I’m Going on an Adventure!

Hello there, lovely people!

For the purposes of this blog, I am going to assume that you know of the adventure I am going to be embarking on in three short months (if not, please check out the “About” tab). While I spend my year abroad, this will serve as my journal, chronicling my adventures so that all of you can get updates about how/what I am doing. I was going to wait until closer to September to create this blog, but I am just too anxious! Speaking of being anxious and excited, I feel that this picture accurately describes how I feel about the upcoming year:

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I have never left the United States except to see the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, so you can bet I am excited to hop the pond to a whole other CONTINENT!!!

Unfortunately, however, I have to make many preparations and get a lot of things in order before I can go. If you know me at all, you know that I’m a big-time procrastinator. So doing everything three months in advance? Seems impossible. There are SO many pieces that have to come together…here, I’ll list a few for you:

  • passport
  • International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
  • flight
  • student loan stuff
  • student visa
  • accommodation
  • etc

Okay, so you get the idea. It’s stressing me out! I know that even when I get over there, it’s not going to be easy. I’m going to be pursuing my masters, and I’ve seen how much time, energy, dedication, and just plain hours of studying that takes! It would be a lie to say that I’m not worried at all. But it was actually in considering what this next year will require of me that led me to entitle my blog, “the sphenoid saga.”

First of all, (for those of you who haven’t taken an osteology course), what is a sphenoid? Why, it’s a bone of the skull! But not just any bone. The strangest looking bone you’ve ever seen:

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“Wait, that’s part of my skull?” you say. “Are you sure that’s not the skull bone of some weird alien species?”

NO.

We all have one of these inside our skulls. A demented butterfly of bone, fluttering around inside our heads without most of the general public even knowing. Weird, right?

Okay, so you’re probably wondering why I am giving the sphenoid such a bad rap. Well, when I took a Human Osteology course my sophomore year of college, this was the bone I fought with the most. For our weekly Friday quizzes and all of our lab practicals, we had to be able to identify and side every bone of the body, and in the last half of the semester, we had to be able to name any visible pathology or taphonomy. It was rough, especially because we had to list all of these features within a minute. And to make it even more fun, the bones were never whole, only fragments.

…now do you understand my frustration?

This was the biggest learning curve of my life, and the sphenoid was the bone I wrestled with like no other. Unlike many of the other bones in the body, if you break the sphenoid into pieces, none of those pieces will look anything alike. It’s the expert level jigsaw puzzle. I learned to just identify any weird-looking bone fragment as the sphenoid, but could I side it? Nope.

It would be an understatement to say that it was difficult, but I started spending endless hours in the lab studying our collections, and I learned. As Dr. Schmidt would say, the bones “speak” to me now. It’s great! So the title of this blog is a reminder to me that no matter what sphenoids come my way next year, I can do it. It will be difficult, and I’ll have to work hard, but I’ve always loved a good challenge!

Here comes the next great adventure: the sphenoid saga.

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