests, but I had to admit that I did not work hard on the labs as I did for the lectures because I procrastinated the memorizing task to the last night. Despite the laziness, I forced myself to review for each lab, and as a result I did improve a lot from the first lab test to the second one. I am sure the reason is the amount of effort I put in for the second lab test. By the end of Jan Plan, I have been much more familiarized with human body than I was. The mysterious and complex human body amazed me so much that I cannot wait to learn more. My goal of learning more about biology and deciding if I want to major it was achieved, I have found myself interested in biology. Overall, I enjoyed the course of Human Physiology and Anatomy a lot and gained more than I have expected. Most significantly, this experience solidifies my decision of majoring in biology. Moreover, I have developed a better study method. Avoiding procrastination and just simply finishing preview and review for each lesson, I arrived at the score I am satisfied with, and I believe this method will help me to do better in any future courses. One more thing, with the time sheet, I did lead a healthier lifestyle in January, sleeping enough and eating regularly, than I did last semester. I would absolutely recommend this course to anyone interested in biology and ready to be appropriately challenged.


A specific activity that I particularly enjoyed:

I had a mixed feeling toward the quiz after each lecture. I really hated them at first because they forced me to study after each lecture and challenged my bad habit of procrastination. Also, I was panic when Dr. Klepach said that the average grade for the quiz was a C or D for the past years. In order to get a score higher than a C, I reviewed with extreme attention everyday. At first, it was very difficult to fight against my laziness and painful to avoid procrastination. I was frustrated when my friends taking easy Jan Plan courses had nothing to do while I had tons of things to review. However, my efforts did pay off. I did pretty well on the quiz and I was very satisfied. I begin to enjoy the result coming with the painful procedure of fighting against procrastination. Though I did know working hard and stay on top of everything could bring much better result than procrastination and laziness do, but knowing something and actually experiencing something was very different. Knowing working hard would help did not motivate me to actually do so, while when the quiz forced me to work hard and I did experience the result of the effort, I was motivated. My feeling toward the quiz changed from hatred to enjoyment and thankfulness. After well preparation, the quiz became a great ways to examine my mastery of knowledge instead of a frustrating torture. Moreover, the quiz helped to reform my study method to a better one. Even though the beginning of the forcing from the quiz was painful, the change it brings will benefit me in an unpredictable way in the future. The habit of previewing and reviewing can make me understand and memorize things better through the repetition of content from each lesson, which is much lesser amount of things than whole semester. Another thing to mention, this daily study habit not only brings better grade, it also improves efficiency and helps me to lead a healthier lifestyle. By procrastination, I left a huge amount of work to do the few days before exams; while I stayed late in those days before exam, I just wasted time irrationally on other days. Staying up late means low efficiency and unhealthy lifestyle. However, with the newly formed study habits, previewing and reviewing for each lesson, I put a reasonable amount of work for each day; the reasonable amount of work can be done without staying up late, and thus efficiently. The quiz offered was a boon, for the change it brought to me will benefit me in any courses in the future. Knowing how procrastinated I was, I did not anticipate the course to change my study habits so radically, but it does and I really enjoyed the change. Just as Dr. Klepach said, the course not only helps the students to learn biological knowledge, it also helps the students to from a better and healthier learning method and even lifestyle.



Tags: Bi265j

Danielle Levine: My Experience in Bi265j

January 31st, 2015 · Comments Off on Danielle Levine: My Experience in Bi265j

Danielle Levine (’15, Biology)


To complete the Biology major at Colby, one has to take a minimum of six biology lab classes. As a senior biology major who at the end of the fall semester needed to take one more biology lab class, I chose to sign up for BI265 Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology for my January course rather than take an additional lab course (I will be taking the second semester of physics, which also has a lab) in the spring with my busy tennis team schedule. Having been warned before the class started that anatomy and physiology courses are a lot of work and a whole lot of memorization, I was expecting and prepared for an intensive month – but as the first week started, I found I was not quite ready for this class! During the first week, I was very nervous about the class – very concerned and stressed about the workload – and I remember wondering if I made the right decision to take the class, or if I should have just taken another lab course in the spring. After having now finished the class, I am very grateful for the opportunity to have taken BI265 with Dr. Klepach, as I truly enjoyed the class (excepting, of course, that first very difficult week!) to the fullest extent. I would recommend this class to every biology major, pre-med student, or any student at Colby just interested in learning how the human body works.

The class was, in fact, a lot of work, from studying for quizzes for almost every lecture, to listening to podcasts of lectures and labs for the next day, to making and presenting a Grand Rounds powerpoint to physicians and nurse practitioners, to studying for hours on end memorizing and identifying different anatomical structures and features on plastic models in the lab. However, the amount of material I learned and the understanding I achieved with respect to the structure and function of the human body was unimaginable to me before I took the class. The sheer volume of knowledge to be gained from this course is reason enough to recommend this class to other Colby students.

As a pre-med student, I am easily caught up with concern over my grades, GPA, exams and assignments, but taking this class reminded me of the importance of seeking to understand and learn material for oneself and for one’s own knowledge rather than for the primary purpose of getting a certain grade on an exam. As I hope to become a medical professional one day, this class had many practical aspects beyond the classroom; I was able to practice presentation skills via the class’s Grand Rounds presentation project, build a foundation of human anatomy and physiology for medical school (which I hope to go to!), learn how to succeed under stressful situations, and finally, balance my schedule keeping in mind the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

In taking this course, I was given many wonderful opportunities, such as being able to perform a wet dissection of a pig heart, and then being able to help visiting high school students perform a dissection on another pig heart, teaching them and sharing with them the material I had learned about the cardiovascular system the week prior, listening to guest lecturers, including Dr. Zak Nashed, who discussed interventional radiology and peripheral artery disease, and Dr. Peter Millard, who spoke about the field of epidemiology. Overall, I enjoyed this course very much, as it was a wonderful opportunity that I believe prepared me for the future after I graduate from Colby this spring, and reinforced my decision to pursue a career in medicine.

Model1 Model2 Model3

Here are some of the models used during lab and for studying for the lab practical exams.

Tags: Bi265j