College students across the US are having a very weird start to the school year, but for Julie Taraborrelli, that weirdness involved being shipped a whole-ass fetal pig.
Taraborrelli is a sophomore at the University of Arizona in the physiology and medical sciences program.
While it's not surprising that she'd have a class that involves dissection, what is sort of surprising is that she will now have to do those dissections from home.
Recently, Taraborrelli was shipped a box full of animal parts, and she recorded her very surprised reaction in a TikTok.
"Well they told us they were going to be sending us a dissection kit, but I had no idea that they would be sending us real animal parts or anything like that, so it was a surprise when it came to the door," she told BuzzFeed News.
"We wanted to film it because we had no idea what was going to be in there."
Inside the box was a sheep brain, a cow eye, and a fetal pig, neatly packaged and with everything one would need to dissect them.
"We were looking at it and everyone freaked out because that’s a piglet, that’s a dead piglet!" she said.
The best part is her two roommates are in the same class, so now they have a collection of three fetal pigs wrapped in plastic.
Taraborrelli said the university also didn't send storage instructions, so they asked and found out that the items should be kept at room temperature. So, now those fetal pigs are just chilling in a hallway.
"I thought it was going to be a biohazard," she said.
The plan is that the class will dissect one item every two weeks, with everyone following along over Zoom.
"I think we’re going to dissect them outside because it’s going to smell," said Taraborrelli.
The university told them to just wipe down the area when they're done and toss the animal bits in the trash.
"Someone commented on the video, the raccoons are going to be eating good tonight," she said, laughing.
She said the comments on the video have been the best part, like the ones referencing the sad quarantine meals at New York University.
"A bunch of vegans have been getting meat," she said, "so people in the comments are like, 'This is my NYU vegan meal box' or 'Hello Fresh looks different here.'"
As for Taraborrelli, she expected to be doing dissections this year — she just didn't anticipate it would go down like this.
"It’s going to be interesting," she said.
Correction: The student received a fetal pig to dissect. An earlier version of this post misdescribed the animal.