I make it to my 8AM lab before I realize what I’m doing. Top-notch thinking here. I guess I have time. Showing up for a class or two might keep anyone from suspecting I’m going truant all over the place. I do wish I didn’t end up showing at lab, though. Three hours is a lot more than one, especially when we’re just doing more lecture.
I pull up the document with my notes as the teacher sets up his slide show and starts yammering. More nervous system. Everybody’s favorite. If he goes over action potentials again, I’m just going to strangle myself here and now.
I briefly wonder if Selena might be in this class, but quickly dismiss it. Pretty sure she’s some sort of art major. How dumb. We’re here to prepare for careers, not mess around. Although I guess I’m not paying as much attention to the lecture as I should. So sue me. It’s a little droll compared to saving lives with ghost powers. I’ll have time to get back into the swing of things after all that is resolved. Or maybe I’ll just stay dead. Might work out better for everyone that way.
“Now, we know why they’re called myelin sheaths, right?” Dr. Parker pauses to lean back against the blank whiteboard. We give him no response, so he glances at the clock resting on the eraser tray. He looks at us again.
“Myelin.” He waits another moment before forcing out an exhale that makes me envision steam coming from his nostrils. “As in, sphingomyelin? Anyone?”
He slams his fist back onto the whiteboard, sending it rattling. “Come on! This is something you all ought to know! Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten all about cell membranes.” He seizes a marker without turning around. “What are they made of?”
He eyes the lot of us before a brave girl in the front row proposes, “Phospholipids?”
Dr. Parker nods, turning on the board and beginning to jot down an array of letters in pale green. “What types of phospholipids?”
This time around, the front row is as silent as the rest of us.
“Do you remember sphingolipids at all?” With one last, loud jab of the marker, he turns back around. On the board is a simple chemical diagram of something that is definitely some kind of phospholipid. I didn’t go around memorizing head groups that weren’t on the test, but I’m assuming this one corresponds to a sphingolipid.
With a look of disgust, Dr. Parker puts the marker down and pounds the pinky side of his fist onto the drawing. “You should remember this! Maybe you learned about the cell membrane last year, but it’s still important! This―” he hits the board again― “is the basis of everything we do in biology! You can’t just go and forget it because you already took the test! I’m sick of you people not taking this seriously!”
He pounds his fist into the board twice, the rattling obscuring a few of his words. “―about the tests! We’re trying to teach you the material you’ll need when you’re out there working! You think you’ll be able to just stop and Google up everything? You think that’ll work when some mother walks in with her kid running a 102-degree fever? You don’t have time to look everything up! You people are going to have others’ lives and deaths in your hands, and you have―” slam― “to know―” slam― “your material!”
He punches the whiteboard one more time, and I just notice the clock tilting forward before a grand crash of glass shatters the air. The brave girl in the front row picks up her feet quickly as pieces of the clock cover skid across the ground, and I do a good bit of tensing myself.
What am I doing here? What on God’s green earth am I doing here?
Dr. Parker looks at the fallen timepiece and lets his fist drop. “Sorry.” He nudges the glass chunks underneath the clock with his foot and steps back to the side. “But you’ve got to understand what you’re getting into with this field. Take it seriously. Be passionate about it. You’re not going to make it in medicine otherwise.”
With that, he resumes the lecture on neuroglial cells.